Lexington, KY - August 13, 2014 - Before he flies off to France to represent New Zealand in the World Equestrian Games, Sharn Wordley is aiming to take top prizes at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show at the Kentucky Horse Park. Today he beat out all contenders in the $5,000 1.40m Open Jumpers with Ashland Stables' speedy stallion Popstar Lozonais. Shane Sweetnam was close on his heels with Rose Hill Farm's Fineman in second place and Spy Coast Farm's Solerina in third.
Wordley made his only ride of the class count when he produced a fault free run to try his hand at the immediate jump-off round. His tight turns and speed to the fences put Popstar Lozonais as the horse to beat.
"The course was really good today, very well-built," said Wordley. "It was a fast jump-off, which suited my horse because there were a couple of tight rollbacks and he has great, quick turns."
Wordley has been riding Popstar Lozonais for about six months and said the stallion can be a little difficult to ride. "He's a real quick-start stallion, but he is incredibly fast, and if he's clean he's very hard to beat," he said.
Popstar and Wordley are aiming for the upcoming $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix. Wordley was proud of how Popstar handled the course noting how the triple combination had tripped up several of the other horses. "He jumped the triple very well. He's a pretty experienced horse so he can really handle this stuff," said Wordley.
Following in his wake was Shane Sweetnam with the second, third and fifth place finishers. Fineman, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding, jumped to second place with a solid ride, taking the tight inside turn to the last fence of the jump-off with ease. "He's a great little horse who has a lot of good results. He's very easy to ride, very brave and careful. He really has a great brain, which makes my job easier," said Sweetnam.
Fineman will be showing in the Grand Prix on Sunday, as will Sweetnam's third place horse, Solerina, a 15-year-old Irish Sport Horse."Solerina's an older horse who has won quite a few grand prixs. She's very competitive and has always been a great winner for me," said Sweetnam. "She's won in Washington, at Spruce Meadows and WEF, you name it she's won it."
With the 1.40m Jumpers Class, both Wordley and Sweetnam are gearing up for the grand prix classes later this week at the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
Over in the Walnut Ring, the 1.35m Open Jumper class was contested by Emanuel Andrade's mount Costa, who was the third place finisher in yesterday's 1.30m Open Jumpers Class and returned today to take the blue. David Beisel and his mount Call Me Hannes took second while Alex Granato on Gangsta took third.
Tomorrow the jumpers will return for the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix. The Bluegrass Festival Horse Show features five days of jumper competition; the highlight jumper events in the Rolex Stadium include the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic on Friday and the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix on Sunday.
To learn more about the Kentucky Summer Horse Shows visit www.kentuckyhorseshows.com.