|A sold out, standing room only crowd at Murieta Equestrian Center was treated to a truly incredible experience on Saturday night at the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Sacramento presented by Sky Partners.
Designer Marina Azevedo of Brazil built a course designed to test the ability of the horses and riders to tackle an indoor track of World Cup™ caliber. The 1.60m course consisted of 16 jumping efforts including one double and one triple combination.
Six of the 27 starters put in clear rounds and were rewarded with the thunderous roars of the crowd as well as a place in the jump off. Guy Thomas (USA) and Jonkheer Z were first to tackle the short course, and the audience erupted as they crossed the timers clean and fast.
„I knew coming back first it was gonna be an uphill battle with Conor [Swail] and Karl [Cook].. coming after me,“ said Thomas. „I tried to do as much as I could and put the pressure on.“ Thomas‘ efforts on „Johnny“ would ultimately land him in third place, and he was thrilled with the 17-year-old bay Zangersheide stallion’s performance. „He doesn’t owe me a thing…he thinks he’s 6 or 7. He’s wild; he loves the sport.“
In short order Conor Swail (IRL) would replace Thomas on the leaderboard on Koss van Heiste. „I’m just really happy with my guy,“ Swail said of the 9-year-old grey Belgian Warmblood gelding. „He’s not that experienced and he jumped great and I’ve had a great few weeks here…I’m just delighted and thankful to be here.“
Swail held the lead for a bit, but Karl Cook (USA) was last to go aboard Caillou, a 12-year-old grey Holsteiner gelding owned by Signe Ostby. You could hear a pin drop in the GGT Footing Indoor Arena as Cook and Caillou navigated the short course, and then screams and cheers filled the ring as they crossed the timers half a second faster than Swail to earn the blue ribbon and the Longines watch.