Rio Olympics course designer Guilherme Jorge set out to challenge riders who dared enter Rolex Stadium Sunday Afternoon for the $40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix, and he nearly won the day with poles falling relentlessly beginning to end.
When it was all said and done, only four combinations survived the first round and only one pair remained atop a perfect score in the jump-off: Conor O’Regan (IRL) and Rivage De Lormay.
“Walking the course I didn’t think there was going to be a ton of clear rounds and I actually really didn’t think it was going to suit my horse,” said Conor after his win. “He’s really scopey and he’s got a massive stride, and a lot of the lines were quite short and backwards, but he was brilliant. He was very rideable. He answered every question that was put in front of him.”
Of the 28 horses who challenged the Grand Prix, four were able to navigate the tricky course with enough success to qualify for the jump-off – a triple toward the in-gate that featured two oxers and a vertical played bogey to many riders throughout the day and Conor expressed relief in managing to navigate it.
Paulo Santana and Taloubet, David Beisel and Amaretto, and Sloane Coles and Esprit all managed to join Conor and Rivage de Lormay in the jump-off, but each would successfully push the limit to find the winning time and take a rail with them.
“Paulo going first was quick, and Sloane has won some grand prix events, and with David Beisel going last I was looking over my shoulder,” explained Conor. “My plan changed a little bit after Sloane went and there were no clear rounds so I said I’ll take a chance knowing that my horse is careful. We jumped a clear round and put the pressure on David and it worked out. I’m just fortunate that my horse has done well today and I got the win.”
Rivage De Lormay – a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by Horseware’s CEO Tom McGuiness – have been paired up since the end of 2016 and just started dabbling in the Grand Prix classes this spring, but always right in the thick of the action with strong performances that justified Sunday’s outcome.
“He’s been super consistent. Just knocking on the door. He got some places in the FEI in Michigan and it’s just been building, so I feel like the horse deserves to win a class. It was a tough course today so he handled it really well.”
Conor also finished another horse in the top ten: Dynomite Ranch’s Barlando was the quickest of the four-fault rounds to finish sixth on the day. Thanks to a solid day in the GP and a strong performance in the jumper rings all weekend, Conor also won the Envisian Leading Rider Award for the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
Due to his multiple strong finishes throughout the week in the jumper rings, and aided by his two top finishes Sunday, O’Regan was awarded the Envisian Leading Rider Award as the rider who had accumulated the most points in jumper divisions during the Bluegrass Festival Horse Show.
You can learn more about Conor and CO’R Equestrian on his Facebook Page.
$40,000 Bluegrass Festival Grand Prix
1. Conor O’Regan / Rivage De Lormay / Horseware / 0 / 0 / 43.141
2. Paulo Santana, Filho / Taloubet / Paulo Santana, Filho / 0 / 4 / 35.539
3. David Beisel / Ammeretto / Equine Holdings LLC / 0 / 4 / 40.172
4. Sloane Coles / Esprit / The Springledge Group / 0 / 9 / 49.376
5. Winn Alden / Charlie / Southern Arches, LLC / 2 / 85.177
6. Conor O’regan / Barlando / Dynomite Ranch, LLC / 4 / 75.427
7. Kelli Cruciotti / Hadja Van Orshof / Kelli Cruciotti / 4 / 78.299
8. Kelli Cruciotti / Haylie Van De Groenendijk / Serenity Farm / 4 / 78.830
9. David Beisel / Call Me Hannes / Harlow Enterprises, LLC / 4 / 79.235
10. Paige Sorce / Chica’s Boy / Western Meadow Farm LLC / 4 / 82.796
Conor O’Regan is a proud member of Team Horseware Ireland, a company started in 1985 to make a better horse rug, and are now the trusted producer of blankets and accessories. They sponsor more than 100 riders across nearly every equine discipline, employ locally at their factory in Ireland, and use renewable energy.
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