Eugenio Garza Perez & Caracas Speed to the U25 Win at WEF

The first Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix of the season was held as the first class in the International Arena on Sunday and had 44 entries competing over a course designed by Oscar Soberon of Mexico. Six were clear to advance to the jump-off.

Taking the top prize in the $25,000 class was Eugenio Garza Perez and Caracas, who flew through the timers in the jump-off with no faults in a time of 38.08 seconds. They were chasing the time of 38.41 seconds set by second place finishers Ailish Cunniffe (USA) and Whipstick Farm Ltd’s Baloucento 2. Third place went to Manuel Fernandez Hache (DOM), who rode Divin du Haras des Barrages, owned by Aristides Fernandez Zucco, to a clear round in 41.97 seconds.

Eugenio Garza Perez and Caracas. Photo © Sportfot

“I think Caracas is a very fast horse. He covers a lot of ground and doesn’t take a lot of time at the jump. I was lucky enough to go at the end,” said Garza of his jump-off ride. “I got to see these two guys go. I saw Ailish go, and I knew she’s very fast; I’ve gone up against [her] many times. She’s really fast, so we knew we had to give it our best and Caracas was there with me every step of the way and we had a good run.”

Garza (22), started showing Caracas in October of 2018. “He’s a relatively new horse,” he said of the 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Cachas.“He’s a real winner. He’s extremely careful; he’s brave. He’s an all-around really nice horse, and I am really lucky to have him.”

Ailish Cunniffe and Baloucento 2. Photo © Sportfot

For 21-year-old Cunniffe, the Hermès U25 Grand Prix series gives her the perfect opportunity to compete at a high level while also being a full-time student at Southern Methodist University.

“I only come here every other weekend,” she explained. “I’ve been doing the series for four years now; it’s an amazing series. It is a really good step in between the high amateurs or high juniors and the doing the upper level classes against really top riders, especially here in Florida.”

Manuel Fernandez Hache and Divin du Haras des Barrages. Photo © Sportfot

Also riding a newer horse in the U25 grand prix was Fernandez Hache (24). He and Divin du Haras des Barrages started together in October. “We did a few classes in December before I went back home for the holidays, and we just got back and this is our first time out,” he said. “I think we are getting to know each other a lot more, and I think he is a very competitive horse. We will see how far we can get.”

“Thank you to Hermès for being the sponsor and supporting the sport for under 25 [riders],” said Fernandez Hache, who is competing in his third and final year of the series. “I think it is a very good place where we can all move up and learn about the different atmospheres for jumping international classes. It is very, very competitive and very interesting. We get a better look at what really comes when we progress.”

Eugenio Garza Perez and Caracas in their winning presentation with James Sardelli, Hermès Senior Equestrian Account Executive, and ringmaster Steve Rector. Photo © Sportfot

Final Results: $25,000 Hermès Under 25 Grand Prix

1 CARACAS: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Cachas
EUGENIO GARZA PEREZ (MEX), El Milagro: 0/0/38.07

2 BALOUCENTO 2: 2005 Oldenburg gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Cento
AILISH CUNNIFFE  (USA), Whipstick Farm Ltd: 0/0/38.40

3 DIVIN DU HARAS DES BARRAGES: 2009 gelding by Kashmir Van Schuttershof x Randel Z
MANUEL FERNANDEZ HACHE (DOM), Aristides Fernandez Zucco: 0/0/41.97

4 CARMEN: 2007 KWPN mare by Whitesnake x Corland
SAMANTHA COHEN (USA), Samantha Cohen: 0/4/39.50

5 ILIAS: 2008 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Emerald van’t Ruytershof x Ludwig von Bayern
ANNABEL REVERS (USA), Beechwood Stables LLC: 0/4/41.208

6 DYNAMIS KC: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Berlin x Heartbreaker
CAITLIN CREEL (USA), Caitlin Creel: 0/retired

7 FOR SERRANO SR: 2007 Holsteiner gelding by For Pleasure x Calato
ANNA BETH ATHEY (USA), Anna Beth Athey: 1/80.00

8 CASHEW CR: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Cassini II x Quinar
ALEX MATZ (USA), D.D. Matz: 4/72.12

9 COPAIN Z: 2006 Zangersheide gelding by Calvino Z x Creool
CORMAC HANLEY (IRL), Heathman Farm, LLC: 4/72.57

10 HILGARIE: 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare by Calvaro x Kashmir van Schuttershof
SYDNEY SHULMAN (ISR), Jill Shulman: 4/73.55

11 ARMAGEDDON: 2005 KWPN gelding by Solitair x Cavalier
TANNER KOROTKIN (USA), Sandalwood Farms: 4/74.13

12 ALETTA: 2005 KWPN mare by Sydney x Guidam
MARIA BRUGAL (DOM), Maria Brugal: 4/74.66