The Del Mar Horse Park’s Grand Prix Field was buzzing with FEI CSI2* excitement this Saturday afternoon when thirty-six horse and rider combinations were put to the test over Ivan Tagle’s $35,500 Gold Tour Grand Prix track. With twelve clean, it was Karl Cook aboard Signe Ostby’s gray Holsteiner gelding, Caillou 24, who took the victory in an impressive time of 35.81.
The second to return in the jump-off was Thursday’s FEI 2* Gold Tour Speed Stake winner, Ashlee Bond with Donatello 141. Galloping around clean in 37.34 seconds, they once again set the time to beat. Shawn Casady and Cicomein VDL, who were second on Thursday, were next and put the pedal to the metal. Not quite fast enough, they crossed the timers in 37.60 seconds, just .26 seconds slower than Bond.
Then came Cook and Caillou 24, who kept the crowd on the edge of their seats with a smooth and fast fault-free ride to take the lead, finishing over a second faster than Bond. Lindsay Archer and Jarpur, also double clean, edged out Bond and Casady, slipping into second place with a time of 35.93, just 0.12 seconds shy of Cook.
Cook, who had a lovely first round and clearly an impressive jump-off ride, commented on Tagle’s tracks.”The courses this week have been really nice. It’s been a blend of open spaces to gallop on the field, and some tighter turns as well. The courses were versatile and gave you a wide range of options.”
Cook was very happy with his horse’s performance. “He’s an 11-year-old gelding, and we’ve had him since he was seven. He’s really starting to figure out how to do things predictably at this level.”
The pair have plans for the fall. “I’m going to test out the World Cup qualifiers with him for the rest of this year, and I’ll show Tembla in those as well, and we will see how it goes!”