Karl Cook (USA) and E’Special P.S. led the victory gallop in the $25,000 Sapphire Tour Classic CSI3*, sponsored by Voltaire, with an unbeatable jump-off time of 31.13 seconds. Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) aboard Hackamore Farms’ Catemaco LS (Carusso LS x Carthago Z) finished second with a time of 31.86 seconds, while Mathis Schwentker (GER) and NKH Caruso (Cash and Carry x Starlight), owned by NKH LLC, finished in third with a time of 31.91 seconds.
The course, designed by Bernardo Cabral (POR), tested 29 pairs in the first round with ten returning for the jump-off. “I thought it was a good course, you had to really ride in the first round,” Cook commented. “The jump-off was also fun because you could let go a bit and open the horses up.”
Cook also shared where he believed he got the lead in the short-course. “I think where I really gained the advantage was in the beginning of the course, between jump one and two and then again on my approach to the green oxer.”
Cook and Signe Ostby’s 2009 Dutch Warmblood mare (Berlin x Caruso) returned to Thermal, California after competing on the East Coast. “It’s good to be back in California, I had a great time in Florida, but I come to Thermal every year,” Cook shared. “I will be here [Desert International Horse Park] for the next two weeks and then I will return to Florida for the last two weeks there,” Cook concluded.