North Salem, N.Y. – Sept. 16, 2017 – Saturday hosted the $86,000 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4* at the American Gold Cup, where Irish athletes and Sweet Oak Farm barnmates Shane Sweetnam and Lorcan Gallagher finished one-two in the day’s highlight event.
Shane scored a narrow victory over Lorcan aboard Indra Van De Oude Heihoef, owned by The Blue Buckle Group, crossing the finish line just two-tenths of a second faster.
Out of 57 initial international challengers, four were invited to return to the Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm, after jumping faultlessly in the first round, to vie for the top prize in an eight-fence jump-off designed by Alan Wade and Nigel Jess.
Andrew Ramsay (USA) and The Doodle Group’s Cocq A Doodle, Thursday’s winners in the $35,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake CSI4* at the American Gold Cup, kicked off the tiebreaker, finishing on 4 faults in 37.42 seconds.
New York native Georgina Bloomberg (USA) and Gotham Enterprizes, LLC’s Manodie II H took their turn on the grass field next and posted the first clear effort in 40.47 seconds. Their lead wouldn’t hold for long as Shane and “Ivy”, a 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, blazed around the short course, leaving all of the jumps intact and stopping the timers in 39.97 seconds.
“I’ve had her for a little while, but I’ve been taking my time,” said Shane about the lovely gray lady. “I got her in January and fiddled around with her and got to know her. She’s very sensitive but she’s an exceptional mare. I jumped her around the last 5* in Florida and she was good. She had one down and then she was part of my team in Europe all year so she’s learned a lot. She was unlucky not to be clear in the grand prix at the Hamptons. I love her, but I’m giving her the time she needs. She’ll do the [Rolex Central Park Horse Show] next week. I’m very excited about her. Today was a good, hard class but tomorrow will be tougher. I’ll ride Main Road in tomorrow’s grand prix.”
Lorcan and the Dacantos Group’s Hunters Conlypso II were the final challengers of the jump-off and looked to overtake their teammates’ lead, following an almost identical track, but were just off the winning pace in 39.99 seconds.
“It was great to have Lorcan second,” said Shane after the win. “I didn’t mind who won, to be honest. It was important we both did well. I think if he did one less to the last he would’ve had me. Ivy jumped great and Lorcan rode great so I was very happy for him.”
Lorcan, who was visibly frustrated after his round, eventually seemed to make peace with second place.
“We’re all very close in the barn from the top to the bottom – it’s great,” said Lorcan. “Not often do I get within two-tenths of a second of Shane. I’m a little bit annoyed at myself that I didn’t win it but if I was going to be second to anyone, it’s always best coming second to another Sweet Oak Farm teammate.”
Georgina rounded out the top three, while Andrew claimed fourth place.
The 2017 American Gold Cup culminates with the coveted $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 2 p.m., where the top 40 athletes from Friday’s qualifier will go head-to-head for the highly sought-after American Gold Cup.
RESULTS: $86,000 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4*