Lexington, Kentucky, USA. – July 22, 2020 – Introduced last year to the Kentucky Horse Park, the Classic Champions Developing Jumper Tour offers riders the opportunity to get their young horses exposure to the show ring in an educational and friendly atmosphere. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Sweet Oak Farm’s HDB Quality kicked off the 2020 inaugural event with a win Wednesday afternoon, stopping the timers at a nimble 40.77 seconds in the Classic Champions Developing Jumper Tour 7-Year-Old Jumpers.
The pathfinders for the power and speed class, Aaron Vale and Camiro Blue PS, were the third pair to take to the ring, delivering a quick and clear round in a time of 43.16 seconds. Their position on the leaderboard didn’t last long as David O’Brien (IRL) and Spy Coast Farm’s entry Nightshade SCF took over the top spot by just fractions of a second with a time of 43.01 seconds. The lead exchanged hands yet again when Sweetnam entered the Rolex Arena aboard his second mount of the class, HDB Quality. The duo shaved three seconds off of O’Brien’s time, ultimately holding the lead for the remainder of the class and earning first place honors. O’Brien and Nightshade SCF remained in the second place spot, with Vale and Camiro Blue PS rounding out the class to claim third place.
While the win may not have been his in the Seven-Year-Old division, Aaron Vale (USA) bested the field earlier that morning in both the 5 and 6-Year-Old divisions of the Classic Champions Developing Jumper Tour. Aboard Maliclaire Glancy’s Sambo do Brasil, Vale would take home top honors in the 6-Year-Old class, with Alex Matz (USA) and Jillz coming in second place and Jill Gafney (USA) aboard New Sunrise SR Z rounding out the top three.
Aaron Vale’s (USA) own entry, Parallax SCF, would rise to the occasion in the 5-Year-Old class, with David O’Brien (IRL) taking both second and third place aboard Paso Doble SCF and Polaris SCF respectively.
Classic Champions, Inc. brings European principles to course design for young jumpers and helps developing horses to meet their potential by offering competitive opportunities that are both sporting and educational. With age-group classes specific to 5, 6 and 7-year-old horses, the Classic Champions Developing Jumper tour features adapted heights, type of fences, lines and turns in its courses, in addition to experienced, specifically-trained course designers for young horses at high-quality show venues. The tour culminates with the finale event, which will feature young jumper championship classes during the Kentucky National Horse Show, which will be held September 16-20.
Show jumping will continue at the Kentucky Horse Park throughout Sunday, with the $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic serving as Thursday’s highlight event, while Saturday will feature the $50,000 Rood and Riddle Grand Prix.
Winner’s Circle – Shane Sweetnam – Developing Jumper Tour 7-Year-Old Jumper winner
On HDB Quality:
“This is a horse I have had since December of last year. She has won a lot of 7-year-old classes already – she is naturally very quick. This is her first time in the Rolex Arena but she is not spooky at all so I never have to worry about what is in the ring when I am riding her, which makes things a bit easier, especially with a young horse. I co-own her with Spy Coast Farm and she is a great competitor.”
On preparing HDB Quality to ride in the Rolex Arena:
“With her, because she has a lot of blood, I just try to keep her relaxed. It is all about giving her good mileage and trying to be as competitive as I can be without going too fast. Like I said, she is naturally quick so if I am clear we usually do well. I am lucky she is so quick and I am really happy with her today.”
On his future plans with HDB Quality:
“I think she has a bright future and most horse shows she goes to she wins, so obviously we will just keep moving up the levels. She has a lot of ability so it is just about maturing now.”
On competing at the Kentucky Summer Horse Show:
“We love showing here. Kentucky has been our base for quite a few years now and the footing is great here [at the Kentucky Horse Park], there are lots of great riders and competition and our clients love it here as well!”
Results –Developing Jumper Tour 7-Year-Old Jumper:
Place / Rider /Country / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults | Time / R2 Faults | Time
1. Shane Sweetnam(IRL) & HDB Quality / Spy Coast Farm, LLC / 0 | 48.39 / 0 | 40.77
2. David O’Brien (IRL) & Nightshade SCF / Spy Coast Farm, LLC / 0 | 50.38 / 0 | 43.01
3. Aaron Vale (USA) & Camiro Blue PS / April Miller / 0 | 50.57 / 0 | 43.16
4. Michael Murphy (IRL) & Inzell B / Maarten Huygens / 0 | 50.71 / 1 | 45.28
5. Filippo Pignatti (USA) & Ideaal ES / Take the High Road, LLC / 0 | 50.64 / 2 | 46.20
6. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Idool / Triple S Group / 0 | 53.68 / 4 | 48.62
7. Chloe Desjarlais (USA) & Infinito HMS / Amanda Lorinc / 0 | 52.36 / 8 | 52.42
8. Ryan Genn (USA) & VDL Mewando / Wilhelm Genn / 4 | 53.57 / 6 | 46.3
Source: Press release by Megan Delisle / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Georgie Hammond / Shawn McMillen