Lexington, Kentucky, USA – October 30, 2020 – Jumper action continued Friday afternoon at the 137th National Horse Show, which hosted competitors in the T & R Development $36,600 International Speed CSI 4* class run under a power-and-speed format. As one of the final challengers, Karl Cook (USA) and Signe Ostby’s Fecybelle bested a skilled pack of international entries by a margin of only half-of-a-second to climb to the top of the ranking and capture the coveted front spot in the victory gallop.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) constructed a pattern of 15 total efforts for the T & R Development $36,600 International Speed CSI 4*, which saw seven partnerships complete the track without lowering any fences that were set at 1.45m to 1.50m in height. After completing the first round of nine fences, exhibitors who had not incurred any faults immediately advanced to the speed portion of the class without stopping and navigated six obstacles under the pressure of the clock. In total, 12 combinations moved on to the speed phase, and seven of those turned in another successful effort.
The first to go, Daniel Bluman (ISR) jockeyed Colestina to the initial pace-setting round without any faults in 29.38 seconds, but they were quickly overtaken by Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Ariso in a clear time of 28.43 seconds to claim the early lead. With the reins on his quick-footed and reliable speed horse, Catoki, McLain Ward (USA) ensured that Coyle would not retain the top spot long, slicing even more time off the clock as he broke the beam in a blazing 26.65 seconds with all the fences still intact.
Ward and Catoki retained their lead until almost the very end of the class, when Cook and Fecybelle raced around the track in a lightning-fast fault-free time of 26.15 seconds, just edging ahead of their counterparts. As the class concluded, Cook and Fecybelle still sat atop the leaderboard as the victors, and Ward and Catoki claimed the runner-up spot. Hunter Holloway (USA) moved into the third-place position riding Hays Investment Corp.’s Pepita Con Spita in a clear time of 27.84 seconds.
Results – Karl Cook (USA) – T & R Development $36,600 International Speed CSI4* winner
On competing at the National Horse Show:
“It is a great arena! They have really done the footing well so with a class like tonight where you are turning as sharp as we did, it feels good. The ambiance in an indoor is always different than an outdoor and I think the horses definitely feel that. Because of this year’s events, it is the only indoor show I’ll do this year, so it has been really nice.”
On the course:
“The approach to the short speed class like today, or even a jump-off, is different than how you approach a normal speed. A normal speed is longer so you have to take more into consideration, you can’t just go all out. For me, it was just getting a nice efficient first round and ride nice and accurate. I knew in the jump-off that I wasn’t going to make up time in the lines because I had to do six strides to the combination and six to the skinny oxer that was second to last. I knew that the turn to the first fence in the jump-off, the approach to the third to last, and the going to the last was where you could do it. They were kind of blind turns with a lot of angle. Fecy is super quick over the jumps, she doesn’t over jump or anything like that. She really did so well turning today and understanding what I was asking because the angel was a lot. She very well could have said ‘no!’ ”
On his plan after watching McLain Ward’s ride:
“I knew I couldn’t really change my plan because there is not really much else to do. I actually didn’t see anyone go before I went, like with my own eyes, except Rodrigo [Pessoa], who went right before me. All I had to go off of was the jump-off times I was hearing in the warm-up ring. When I heard 28-something and then 27-something seconds, and then McLain went in and got 26.6. I didn’t see any of those, but in my head I figured ‘I guess I will go for second [place] today!’ It didn’t really change my plan because I had to do the same thing anyway and just hope that that was quick enough.”
On his consistent wins:
“It feels really good because I have stayed pretty local to California for the past many years because I just didn’t feel like I was ready. You can always get experience no matter where you go, so I felt it was more efficient to stay around in California. I went to Florida earlier this year and I was happy with how it went. I didn’t go as well as this, but I didn’t expect coming out here for it to go as well as it has now. It was definitely a surprise to us! I have trained for it and I can’t be more proud of my horses and my whole team. Whenever you do well it gives you confidence and with the way this tour has gone for me, maybe I need to let it not give me too much confidence.”
Results – T & R Development $36,600 International Speed CSI4*
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults / R2 Faults | Time
1. Karl Cook (USA) & Fecybelle / Signe Ostby / 0 / 0 | 26.15
2. McLain Warn (USA) & Catoki / / Marilla Van Buren, McLain Ward & Bob Russell / 0 / 0 | 26.65
3. Hunter Holloway (USA) & Pepita Con Spita / Hays Investment Corp. / 0 / 0 | 27.84
4. Jordan Coyle (IRL) & Ariso / Elan Farm / 0 / 0 | 28.43
5. Daniel Bluman (ISR) & Colestina H / Blue Star Investments / 0 / 0 | 29.38
6. Bliss Heers (USA) & Christos / Bridgeside Farm LLC / 0 / 0 | 33.53
7. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Heart On Fire / Sweet Oak, Spy Coast & Paul Tracey / 0 / 0 | 34.60
8. Jordan Coyle (IRL) & Picador / Elan Farm / 0 / 4 | 27.28
9. Kristen Vanderveen (USA) & Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili / Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC / 0 / 4 | 27.35
10. Sydney Shulman (ISR) & Villamoura /Jill Shulman / 0 / 4 | 28.00
11. Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & La Caramba / Rodrigo Pessoa & Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC / 0 / 8 | 28.68
12. Margie Engle (USA) & Aston des Etisses / Storm Ridge Capital & Gladewinds Partners LLC / 0 / 8 | 57.06
Source: Press release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group for the National Horse Show
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Elaine Wessel / Emma Miller