Wellington, Florida, USA – February 21, 2021 – Competition concluded on the Derby Field at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) on Sunday, February 21, after Ireland’s Paul O’Shea (IRL) claimed victory in the $25,000 CP National Grand Prix aboard Eye Candy Jumpers’ Squirt Gun.
With 35 riders testing the first track, the jump-off only welcomed back two combinations to navigate the day’s final course. O’Shea and the 2011 Oldenburg gelding (Diarado x Quick Star) ended the afternoon as the only pair to go double clear in a time of 39.526 seconds. “The time was tight in the first round,” explained O’Shea, “and the faster you go, the more likely you are to make a mistake which is why there weren’t so many clear today. Squirt Gun is very experienced and he’s a naturally quick horse, the same as Juan’s mare, so that was their natural advantage, but it was certainly a tough, competitive track.”
Second place in the $25,000 CP National Grand Prix went to Juan Manuel Gallego (COL) and Havana de la Lande, a 2007 Belgian Warmblood mare (Nabab de Reve x Parco) owned by Elise Uribe, who crossed through timers in 38.484 seconds, but with four faults.
Third place was awarded to Alex Matz (USA) riding Flash, a 2010 Dutch Warmblood gelding (Numero Uno x Indoctor), owned by 5 Star Partners, who ended their day in the first round with four faults in 82.777 seconds.
O’Shea mentioned, “When we got to the jump-off, the plan was to go a little quick, to the point where if we did have a small mistake, we could still catch up to Juan without taking too much of a risk. I was lucky that I got to watch Juan go first, and my plan was to take the inside turn and be able to catch up.”
O’Shea also noted the gelding’s cheeky character and his fondness for the grass field, on which he won a grand prix over the summer as well. He said, “Squirt Gun is a real character. As I was going into the ring he actually decided he didn’t really want to go in, and he ran over all of the farrier’s equipment. He really has a mind of his own. Overall, he’s a pleasure to ride, so powerful and brave, and wants to do the right thing. We won a grand prix here on the field in the summer, and so he has proven that he really enjoys the field, too.”
Final Results: $25,000 CP National Grand Prix
1) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Squirt Gun – 0 / 0 – 39.526
2) Juan Manuel Gallego (COL) & Havana de La Lande – 0 / 4 – 38.484
3) Alex Matz (USA) & Flash – 4 – 82.777
Source: Press release by Jennifer Wood & Sabrina Bashares / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot