Lexington, Kentucky, USA – August 07, 2021 – Top show jumping competition took to the Rolex Stadium Saturday evening during the Kentucky Summer Classic for the feature class of the week, the $50,000 Hagyard Grand Prix. The luck of the night belonged to the Irish as Cormac Hanley (IRL) bested an 11-horse jump-off aboard RMF Chacco Top, beating last week’s grand prix winners beating David Beisel (USA) and Essince W by almost three seconds, while Canada’s Jonathon Millar (CAN) and Isotropic Shadow placed third.
Thirty-three athletes tried to master Bobby Murphy’s (USA) 13-obstacle first-round course, which featured a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination as the fifth question, an oxer-vertical double combination near the end, and a final delicate vertical towards the gate. Eleven horse and rider combinations advanced to the jump-off with nine fences that included several long gallops where athletes could leave out strides to try and capture the victory.
Thursday’s $25,000 Kentucky Summer Classic winners Daisy Farish (USA) and RMF Retro, a 12-year-old Anglo European gelding owned by Rush Marsh Farm, were the first to return for the tiebreaker, and they showed just how quickly the course could be completed, but it came at the expense of a single rail for a 4-fault score in 43.595 seconds for an eventual sixth-place finish. Millar (CAN) and Isotropic Shadow, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Isotropic Networks Inc., managed to put up the first fault-free effort of the night, breaking the beam at 48.925 seconds but leaving the door open for the remaining competitors.
The 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Essince W and Beisel (USA), who won the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix during the Kentucky Summer Horse Show, tried to make it a second win, laying on the gas and taking risks to clear the track in 46.191 seconds. It would be good enough to move ahead of Millar, but Farish had proven there was still room for improvement in the time. Theo Genn (USA) was next in the ring with Damokles, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by The Windwood Group, but he opted for a more conservative effort to leave all the fences intact, breaking the beam in a much slower 55.469 seconds for fifth place.
Cormac Hanley (IRL) had the opportunity to see Farish compete and knew RMF Chacco Top could match her pace. The Irishman and the speedy chestnut raced off to the first fence. The duo gained speed as they ate up the track. Thanks so Hanley’s handy slices and gutsy gallop to the final Hagyard liverpool, the careful 12-year-old Hanoverian stallion by Chacco Blue, owned by Rushy Marsh Farm, never touched a rail, stopping the clock in a very speedy 43.526 seconds to go straight to the top of the leaderboard.
Only one other athlete was able to complete the course without error. Fellow Irish rider James Brennan (IRL) was able to leave all the rails in their cups aboard Milton, a 9-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by Crooks Show Jumping LLC, but their time would not be fast enough to beat Hanley as they crossed the finish line in 50.212 seconds for fourth place. Hanley would lead the lap of honor followed by Beisel (USA) in second place and Millar (CAN) in third place.
Hanley (IRL)began riding RMF Chacco Top in April the pair’s partnership came together very quickly. They have multiple 1.40m wins under their belt as well as top placing in grand prix events at the Traverse City Horse Shows. Hanley, who proclaimed he and “Chacco” were rusty, certainly proved otherwise, running away with the victory. The successful pair hope to make it a repeat performance at the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival VI in the $137,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix CSI 3* grand prix next week.
Show jumping competition will resume in the Walnut Arena at 8:00 a.m. Sunday, August 8 with the Low Adult Jumpers. Pony Hunters will be the highlight in the hunter rings ahead of the 2021 USEF Pony Finals which get underway on Tuesday, August 11.
Winner’s Circle – Cormac Hanley (IRL) $50,000 Hagyard Grand Prix winner
On RMF Chacco Top:
“Chacco top is a 12-year-old stallion by Chacco Blue. He’s been an incredible horse for me. We started our partnership at the end of April this year so I haven’t had him that long but he’s a real winner. He knows exactly what to do and he and I just click. It’s funny, so the last show we did was three weeks ago. I gave him a little break just to freshen up so this was his first class back. In the first round, he was a little bit rusty for sure but I got clear thankfully and then in the second round you can really tell that he knew what to do. The last time he was in this ring was the spring show here and he won the last time as well, the under 25.”
On first round and second round:
“For my warm-up the second round, we did a lot fewer jumps because he was already warmed up for the second round. We did make a slight alteration with his back boots and I think that helped a little bit. He was a bit more comfortable in the second round and used himself much better.”
On showing at the Kentucky Horse Park:
“I love it. When you’re winning you’re always going to love a place. It’s a fantastic facility and the ring is great. It’s nice doing these night classes and the crowd comes out. It creates a good atmosphere and it really makes it feel special.”
On future plans:
“Next week we go to Traverse City, Michigan and I’ll do Chacco Top in the 3* and aim for the Grand Prix and then we come back here to do the two weeks of Bluegrass Shows.”
Final Results – $50,000 Hagyard Grand Prix
1) Cormac Hanley (IRL) & RMF Chacco Top – 0 / 0 – 43.53
2) David Beisel (USA) & Essince W – 0 / 0 – 46.19
3) Jonathon Millar (CAN) & Isotropic Shadow – 0 / 0 – 48.93
Source: Press Release from Kentucky Horse Park
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Olivia Airhart