Thermal, California – November 07, 2021 – Sunday marked the final day of competition during the National Sunshine Series I at the Desert International Horse Park, with athletes vying for the biggest purse of the week. The nation’s top show jumping athletes turned out for the $101,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI 3* on Sunday afternoon in the Grand Prix Ring with eight advancing to the jump-off. In the end, it was Brazil’s Cassio Rivetti (BRA) and Alanine de Vains who sped to victory ahead of Irish athletes Conor Swail (IRL) with Vital Chance de la Roque and Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) with Cana van de Blom.
Alan Wade (IRL) set a technical track for the 29 athletes competing in the week’s highlight event, using the expanse of the grand prix arena to test the horse and rider combinations throughout the course. The questions included a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination midway through the course, a triple bar to a careful plank vertical, and an oxer-vertical double combination before turning to the final line that finished over a delicate vertical next to the in-gate.
Eight pairs advanced to the tiebreaker, where six produced a second clear effort. Although Swail (IRL) set the time to beat with his first mount, Theo 160, owned by Team Philippaerts, as the first to complete the track in under 37 seconds, the time would only be good enough for fifth place. Rivetti (BRA) was next in the ring and soon kicked the door open that Swail left cracked, making quick turns with Alanine de Vains to break the beam in an uncatchable 34.37 seconds.
Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) tried to beat Rivetti (IRL), following a similar track, but was two seconds too slow with Hot Horses LLC’s Cana van de Blom and would eventually place third with a clear time of 36.39 seconds. Richard Spooner (USA) and the Show Jumping Syndications International’s Quirado RC were the next fault-free combination, but their time of 36.53 seconds would only hold up for third place.
As the last to go, Swail (IRL) had one more chance to beat Rivetti and he laid it all on the line with his own Vital Chance de La Roque. They left each rail intact but broke the beam just a fraction too slow in 35.18 seconds to slide into second place while Rivetti led the lap of honor.
Although this is only their first show together, Cassio Rivetti (BRA) and Alanine de Vains, an 11-year-old Selle Français mare owned by Lindemann Barnett Sporthorses, have already claimed two FEI victories. Rivetti praised the mare’s natural talent and quick speed, and is looking forward to competing with her again next week during the National Sunshine Series II.
The second week of the National Sunshine Series at the Desert Horse Park kicks off on Tuesday, November 9, and will feature the USHJA Zone Jumper Team Championships and Platinum Jumper Championships, as well as the $65,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Regional Championships, the USHJA Hunter Team Challenge, and the $100,000 Grand Prix.
Winner’s Circle – Cassio Rivetti (BRA) $101,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI3* Winner
On Alanine De Vains:
“This is my first show with her. Thank you to Violet and Sloane Lindemann Barnett for letting me ride her. She’s an amazing mare, so easy to ride and she’s incredible. She did a lot of good classes with Violet and she was really good in the Young Riders, so I was preparing for this class and it went well.”
On his jump-off:
“I saw Conor [Swail] going and he left the door open from two to three; he was really quick but it was the only way to catch him to turn inside there. She turned really fast. She was trying. I did the maximum that I could with her, she’s so quick. She’s a super quick mare.”
On his plans at the Desert Horse Park:
“We’ll show again next week and then we’ll see about Major League. I am not sure about the plan yet. We’re going to stay here for the rest of the season. Congratulations to the owners here, they have done a great job and they tried hard for us. It’s a big change.”
Matias Fernandez – $10,000 Interactive Mortgage 10 and Under Jumper Futurity Winner
On his win:
“It’s amazing to be able to jump horses that can’t jump a little bigger in these classes and still win good prize money. This is a new horse for me – Burgundy Farms gave him to me to ride. The horse is very quality and getting in shape. He has a big step, so in the jump-off the last line was a long line so I saved some time there.”
Final Results – $101,000 Marshall & Sterling Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Cassio Rivetti (BRA) & Alanine de Vains – 0 / 0 – 34.37
2) Conor Swail (IRL) & Vital Chance de la Roque – 0 / 35.18
3) Lorcan Gallagher (IRL) & Cana van de Blom – 0 / 0 – 36.39
Source: Press Release by Tori Bilas / Phelps Media Group for Desert International Horse Park
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Tori Bilas