Wellington, Florida – January 14, 2022 – Three-star international jumper competition continued on Friday, January 14, 2022, at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, Florida, USA with the $37,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Jumper speed class. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) ran away with the win aboard Caraghs Quality Lady, owned by Anna Beth Athey.
There were 37 entries to contest the course designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) and Andy Christiansen Jr. (ECU), 17 of which went clear.
McLain Ward (USA) had the time with Bonnie M Z in 63.52 seconds, but an unfortunate rail at the ‘b’ element of the Bainbridge Companies double combination proved costly. It was Sweetnam’s quick and fault-free effort with Caraghs Quality Lady in 66.67 seconds that would be victorious.
Natalie Dean (USA) had a clean effort in 67.38 seconds with Nespresso Van’t Laekhof, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Cicero Z x Grandeur) owned by Marigold Sporthorses LLC, for second place. In third place was Hector Florentino (DOM), who stopped the clock in 67.62 seconds riding Wyndmont’s 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Meadow Vale Cruise by Creevagh Ferro x Cruising.
As the ribbons and winner’s cooler were being distributed, Sweetnam was quick to snap a picture of his winning mount Caraghs Quality Lady for owner and usual rider Anna Beth Athey, who is away at school this week. She handed over the reins to her trainer, Sweetnam, in order to give the coming nine-year-old mare (OBOS Quality 004 x Limmerick) more mileage in bigger classes.
Sweetnam explained, “I’ll do the 1.50m on Sunday, and then Anna Beth will jump in two weeks in the two-star. We’re going to build towards her hopefully doing a three-star at some point in the future.”
Athey and Caraghs Quality Lady were just paired together over the summer. In November, they finished sixth in the CSI2* Grand Prix in Monterrey, Mexico. Now Sweetnam is in the driver’s seat, and he is excited for what is still to come.
“I think it’s really going to be a good horse for [Athey] for the future,” he commented.
Caraghs Quality Lady might be the stereotypical moody mare, but she can back up her attitude with her talent.
“She’s always competitive in the ring. She feels fantastic. She’s a super jumper, and she’s only getting better,” said Sweetnam.
It’s an exciting start to a busy WEF circuit for Sweetnam.
“Last year, obviously with COVID, it was a bit restricted and not as many people around, but this year there’s a good vibe and already some good classes have gone ahead,” he said. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow night with a crowd for ‘Saturday Night Lights.’”
Final Results – $37,000 Douglas Elliman CSI 3*
1) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Caraghs Quality Lady – 0 / 66.67
2) Natalie Dean (USA) & Nespresso Van’t Laekhof – 0 / 67.38
3) Hector Florentino (DOM) & Meadow Vale Cruise – 0 / 67.62
Source: Press Release by Amanda Picciotto Feitosa & Sabrina Schmidt for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions
Photos: © Sportfot