Lexington, Kentucky, USA – May 20, 2022 – International show jumping competition at the Kentucky Spring Classic II returned to the picturesque Rolex Arena on a stormy Thursday evening. A field of 56 horse-and-rider pairs planned to enter the stadium to beat the weather and take home the win in the $37,000 Kentucky Spring Classic 1.45m CSI 3*. After 29 rounds, Kentucky weather had other plans, ultimately leading officials to pause the class and resume at 8am Friday morning. Although the new two-day format wasn’t typical, it didn’t stop Cathleen Driscoll (USA) and Arome from leading the victory gallop at the conclusion of the class.
Anderson Lima’s (BRA) first round track consisted of 13 jumping efforts with a time allowed of 81 seconds to qualify for the jump off. Lima’s course was straightforward, using all areas of the large arena and allowing for multiple bending lines and two tricky combinations. The first to add their name to the jump-off list Thursday night was the sixth pair in the order, Ireland’s Conor Swail (IRL) aboard Cana van de Blom. Swail’s lead lasted only one ride as Margie Engle (USA) and Dicas, entered the stadium to start a list for the jump-off. After seeing 29 rides, six combinations had their name on the jump-off list for the following morning.
First round competition concluded during a sunny Friday morning in Lexington with 14 horse and athlete pairs to jump-off and 11 opting to return over Lima’s shortened track. The seven-fence course offered riders the opportunity to make quick turns and gallop between fences in hopes of claiming the top prize.
First to contest in the seven nation jump-off was Conor Swail (IRL) aboard Alexis Sokolov’s Cana Van De Blom. The combination set the bar high with the first double-clear of the evening, crossing the timers in 41.87 seconds. Anna Athey (USA) and Caraghs Quality Lady were second to tackle Lima’s shortened track, but an unfortunate refusal kept them out of the top spots. Cathleen Driscoll (USA) and Flotylla, Lexi Ray (CAN) riding Evita, and Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) aboard Chacco Bumpy all produced clear rounds but fell shy of catching Swail’s leading time. The final qualifier from Thursday night’s first round, the United States’ Aaron Vale (USA) and Prescott, navigated the jump-off course swiftly, but 4 jumping faults along the way kept them out of a podium finish.
Seventh in the arena to contest Swail’s leading time was Belgium’s Filip de Wandel (BEL) and Manhattan Van’t Leeuwerikenhof. The pair produced a clear round, but their time ultimately landed them in a sixth place position. Immediately following, Maria Brugal Gasso (DOM) and J’Adore Flamenco picked up an unfortunate 4 faults before galloping through the timers.
With the first of three rides left in the jump-off, Cathleen Driscoll (USA) and Plain Bay Farm’s Arome showed they were up for the challenge. Having already navigated the jump-off track with her previous mount, Driscoll used that knowledge to her advantage to overtake the top spot with a time of 41.36 seconds.
Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Ashley Vogel’s Birdy du Thot were next, but were unable to unseat Driscoll’s lead due to jumping and time faults.
The final rider in the jump-off, Ireland’s Simon McCarthy (IRL) and Rock Ridge Farm’s Gotcha produced a fault-free round just two-tenths of a second behind Driscoll to secure second place honors, with Conor Swail (IRL) and Cana van de Blom rounding out the top three.
Show jumping competition at the Kentucky Spring Classic II will continue Saturday, May 21, spotlighting the amateur and junior jumper competitors. The highlight event of the week, the $140,000 Mary Rena Murphy Grand Prix CSI3*, will take place Saturday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m in the Rolex Stadium.
Cathleen Driscoll – $37,000 Kentucky Spring Classic 1.45m CSI 3* winner
On her horse:
“The horse that I won on today, Arome, is owned by Plain Bay Farm, my trainers, Katie and Henri Prudent, and I’ve been partnered with him for about 8 months now. I really took my time in Florida developing a partnership with him and now I feel like he’s at the point where he’s really ready to start stepping up and jumping some clear rounds.”
On her rounds:
“I was very pleased with [Arome’s] first round. He rode beautifully, he was listening and jumping in great style. I knew going in I wanted to take a shot in the jump off, since hes at the point where we can start doing that, and this ring in Kentucky really suits him- he has quite a big stride and covers the ground really well. The jumpoff had a few long runs, and the combination to the oxer and back to the vertical across the middle. I was really able to take advantage of his big stride and make up time in those lines.”
On Kentucky Horse Shows:
“Kentucky is a staple in our competition schedule. It’s about 7 hrs from our farm and its such a wonderful venue because it’s so horse friendly. It’s great to take the horses out on the field everyday, the rings are beautiful , the staff is fantastic and we always have a really good time here!”
On future plans:
“Our plans currently include Upperville after this, a couple weeks in Michigan, and a fall tour in Europe. I will be taking Arome as well as my other mare that was 5th today Flotylla and just keep moving these horses up. I am aiming to have Arome in some 4* later this season”
Final Results – $37,000 Kentucky Spring Classic 1.45m CSI 3*
Place / Rider / Country / Horse / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Arome / Plain Bay Farm / USA / 0 | 79.84 / 0 | 41.36
2. Simon McCarthy (IRL) & Gotcha / Rock Ridge Farm / 0 | 78.22 / 0 | 41.52
3. Conor Swail (IRL) & Cana van de Blom / Alexis Sokolov / 0 | 77 / 0 | 41.87
4. Luis Pedro Biraben (ARG) & Chacco Bumpy / Luis Pedro Biraben / 0 | 79.21 / 0 | 42.11
5. Cathleen Driscoll (USA) & Flotylla & Donald Stewart / 0 | 77.4 / 0 | 42.14
6. Filip de Wandel (BEL) & Manhattan Van’t Leeuwerikenhof / Five Way Farm LLC / 0 | 77.48 / 0 | 43.49
7. Aaron Vale (USA) & Prescott / Thinks Like a Horse / 0 | 78.87 / 4 | 42.97
8. Maria Brugal Gasso (DOM) & J’Adore Flamenco / BG Stables LLC / 0 | 78.6 / 4 | 44.99
9. Lexi Ray (CAN) & Evita / Lexi Ray / 0 | 80.51 / 4 | 48.46
10. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Birdy Du Thot / / Ashley Vogel / 0 | 78.15 / 17 | 67.84
11. Anna Beth Athey (USA) & Caraghs Quality Lady / / Anna Beth Athey / 0 | 79.92 / 26 | 68.26
12. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Hollywood / Triple S Group / 0 | 79.68
12. Margie Engle (USA) & Dicas / Gladewinds Partners, LLC / 0 | 79.92
12. Sharn Wordley (NZL) & Valentine Car / Fernando Cardenas / 0 | 78.35
Source: Press Release by Sydney Jones / Phelps Media Group for Kentucky Horse Shows
Photos: © Shawn McMillen Photography