Langley, Vancouver, Canada – August 14, 2022 – Heading into the $100,000 ONNI Grand Prix CSI 3*, Kyle King (USA) found himself playing the role of the bridesmaid.
In the Tbird Speed CSI 3* 1.45m, he finished third to Matthew Sampson (GBR). In the Maui Jim Grand Prix (national standard), he finished second to Sampson. After 13 of 14 horses jumped off in the $100,000 ONNI Grand Prix CSI 3*, Sampson was leading.
King was last to jump, and he gave Peter Holmes’ (CAN) shortened track his all. He and Christine Maclean’s Etalon flew through the timers more than a second faster than his competitor to claim the win in the feature event of the Summer Fort Welcome CSI 3*.
The winning time was 40.90 seconds. Sampson settled for second with Ebolensky (41.98 seconds), with Kara Chad (CAN) and Quidamo F third (42.44)
I saw Matt go, and you know, I’ve been watching Matt. He’s just been kicking my butt every time, and I kind of consider this my home field, so I was getting a little [upset] about it,” King said.
King, who bases his business locally in Langley, defended his home turf in an exceptionally quick jump-off that saw 14 horses navigate a clear first round over Holmes’ course. As the jump-off became increasingly quick, King saw his opportunity to win between the first and last two fences.
“I saw that [Sampson] was a little bit slow from [fences] one to two,” he said. “I got the same numbers on the rollbacks, and then maybe I was a little quicker to the last jump. I pulled on the reins a little later.”
It was meaningful for King to earn the win with Etalon, a horse with whom he’s been partnered for more than four seasons. The chestnut has been a pleasant surprise for his owner, who originally imported him to be a hunter. Maclean purchased Etalon off a video and was told he’d be best suited for heights up to 3’6” (1.10m), but she was quickly proven otherwise.
“I bought him, and he was a little more horse than I needed,” Maclean said. “He jumped me off, and then he jumped another professional off, and so that professional asked Kyle if he would take him on, and it was a match made in heaven.”
According to JUMPR App, King and Etalon finish in the top 10 61% of the time when competing at 1.50m.
“He’s just a dude,” King said. “He’s been a longtime partner of mine now, and he’s very brave, so I can put good angles [on the jumps], I can roll back pretty tight, and he can wide open gallop. I can really count on him.”
Final Results – $100,000 ONNI Grand Prix CSI 3*
1) Kyle King (USA) & Etalon / Christine Maclean – 0 / 0 – 40.09
2) Matthew Sampson (GBR) & Ebolensky / Matthew Sampson – 0/ 0 – 41.98
3) Kara Chad (CAN) & Quidamo F / Kara Chad – 0 – 42.44
Source: Press Release by Catie Staszak / Catie Staszak Media for Thunderbird Show Park
Photos: © tbird / Quinn Saunders