Thermal, California, USA – December 03, 2022 – Team Eye Candy sits where they need to be ahead of next week’s Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) Team Final at Desert International Horse Park. While they are not leading into the championship like in 2021, they are only three points behind season leaders Helios thanks to a pivotal win on Saturday.
Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Squirt Gun, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Diarado x Quick Star), owned by Eye Candy Jumpers, won the gold-medal jump-off against Team Lugano’s Natalie Dean (USA) on Cocolina.
O’Shea advanced thanks to clear rounds in the opening phase of competition from Amy Millar (CAN) and Christiano, a 12-year-old Brandenburg gelding (Canoso x Compliment) owned by Future Investments, and Conor Swail (IRL) aboard Theo 160, a 10-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Christian 25 x Calando IV), owned by Team Philippaerts.
Team Lugano claimed second with Kent Farrington (USA) on Austria 2 and Erynn Ballard (USA) with Gakhir joining Dean on the podium.
The bronze medal went to the Trailblazers. Darragh Kenny (IRL) beat out fellow countryman Jordan Coyle (IRL) in the medal match. Kenny on Chic Chic was joined on the podium by teammates Lillie Keenan (USA) riding Agana Van Het Gerendal Z and Luis Sabino (POR) aboard Vick du Croisy.
Winners’ Circle – Team Eye Candy
“We have a realistic chance now and it’s just going to make it more exciting. I think it’s good for the whole league that the competition is so strong this year. We had the advantage of going last today, so we could see what happened to the rider before and I had good instructions on the way in about what to do. That was a big advantage to know what had to be done.” – Paul O’Shea (IRL)
“I really enjoy coming here. The footing on this field is fantastic. It gives back to the horses, so my horses feel like they have springs in their shoes. It’s a pleasure to be here. We’ve had great success together and we’re making Erica happy, which is important, so we just have to keep it up for next week because I think we’re in the hunt now.” – Amy Millar (CAN)
“We had high expectations [this year] because we are the current champions but Helios has been so strong, it’s been difficult to catch. But look at us now; we are three points behind, we’ve had a lot of podium finishes. We give good results and I think we always have good plan going in. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but thankfully, more often than not, itdoes with the group of horses and riders we have.” – Conor Swail (IRL)
Phase 9 of MLSJ continues at Desert International Horse Park through November December 4 ahead of the season final from December 6-9.
Source: Press Release from Major League Show Jumping
Photos: © MLSJ / Atalya Boytner