Rodrigo Pessoa & Eclat du Cerisier Excel in the $30,000 Old Salem Farm Great Oak Grand Prix

North Salem, New York, USA – September 17, 2023 – After winning the $30,000 Old Salem Farm Great Oak Grand Prix with Chili in 2022, Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) successfully defended his title at the 2023 Old Salem Farm September Horse Shows on Sunday, riding Eclat du Cerisier to the top of the leaderboard in a double-clear time of 40.258 seconds.

The Old Salem Farm September Horse Shows, September 12-17, September 19-24 and September 27-October 1, host competitions for riders of all levels and ages, ranging from young children on ponies to top Grand Prix stars aboard their up-and-coming mounts. 

Course designer Ken Krome (USA) presented 37 entries with a 16-effort, 1.40m track for the $30,000 Old Salem Farm Great Oak Grand Prix, with 12 successfully returning for the jump-off. Pessoa once again proved to be the fastest with his 40.258-second time aboard Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC’s Selle Français stallion Eclat du Cerisier, a 9-year-old Pessoa has been developing for the last two years.  

“He’s starting to do the bigger classes now and trying to be more competitive at the 1.45-1.50m,” Pessoa said. “He jumped the Hampton Classic 2* Grand Prix two weeks ago. Although he had an unlucky rail there in the first round, he jumped really well here this week. He’s a fairly easy ride. Sometimes getting him to adjust can be a little hard, but he’s very simple and straightforward. He’s honest and brave, and today, he was really game to go in the jump-off. We stuck to our plan, and while the margins were a bit close, we luckily came out on top.

Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Eclat du Cerisier during the awards ceremony

“It was a nice class to be part of,” Pessoa added. “The course was well built. We had 12 go clear, which was nice. The point of these grand prix classes is not to make them too hard so we can give our younger horses some mileage for better money. The jumps here (at Old Salem) are great, the footing is super nice, and it’s a great opportunity to give our younger horses some mileage before they reach the top level. I especially like being only a few minutes from my house.” 

Filip de Wandel (BEL) and Manhattan Van’t Leeuwerikenhof, Five Way Farm LLC’s 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding, finished second with a time of 40.756 seconds. Third went to Michael Murphy (USA), who tripped the timers in 40.830 seconds aboard Esperanza Imports LLC’s 8-year-old Warmblood mare Moneypenny.

Old Salem Farm competition will return on Tuesday, September 19, to kick off the second week of the September Horse Shows. 

Located just one hour north of New York City, Old Salem Farm has a long history of hosting world-class horse shows. Over the years, Old Salem Farm has hosted the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, United States Olympic Team Selection Trials, FEI World Cup™ qualifiers, FEI North American Youth Championships and ASPCA Maclay Regional Finals.

Weeks 2 (September 19-24) and 3 (September 27-October 1) feature more familiar Old Salem Farm highlights, including the $10,000 Old Salem Farm Jumper Classic each Sunday. There will also be an Old Salem Farm Hunter Derby taking place each Friday (September 15, September 22 and September 29). Week 2 will also include the Zone 2 Maclay Regionals National Horse Shows 3’3 Hamel Area Championship and THIS Adult Medal Area Championship on Saturday, September 23.

Final Results – $30,000 Old Salem Farm Great Oak Grand Prix

1) Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Eclat du Cerisier – 0 / 0 – 40.258

2) Filip de Wandel (BEL) and Manhattan Van’t Leeuwerikenhof – 0 / 0 – 40.756

3) Michael Murphy (USA) & Moneypenny – 0 / 0 – 40.830

Source: Press Release by Marty Bauman / Classic Communications for Old Salem Farm Horse Shows

Photos: © SEL Photography