Shane Sweetnam led a trio of Irish riders to the top places in the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse 1.45m at Canada’s Spruce Meadows National tournament on Saturday.
The course featured 14 numbered obstacles, including the table bank and small derby bank with a jump at the bottom. The format was faults converted, so even with a rail down, competitors could do well if they were fast enough.
The early leader was Hector Florentino (DOM) on Anemone’s Vicky, owned by Stransky’s Mission Farms. They set the time at 84.71 seconds. Nine horses later, it was Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Oakland Ventures LLC’s Fantasy who brought the winning time down to 79.982 seconds, which would hold up for second place.
Coming close was fellow Irishman Conor Swail on Susan Grange’s Ariana, who stopped the clock in 80.703 seconds for third place.
Sweetnam made it an Irish sweep of the top ribbons when he and Fineman, an 11-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding by Feliciano x Beach Boy, sped through the course, staying low and fast over the jumps and finishing in 79.254 seconds.
Having the chance to ride in a variety of classes and derbies growing up is what Sweetnam believes gives the Irish riders a slight edge. “I think we’re quite good at the derbies because we do it when we’re kids. We do it on small, medium, large ponies; we learn at an early age. Normally we don’t have the sun! Normally it’s raining when we do the derby,” he smiled.
Sweetnam had gone earlier in the class with Cyklon 1083, and Sweetnam said he “made a little bit of a mistake with him,” which he corrected on Fineman. “When I was going up, it’s a hard enough entry on the bank with the little gate, and I took a pull and I shouldn’t have taken a pull. I should have kept going,” he said.
He knew the times posted by Kenny and Swail and what he would have to do to get that winning time. “Darragh and Conor are very fast riders, I know they’re fast. After I had gone with Cyklon – he was 81 (seconds) with a fence down – then I knew, if I was going to break 79 (seconds), what I had to do in some places and take more risk,” he explained.
Sweetnam sold Fineman at the beginning of the year, so he was happy to have the ride back just a week before the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, especially since the “versatile” horse can fill a variety of roles in speeds, derbies, 1.50m, and more. “It was good timing,” he said. “He’s just a very versatile horse, and you can do a lot of things with him. He’s jumped indoors. He’s a great horse that way, you can do anything you want and know with him that as fast as I go, he’ll try as hard as he can.”
• On Friday night Darragh Kenny racked up his second win at the five-star show in Calgary, Canada, on the Diamant De Semilly gelding Picolo, while Conor Swail placed second in the feature class of the day.
Kenny, who had a win on Thursday with Picolo, repeated the formula in Friday’s 1m45 Jump-Off class, seeing off challenges from a very strong field of Canadian and US international riders.
Swail, who had placed third behind Kenny on Thursday with Game Ready, brought out Susan and Ariel Grange’s mare Martha Louise for the big Winning Round class at Calgary, but was narrowly beaten in the ten-horse jump off by Mexico’s Jaime Azcarraga with the chestnut stallion Matador.
$60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse
1 FINEMAN: Swedish Warmblood / G / 11 Feliciano x Beach Boy - SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Sweet Oak Farm: 79.254
2 FANTASY: Hanoverian / M / 9 For Pleasure x Acorado - DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Oakland Ventures LLC: 79.982
3 ARIANA: Dutch Warmblood / M / 13 Oklund x Damiro - CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan Grange: 80.703
4 WORLDS JUDGEMENT: Dutch Warmblood / M / 11 Judgement x Farmer - LISA CARLSEN (CAN), Alycia Hayes: 81.886
5 INDIANA 127: Dutch Warmblood / G / 12 Indoctro x Unknown - ANGEL KAROLYI (VEN), Hollow Creek Farm: 82.366
6 MOONDOGGIE: Holstein / G / 9 Lord Continuet x South Pacific - LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Peter and Leslie Howard: 83.236
7 ANEMONES VICKY: Dutch Warmblood / M / 12 Krunch de Breve x Animo - HECTOR FLORENTINO (DOM), Stransky’s Mission Farms: 84.706
8 COLGAN CRUISE: Irish Sport Horse / M / 12 Cruising x Clover Hill - RICH FELLERS (USA), Chapman & Fellers: 84.771
9 CYKLON 1083: Swedish Warmblood / S / 13 Cardento x Cortus - SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 85.546
10 UITTERAARD: Dutch Warmblood / G / 13 Numero Uno x Natosca - NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Sheila Sosnow: 87.127
11 ROMEO: Dutch Warmblood / G / 16 Cantero x Unknown - PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), The Romeo Group: 87.277
12 AD VANGELYS: Belgian Sport Horse / G / 9 Rock du val Tibermont x Unknown - EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Hollow Creek Farm: 87.696