Friday, May. 24, 2024

Carlo Keeps All The Rails Up To Win President’s Cup Grand Prix At Washington International

Washington, D.C.—Oct. 29

It might have been that Michel Vaillancourt set a course difficult enough to provide the crowd with an evening’s entertainment. It might have been, like Nick Skelton suggested, that many competitive riders who normally compete in the grand prix at the Washington International (D.C.) were competing at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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Washington, D.C.—Oct. 29

It might have been that Michel Vaillancourt set a course difficult enough to provide the crowd with an evening’s entertainment. It might have been, like Nick Skelton suggested, that many competitive riders who normally compete in the grand prix at the Washington International (D.C.) were competing at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Whatever it was, only four of a field of 24 advanced to the jump-off in the $100,000 President’s Cup CSI-W, and not one of those four left the ring after their second round without some faults on the board. In the jump-off, Lucy Davis posted 8 faults, followed by a 4-fault round by Brianne Goutal and 8 faults by Margie Engle.

However, in Nick Skelton’s case, the 2 faults were not because Carlo 273 knocked a rail, but that as the final ride of four, and having seen his three previous competitors have at least one rail each, Skelton knew he would have to forego the risky turns to make the time limit so that he could leave all the rails in the cups.

“Actually, I don’t like those jump-offs, because when there are no clear rounds and you have to jump clear, that’s when you tend to make a mistake,” said Skelton. “I prefer to have other clears—to have to go fast and attack. But in that [the former] position, you have to go in there and be really careful. And also, the time was really tight.”

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Vaillancourt acknowledged a multi-tiered system for building a course of this difficulty; its title of a President’s Cup, its designation as a World Cup qualifier and the fact that he anticipated a large crowd who would need to be provided with “some kind of spectacle.”

The second rider of the evening, Davis on Nemo 119 (who Davis bought from Skelton about two years ago), put in the first clear round, then immediately followed by Goutal and Nice de Pressey. Fifteen more horse-and-rider combinations tried their hand at Vaillancourt’s test, but it wasn’t until Engle and Indigo cantered around that the third clear round was posted. Even though Carlo had not shown indoors for several years, he still handled the atmosphere like a pro, his double-clear performance coming off a second-placed finish in Thursday’s $31,000 International Open Jumper Time First Jump Off.

“It was a good class. I thought the course was fair. My horse was great—I was really pleased with him,” Skelton said of the 10-year-old gelding. “[Carlo] has really grown up a lot this summer.”

Tonight wrapped up a successful WIHS for the British rider (he also won the Puissance class with Unique by clearing 7 feet). Skelton will head south to Kentucky for the Alltech National Horse Show, turn around and head north to Canada to compete in Toronto at the Royal Fair, and finally venture down south to Florida for the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington.

Read more news coverage from the Washington International Horse Show.

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