Ireland’s Kevin McCarthy has had a number of close calls before finally getting a win at the six-week Vermont Summer Festival in the USA.
The 42-year-old Irish rider’s win came in the $10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake with Catch A Star HSS.
The Irish combination were the final pair to jump from a field of 38 over tracks set by Tipperary’s Alan Wade, the course designer for the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon last year.
Catch A Star HSS’s speed turned heads during opening week of the Vermont Summer Festival and impressed again when the mare stopped the clock double-clear in 27.06 seconds. McCarthy stole the win by only fractions of a second from runner-up Kirk Webby of New Zealand, who sat in the top spot aboard Brando du Rouet for most of the immediate jump-off class with a time of 27.71 seconds.
“This is a great day,” said McCarthy, who transitioned from professional to amateur status within the last year. “This mare is naturally so fast,” continued McCarthy of Catch A Star HSS, a nine-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare he imported a year ago. “I got a real nice inside shot into the double of verticals, and that was probably what won it for me. After that we just had to bring it home. She does nothing but win with me, and she loves this job. That makes it easy!”
McCarthy has been to the Vermont Summer Festival in previous years and chose to call it home for three weeks this season.
“It’s a great show – we love it here,” said McCarthy, who owns and manages McCarthy’s Pub in his home base of Cazenovia, New York, when he isn’t competing. “The show itself is very well run, course design is great, prize money is very good, and it’s a fun town. They put in a lot of work here and it does show. The results are proven when you look down the order in these classes.”
Rounding out the top three in a jump-off between 17 horses, Canada’s Kim Farlinger stopped the clock at 28.04 seconds riding Free Style, while McCarthy added a second top-five finish by taking fourth riding Easton to a jump-off time of 28.14 seconds. The previous week’s winning pair, Ireland’s Kevin Mealiff and Nuca 2, ended in fifth on 28.55 seconds.
$10,000 Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stakes
1 Kevin McCarthy Ireland Catch A Star HSS 0/0/27.06 seconds.
2 Kirk Webby New Zealand Brando du Rouet 0/0/27.71 seconds.
3 Kim Farlinger Canada Free Style 0/0/28.04 seconds.
4 Kevin McCarthy Ireland Easton 0/0/28.14 seconds.
5 Kevin Mealiff Ireland Nuca 2 0/0/28.55 seconds.