Ireland’s impressive run of results at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida continued on Sunday night, as Limerick’s Paul O’Shea led home an Irish 1-2 in the two-star $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix.
There were 43 entries in the $50,000 Equiline Grand Prix CSI 2*, and 11 went clear to the jump-off. O’Shea and the 10-year-old gelding Imerald van’t Voorhof, were last to go in the jump-off, leaving out strides across the course, to cross the line clear in 36.84 seconds after a daring gallop to the last fence.
Second place went to fellow Irishman – Co Down’s Conor Swail on GK Coco Chanel. They had jumped clear in 38.24 seconds to finish just ahead of American rider Rebecca Conway and Salitos in third (38.55 seconds).
“I had the advantage of going last, which was obviously a big help because when I walked the jump-off, I didn’t know if there would be seven strides to the double or eight strides to the last,” said O’Shea. “But then after seeing Becky (Conway) and a few other people go, it was really there and that was a big help today.”
O’Shea said of his willing partner, Imerald, “He is extremely scopey and brave and has a massive stride. That was useful today with the long gallops, like down to the double (combination). To be able to really open him up, his stride and scope was a big help to the last fence.”
Fifth place in the class also went to an Irish rider, with Jonathan Corrigan and The Irish Sport Horse Loughnavatta Indigo jumping clear in 39.75 seconds