Capt. Brian Cournane and the 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare Penelope Cruz, topped a 40-horse starting field to win the $36,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI 3* at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.
When the Irish combination returned to the grass field midway through the jump-off order, as one of only seven entries to advance to the jump-off, the time to beat had been set at 45.25 seconds by American Liza Finsness and Shiver.
Cournane and Penelope Cruz, however, swiftly took the lead with a time of 44.89 seconds, and while three riders would follow Cournane, none would catch the Irish rider who claimed victory, with Finsness taking second place and Mattias Tromp with Eyecatcher third.
“In the jump-off round, I tried to set a fast pace from the start, because really you were galloping jump to jump, and again, the course designer used the full field, which was really nice,” said Cournane.
Praising Penelope Cruz, Cournane said:
“She’s a wonderful, generous mare. She’s quite a small mare. Looking at her in the stable, you think she’s a bit of a plain Jane, but when you get up and start jumping her, she’s a great horse. She’s only 16.1, but when you’re on her, she grows! She feels a lot bigger.”
Final Results: $36,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI3*
1 Penelope Cruz and Capt. Brian Cournane (IRL), 0/0/44.89 seconds.
2 Shiver and Liza Finsness (USA), 0/0/45.25 seconds,
3 Eyecatcher and Mattias Tromp (USA), 0/0/45.43 seconds.
8 Fair Play and Aidan Killeen (IRL), 1/87.09 seconds.
12 Billy Dorito and Darragh Kenny (IRL), 4/80.23 seconds.
Prior to Cournane’s win on Saturday, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle bested a field of 49 top under 25-year-old riders to win the $10,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix Series Welcome CSI U25 aboard his own CHS Krooze.
Coyle, 24, and his nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare stopped the clock at 64.67 seconds to take the win, while Brian Moggre (USA) and MTM Flutterby, finished just tenths of a second behind Coyle in 64.94 seconds to take second. Rounding out the top three were Alex Matz and Cashew CR with a time of 65.89 seconds.