Thomas and his partner, Jonkheer Z, the seventeen-year-old Zangersheide stallion owned by Emily Livermoore, were third to go in the order and first to jump clear. The veteran pair made the course look easy, soaring over each of the fences and covering the ground across the expansive grass field with ease.
The next clear round was Thursday’s class winners Will Simpson and Chacco P, ensuring a jump-off. Six more riders representing five nations also finished fault free, including Nicole Haunert (USA), Pablo Vizcaino (MEX), Rowan Willis (AUS), John Pearce (CAN), Jamie Barge (USA), and the last to go, Cassio Rivetti (BRA). A handful of horse and rider combinations had a single time fault, narrowly missing their spot in the jump-off.
Thomas was the first to return, and he put the pressure on his fellow competitors. The combination of Jonkheer Z’s massive stride and tremendous scope, resulted in a clean round with a challenging time to beat of 39.20 seconds.
Simpson and Chacco P crossed the timers in a blazing time of 37.23s, but an unfortunate rail at the second-to-last fence kept them from repeating their trip to the winner’s circle. Rails fell for all of the other jump-off competitors except for John Pearce and Firestone S, who provided the only other double clean performance, just six tenths of a second behind Thomas’ time.
Thomas, a proud new dad of a baby girl, was elated with his equine partner today. “I knew that I had quite a few fast horses coming behind me in the jump-off. My strategy was just to trust in Jonny. He has a huge stride and I just stayed out of his way.”