In a star-studded class of international athletes from eight countries, Karl Cook (USA) and Caillou 24 mastered the $137,000 MD Barnmaster Grand Prix CSI3* with a lightning fast jump-off time of 36.75 seconds. Landing in second place nearly a second later was Kent Farrington (USA) and Kaprice, whom Farrington owns with Haity McNerney, with a time of 37.52 seconds. Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Carthano, owned by Darragh Kenny with Whiterock Farm, Ltd., followed in third with a final score of 38.87.
The Ghuiherme Jorge (BRA)-designed course challenged 50 pairs, with only nine advancing to the jump-off round. Cook and Caillou 24, owned by Signe Ostby, pressed hard to claim the win thanks to Cook’s instinctual move to leave out a stride on the final gallop.
“It was just land and go. I saw it and realized if I wanted to win I had to try it. Until he [Caillou 24] took off I didn’t think we were going to make it!” shared Cook.
While Cook said his strategy going into the jump-off round was “hope,” Caillou was a major contributor in the duo’s ability to rise above the other notable players in the jump-off.
“Kent and Darragh’s records speak for themselves. Caillou’s style is not one that you’d really say, ‘Oh yeah, he can go faster than Kent and Darragh.’ He’s a bigger horse with a bigger stride and slows in the air, so the game is to leave strides out.”
Cook continued to praise his mount, adding that “one of the best things about him [Caillou 24] is that he’s very strong and very sound so you can just keep showing. He’s very consistent, which helps us work together because we don’t have peaks or valleys. We trust each other so much, and we definitely needed trust in that jump-off!”
Cook, who is based in Rancho Santa Fe, CA, last made an appearance at TIEC in 2017 and shared what he appreciates most about the venue.
“What I like is the overall design. The barns are so nice to be in. You know, you go to many shows and the barns just aren’t that nice and they’re small. There’s a lot of space to ride, too. So far this week they’ve maintained the footing well. To hold up to some of those turns in the jump-off you need strong footing. [TIEC] has been doing a great job.”