Katie Laurie and Cera Caruso on top in thermal

Katie Laurie and Cera Caruso on top in thermal

Cera Caruso made his return to the Grand Prix Arena Thursday for CSI4* action, finding his way back to the winner’s circle in the Morning Star Sporthorses CSI4* Two Phase with Katie Laurie (AUS) aboard.

With a relatively light week for Carissa McCall’s 15-year-old Australian Warmblood gelding (Casall x Capone), Laurie laid it all on the line, speeding to a second-phase time of 27.85 seconds. Only Vanessa Mannix (CAN) was able to come close to that time, clocking in with Carmela Z at 29.02 seconds. Matt Archer (USA) claimed third with Zibaloubet Z, owned by Rhys Farms, LLC.

“He’s only jumping today and then the 1.45m [Classic] on Saturday, so I thought it was a good class for him,” Laurie said of Cera Caruso’s plan. “He’s naturally pretty fast. I added down the first line in the first round to get him steady and jumping nicely. He can run and turn, and it’s good for him to get a win under his belt this week.”

A bit excitable at times, Cera Caruso, known as “Elvis” in the barn, likes to show his personality in the warm-up and prize giving ceremonies. “He definitely knows [he won],” Laurie joked. “He’s still wild at the moment out in the warm-up. When he goes in for presentations he’s pretty happy. We keep it pretty simple and he knows his job now. He just likes to poke his nose out and be how he is.”

Laurie’s family has built a pretty impressive breeding program at home, which all stemmed from a Thoroughbred mare her father used to show at a high level. She credits the Thoroughbred line for her barn full of quirky personalities, even though Elvis is not a homebred.

“We had a really good jumping thoroughbred mare and she bred really well. A lot of the horses I’ve ended up with have ended up quirky. I just manage what we’ve got and make the best of it. They really try for you. It’s the way we’ve been able to jump to this level without a lot of money,” Laurie said.

Two of the horses that came as a result of breeding the Thoroughbred mare were Laurie’s FEI World Equestrian Games partners, Django II and Dunstan Delphi. Django II also made an appearance in Thursday’s class, preparing for Sunday’s $260,000 CSI4* Adequan® Grand Prix.