Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Alejandro made easy work of Friday’s $39,000 Bainbridge CSI5* 1.45m as they cruised around the International Arena during the Wellington Equestrian Realty-sponsored WEF 9.
Sixty-one hopeful entries set forth around Alan Wade’s (IRL) speed track. Ultimately, Sweetnam and Alejandro, a 14-year-old gelding (Acorado’s Ass x Continue), owned by Sweet Oak Farm, Spy Coast Farm and Seabrook, LLC, clocked in at 57.2 seconds for the win. Second place went to Kristen Vanderveen (USA) aboard Bull Run’s Faustino De Tili (58.55 seconds) and third went to Tanner Korotkin and Quinn 33 (59.53 seconds).
While Sweetnam’s round did go to plan, it came as a slight surprise that his early leading time held on for the victory in a large and competitive class. “Alejandro jumped great; I was early in the class and in such a big class I was surprised I held out till the end, but I thought he was pretty quick. He was meant to show last week in a grand prix but he got a little sick, so he had a couple days off, but this week he’s been feeling great and I’m super happy with the result.”
When asked what Alejandro is like to ride, Sweetnam noted, “he’s always eager, so he can get a little strong but that also helps us to be fast in these classes. He really tries hard and has a huge heart, so you always feel like he’s giving you one hundred percent.”
Later in the afternoon on Friday, Catherine Pasmore (USA) and Freedom DE S.B. rode to victory in the $10,000 Florida Coast Equipment CSI2* 1.45m.
A tenth of a second ahead of runner-up Nina Mallevaey (FRA) and Cartier SR, Pasmore eclipsed her time of 63.23 seconds, which held for more than 20 rounds. Pasmore and Freedom DE S.B., a 2011 gelding (Ogano Sitte x Fabuleux De Gamet) owned by Pasmore Show Stables BV, stopped the clock at 63.16 seconds for the win. Wilton Porter (USA) and Joli took third in 68.21 seconds.
After not showing Freedom DE S.B. for three weeks, Pasmore was happy to be back in the ring on the gelding. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to go for it or not, but he felt so good in the warm-up and was super relaxed when I went in. So, I thought it’s good practice to try to win and that’s this horse’s first big win so I’m very excited.”
Pasmore has had the ride for two years and describes him as, “When I got him, I put on a loose ring snaffle was so excited to ride my new horse. I went to the outdoor arena and I could not even trot around the outside with any control whatsoever. With a lot of help from Jos Comps, Leo Rauscher, Mary Elizabeth Kent and Laura Kraut, we have clicked. The whole team together has taught me so much and today I felt it all come together.”