Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 wowed the crowd in the $10,000 Gambler's Choice
Harrisburg, PA- Oct. 17, 2012- It was Western night at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show and the stands filled with Pennsylvania locals and visitors ready for some show jumping action in a wild and wooly Gambler’s Choice. The evening festivities also included Western entertainment, barrel racing, flag racing and equine humorist and trick rider, Tommy Turvey.
Top American and European riders wowed the crowd with the $10,000 Gambler’s Choice class. In the format of the competition, each obstacle is allotted a number of points, provided it is jumped clear. Riders may choose their course and accumulate points by clearing the jumps, leaving the rails in tact. After the first round, the riders have two options. They may either jump the “Joker” fence and add points to their score or take the “double or nothing” jump, risking it all.
Tim Gredley and Unex Valente had the first impressive score of 810 in the competition. The pair opted for the “double or nothing” fence posting a score of 1620. A few rounds later, Olympian Beezie Madden and Vanilla expertly executed a high scoring round of 830, then cleared the “double or nothing” fence to take her score to 1660 to capture the lead.
Charlie Jayne and Valeska
Then, Charlie Jayne aboard Valeska had the crowd roaring as he quickly accumulated 900 points performing a well-laid-out plan. He, too, cleared the “double or nothing” jump to the crowd’s delight taking his score to a whopping 1800.
Leslie Howard, well–known for her ability to pour on the speed, tried her best to surpass Jayne’s time aboard Zack. The pair tallied up 870 points and went for the “double or nothing” fence, clearing it successfully to bring their score to 1740, edging Madden out of second place but short of Jayne’s score.
Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 over the risking it all over the double or nothing fence.
Last to go, Shane Sweetnam aboard Cyklon 1083 pulled out all the stops, and with blazing speed, jumped more fences, and amassed more points than any horse and rider pair, scoring a 1060 in the first round. Then he opted for the “double or nothing” obstacle upping his score to 2120 to take the win.
In the end it was Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083, owned by Spy Coast Farm LLC, in first place, Jayne and Pony Lane Farm’s Valeska taking second, Howard and Zack, owned by Gabriel Coumans in third and Madden and Vanilla, owned by Abigail Wexner in third.
“I enjoy this format but I don’t play cards and I don’t gamble on horses, said Sweetnam. “This is the only time of the year you see it (the format of Gambler’s Choice). I enjoy it. It’s a fun class and it’s fun for the crowd. I think it’s something we should have more often. The crowd really gets into it.”
“I had been around (the course) on my other horse and it didn’t work out the way I wanted. I thought that plan was close enough. I did the calculations and knew that it could win if I did it right. I heard what Charlie had and I was going through it in my head and I thought it should win if I do it right.”
Shane Sweetnam and Cyklon 1083 win the Gambler's Choice
“Cyklon is a great horse I got him at the start of the year,” he said. “I’m very lucky, Spy Coast Farm owns him, like all of my other good horses. He really wants to win. He went to the Hamptons he was first, second, third. He went to Rome and placed in two big classes. He won a class in St Gallen. He’s a Swedish Warmblood by Cardento. The faster you go the more he enjoys it.”
“Tomorrow night is a good class but the main focus is Saturday night.” Said Sweetnam, who will represent Ireland in the Grand Prix de Penn National, a World Cup Qualifier on Saturday night.
A star-studded $7,500 Open Jumpers was the highlight of the afternoon at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show on day seven of the popular and well-attended show. Thirty-two top riders competed in a first round and jump-off over Wade’s 1.40m course.
Christine McCrea ans Zerly ended up in third place
In the first round, an astounding 20 horse and rider teams went without fault and progressed to the jump-off round. Second to go in the second round, Christine McCrea and Romanavitch Take One established the time to beat with her clear second round, crossing the timer at 39.212.
Five rounds later Olympian Reed Kessler and her own Onisha laid down another clean and very fast round that would stand as the performance no other athlete could match, coming in at 38.861. Kessler is the current reigning US Show jumping national champion and was the youngest person in show jumping history to compete at the Olympic Games.
The class produced six double clear performances with Pan American Games Gold Medalist, Christine McCrea earning both second place with Candy Tribble’s Romanavitch Take One and third place with Zerly owned by Windsor Show Stable & Candy Tribble. In fourth place, Kessler’s U.S. teammate at the London Olympic Games and Gold Medalist, Beezie Madden, was fourth with Amadora. The pair are fresh from their win last night in the $5,000 Power and Speed Class. Madden is currently the number one ranked rider on the Rolex/USEF Show Jumping list.
Reed Kessler and Onisha
“She’s a really fast horse- so there were people who did fewer strides than I did,” said Kessler. “I’m just lucky to have her. She’s really fast across the ground. I did the nine in the first round and some people did eight. I think the place where I was faster was the eight back on the first double most did nine or ten. Besides that, she’d just an incredibly fast horse- her rollbacks and she’s fast through the air. I credit it to her.”
Another afternoon highlight of the Pennsylvania National Horse Show was the $3,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Class. Twenty-seven top amateurs competed over Alan Wade’s technical track.
In the first round, seven competitors had clean rounds and an exciting jump-off round ensued. Of the seven horse and rider pairs, five had double clear rounds. The fastest round was produced by Kelsey Thatcher aboard Pony Lane Farm’s Everything who posted a time of 27.230, in second place was Anna McKnight aboard her own Carisco, stopping the clock at 27.415. Third place was awarded to Megan Nusz and Amalaya Investment’s Vesuvius clocking in at 28.611. Thatcher was fourth aboard her other mount in the class Klotaire Du Moulin a chestnut stallion also owned by Pony Lane Farm.
“My plan was to just go in and ride the course to the best of my ability,” said Kelsey Thatcher. “I just finished doing the Open Jumpers on Dulf and Athena. It was nice because it made these jumps look little.”
Kelsey Thacher and Everything
“I’ve literally shown once since July so I’m a little rusty,” said Thatcher who is a Junior at the University of Georgia. “It’s nice because I show up and these horses are totally ready to go. The Jayne’s do a great job.”
“Everything is a horse we bought from Cian O”Connor. He’s a super talented horse. I won a big class on him at Spruce Meadows. He’s super hot and he jumps phenomenally. We did a show in Kentucky two weekends ago and he fell down on the lunge line and he had stitches. We were going to either sink or swim out there tonight. He came out and he was awesome.”
The Conformation Hunters got underway first thing. In the first class of the Green Conformation Hunters Thomas Brennan piloted Mary Ellen Rice’s Grammercy Park to the blue ribbon. Ragtime Cowboy, owned Twinkle Gorman and ridden by Carlton Brooks was second Greg Crolick rode Lassalle, owned by Savannah Mannes to third place.
In the second class of the Green Conformation Hunters WINGMAN, owned by Lee Kellogg Sadrian and ridden by Jennifer Bauersachs earned the first place prize. Grammercy Park and Brennan were second and Lugano, owned by Susan Moriconi were third with Chris Payne in the irons.
In first class of the Regular Conformation Hunters, Amanda Steege and Ellen Toon’s Invincible won the blue ribbon. Second place went to Kristen Abbatiello-Neff’s Kennzo shown by Molly Ashe-Cawley. Sambalino, owned by Becky Gochman and ridden by Peter Pletcher was third.
Archie Cox and Montague, owned by Lily Blavin had the judges’ nod for first place in the second class of the Regular Conformation Hunters. Hunt Tosh and Dr. Betsee Parker’s Cold Harbor were second and Kennzo and Ashe-Cawley were third.
Thursday at the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, the Conformation Hunters come to a conclusion with the final classes and championships. The Grand Hunter Champion will be named. The Amateur-Owner Hunter Division will get underway and show jumping action continues with the Open Jumpers, Amateur –Owner Jumpers and in the evening, the Pennsylvania Big Jump is slated as the featured competition,