Paul O’Shea flies to first place in $130,000 Grand Prix at FEI World Equestrian Games test event in Tryon USA
- 29 October 2017, 09:09
Limerick-born Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu beat off a top class international field in the early hours of this morning (Sunday), to claim top honors at Tryon International Equestrian Center (USA) in the $130,000 Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport three-star Grand Prix. The competition served as the final Saturday Night Lights of the season, and also the first Test Event prior to the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 for the discipline of Jumping.
O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu, a 10-year-old gelding by Silverstone VDL and owned by Skara Glen Stables, crossed the line clear in 34.85 seconds to claim the top prize of almost $43,000. Shawn Casady (USA) and Valinski S, took second place in 35.10, while third place honors went to Margie Engle (USA) and Dicas in 35.25.
Paul O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu
The Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) designed course saw 36 starters, while 10 combinations returned for the jump-off. Five entries finished double-clear on the evening and O’Shea commented on the course’s appropriate level of difficulty.
“It was the perfect course for the three star and Anthony [D’Ambrosio] did a super job building. We had a nice amount of clears and I thought it was a good result,” he smiled. “Obviously, it rode great. I’m really happy with it.”
O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu have been together for three years. “This horse was on the winning Nations Cup team in Florida this year and went double clear. He’s a fantastic horse, great mind, great to ride, and just a lovely horse,” O’Shea added.
With a tough track and competitive riders in the hunt for the victory, O’Shea explained that there were some elements he had to consider carefully. “The triple to the water rode differently than I expected. I thought it was going to ride a little short, but it actually rode long, so that took me a little bit by surprise, but it worked out well. The big question was whether to do eight strides to the last fence in the jump-off. It was a long, long way away, and he really locked onto it and jumped it well, but of course that was a chance there to leave out the stride,” he said.
Paul O’Shea’s grooms Collie Valvidia, Diego Valvidia, and Jose Louis Castro were awarded with the Absorbine FEI Grooms’ Award for their dedicated care of the winning Grand Prix mount Skara Glen’s Machu Picchu.
Paul O’Shea, Shawn Casady, and Margie Engle in their presentation ceremony with Leland Burch, Commissioner of Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport; and Scott Carr, Vice President of Commercial Business & Properties at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.