Sweetnam wins again in Florida
- 28 March 2013, 13:50
CORK’S Shane Sweetnam, who won last Sunday’s Grand Prix at Wellington in Florida, took another first place last night (Wednesday) at the same venue, riding Spy Coast Farm’s Swedish stallion Cyklon.
Sweetnam, who piloted the Irish Sport Horse Solerina to his first ever Grand Prix victory to close last week’s 11th leg of Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival, claimed the winner’s prize in this week’s opening speed class, outpacing American challenger Laura Kraut and Woodstock by three-quarters of a second.
Meanwhile, 25 year old Offaly rider Darragh Kenny took fifth place in the same class with the Belgian gelding Everest de Muze, reaffirming the strong showing that Irish riders have made over the last few months at the Florida shows against stiff international competition.
Though Kenny and then Laura Kraut were both very fast before him, Sweetnam said he went for the win. “I watched Darragh go and that looked very fast and actually I think Laura was watching at the same time,” he explained. “Laura was two seconds quicker than Darragh, so I knew she must have been really going, so I basically didn’t try to pull anywhere. I just went for it.”
Kenny and Sweetnam are joined at Wellington’s five-star show this week by fellow Irish riders Andrew Bourns, Jonathan Corrigan, Ronan McGuigan, Richie Moloney and Conor Swail.
There’s also a strong Irish show jumping presence on the other side of the Atlantic this weekend, with representation at shows in Arezzo, Italy; St-Kat-Waver, Belgium; Autheuil Authouillet and Barbizon in France; Vilamoura in Portugal, and Valencia in Spain.
In dressage, Linnea Larking flies the Irish flag at Addington in the UK, with Roland Tong the sole irish competitor at Stadl Paura in Austria.
In eventing, five Irish riders take part in the three and two-star competitions at Burnham Market in the UK.