IRELAND’s Cian O’Connor and the 10-year-old gelding Careca LS Elite, owned by Ronnoco Jump Ltd, stormed to victory in Sunday’s $50,000 Restylane two-star Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, USA.
Seven of the 44 starters made it through to the second round and, first to go in the jump-off, O’Connor led from start to finish with his clear in 45.65 seconds proving unbeatable.
“He’s a very intelligent horse with a wonderful canter,” said O’Connor. “He has a super technique in front so you can really put him close to the jumps, and he has a great way of jumping. When he’s fresh he’s a little bit keen so he needs plenty of jumping, plenty of classes, and you can really feel there today in the jump-off he was really easy to ride. He can turn back short and he’s catty at the jumps, so it really makes my job easy to go fast on him.”
The last combination to go in the jump-off, Rachel Cornacchia (CAN) and Valkyrie De Talma came closest to catching O’Connor – finishing two-hundredths of a second off the mark in 45.67, while Jennifer Waxman (USA) and Mecho Van’t Kiezelhof finished third in 46.07.
O’Connor has had Careca for the past year, speaking highly of his talent, noting that he is pleased with the gelding’s development thus far.
“I saw him last year through a friend of mine Enda Carroll at Ashford Farm. We bought the horse and brought him on with some National Grand Prix classes in Ireland where he did well. There haven’t been many shows because of the pandemic so it’s really about building him up and using these classes to get used to him. He’s been very good in all the national classes he’s jumped so I decided to put him up to the CSI2* this week, and he coped really well.”
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