Traverse City, Mich. – Sept. 5, 2021 – The final day of show jumping competition during Week I of the Traverse City Tournament of Champions featured the highly anticipated Traverse City Tournament of Champions $137,000 Grand Prix CSI3*. Some of the world’s top show jumping athletes took center stage in the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring to battle for the lion’s share of the prize money. In the end, it was Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and Ideal who galloped their way to victory after a clear and blazing jump-off time of 41.180 seconds. The United States’s Jonathan McCrea and Gazelle ES took home second place after a double-clear effort and a jump-off time of 41.630 seconds, while Katherine Dinan and Dougie Douglas were awarded third place with a time of 41.810 seconds.
Canadian course designer Peter Grant set forth a 13-obstacle track at an 80 second time to challenge the riders through a winding course starting strong with a triple bar fence, followed by two complex triple combinations that many athletes found challenging, resulting in rails down. Competitors from all over the world were hopeful to navigate qualifying rides to nab one of the coveted jump-off spots and a shot at the prize money. Only 11 athletes were clear to make it to the jump-off, with McCrea and Gazelle ES, a 10-year-old KWPN mare owned by Windsor Show Stables, among the first of 10 athletes who elected to return for the jump-off and would become the pathfinders for the shortened 7-obstacle course. The dynamic pair galloped their way through the second round, overcoming the previous competitors with a double-clear effort and the fastest time thus far with a time of 41.630 seconds.
Fellow competitor Sweetnam and his partner Ideal, a 9-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding owned by Sweet Oak Farm, would quickly overtake McCrea and Gazelle ES as they were one of the final pairs to enter the ring. This pair is no stranger to the winner’s circle, notching several major grand prix wins at some of the top horse show venues in the country, including the Winter Equestrian Festival, Kentucky Spring Classic and the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival. However, Sweetnam knew the horse had the swiftness and carefulness to win the class, overtaking his fellow competitors with a double-clear effort and a blazing jump-off time of 41.180 seconds.
Dinan and Dougie Douglas, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding owned by Grant Road Partners LLC, was the final competitor to take their turn at the shortened 7-obstacle track. Dougie Douglas is known for his speed, and Dinan was slicing and dicing her way aboard the gelding to a double clear effort and a time of 41.810 seconds, just six-tenths of a second shy of Sweentam and Ideal to ultimately claim third place. Sweetnam would be the one to emerge at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the class, with McCrea taking home second place.
Sunday’s $137,000 Grand Prix CSI3* counted towards valuable points for the $30,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus. As the finale for this highly sought-after bonus quickly approaches, Katie Laurie (AUS) once again remains at the top of leaderboard with a total of 42 points. Kyle King (USA) and Jonathan Mc Crea (USA) are tied for second with 38 points. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) moves up to the fourth position with 37 points. Offering show jumping competitors the chance to accumulate points throughout the 12-week Traverse City Horse Show series, the bonus is awarded to the athlete with the most points at the conclusion of the 2021 $230,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix CSI5*, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors. The CaptiveOne Advisors Open Jumper Rider Bonus is a highly sought-after prize among the field of international competitors that attend Traverse City Horse Shows.
The $137,000 Grand Prix CSI3* marks the conclusion of Week I Traverse City Tournament of Champions. Competition will resume for Week II Wednesday, September 8, featuring the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament, presented by the Davis McCullough Foundation, as well as the USHJA Young Jumper Championship.
FROM THE WINNERS CIRCLE
Shane Sweetnam – Winner of Traverse City Tournament of Champions $137,000 Grand Prix CSI3*
“I bought Ideal when he was 7-years-old in Sweden. He has always been very talented. Last year, I gave him to David O’Brien at Spycoast Farm, where he developed him a little bit for me. At the time, I had a couple of older horses, and I felt that he would give him more time than I had for those younger classes. As soon as I got him back at the end of last year, we hit the ground running. He placed in Florida [at the Winter Equestrian Festival] two or three times in the 1.50m, which are very tough classes. In the summer, he won the CSI3* Grand Prix at Kentucky Spring and then won a grand prix here at Traverse City Summer. I think he really deserved this and I was hoping that we would get that show.”
On first round:
“I think Peter Grant did a fantastic job, it was quite inviting. There were a lot of younger horses and athletes competing in the class, and I think he did the right thing by not going too big but kept it challenging. There was the right number of clear and then there was an exciting jump-off not only for the riders but for the spectators as well.”
On plan going into jump-off:
“Luckily, I was towards the end, and I got to watch a few other of the competitors and what numbers they got down the lines. I did six strides up the first line and then five strides after the double. Once I had done those things, I knew I really had a chance to win it. I thought Katherine Dinan might have gotten me because Dougie Douglas is a super quick horse.”
On CaptiveOne Leading Rider Bonus:
“Like I said the other day, it is great to have that incentive for the jumper riders. It gives us all something to work towards and be even more competitive in the ring. We can really only go day by day. Today was a great day for me, but maybe I won’t be in the hunt next week. I am hoping that I can catch up to the top of the leaderboard and be near the top standings by the end of the third week at Traverse City Tournament of Champions.”
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / R1 Faults | R1 Time / R2 Faults | R2 Time
1. Ideal / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / Sweet Oak Farm / 0 | 73.960 / 0 | 41.180
2. Gazelle ES / Jonathan McCrea / USA / Windsor Show Stables / 0 | 74.550 / 0 | 41.630
3. Dougie Douglas / Katherine Dinan / USA / Grant Road Partners LLC / 0 | 74.830 / 0 | 41.810
4. Fantasy BB / Jonathan McCrea / USA / Windsor Show Stables / 73.470 | 0 / 41.840 | 0
5. Volo’s Diamond / Tanner Korotkin / USA / Sandalwood Farms / 73.680 | 0 / 43.600 | 0
6. Madiba AG Z / Ashley Vogel / USA / Ashley Vogel / 76.610 | 0 / 45.280 | 0
7. Arpeggi / Brooke Kemper / USA / Caroline Blum / 72.420 | 0 / 41.020 | 4
8. Balkana Du Tillard / Olivia Chowdry / USA / Atlas Equine Holdings LLC / 73.160 | 0 / 44.500 | 4
9. Zero Gravity / Lauren Ditallo / USA / Scott Durchslag / 76.680 | 0 / 48.830 | 4
10. Athos D’Elle / Katherine Dinan / USA / Grant Road Partners LLC / 73.280 | 0 / 40.980 | 8
11. Luke Skywalker 70 / Gustavo Prato / ARG / Kisma Equestrian LLC / 76.350 | 0 / 41.570 | 12