Mexico’s Enrique Gonzalez came top of an Olympic star-studded jump-off to win the third leg of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2016/2017 North American League Western Sub-League at the Del Mar International Horse Show in California, USA.
Gonzalez was one of only three riders that advanced to the final jump-off round under the indoor lights at The Del Mar Fairgrounds.
Having delivered one of the rare clear first round performances, the 52-year-old veteran rider then recorded a clear jump-off round aboard Chacna with his last-to-go effort the fastest time by over two seconds.
France’s Eric Navet, riding Catypso, finished in the runner-up position while Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes rounded out the top-three placings with Catalina.
Egypt’s Nayel Nassar narrowly missed out on the final round with a rail down at the first round’s first fence, but with the fastest, four-fault round, he finished fourth riding Lordan. Karl Cook was the highest placing home rider, ending the evening in fifth with Tembla.
A starting field of 28 horse and rider combinations attempted the demanding track designed by Frank Rothenberger who accurately predicted only three would ride his course clear. It was only the trio of Gonzalez, Navet and Menezes who rode clear in the first round to progress to the jump-off.
Menezes and Catalina incurred eight faults on their second tour of the track, whilst Navet and Catypso went double clear in a time of 43.15 seconds. It was left to Gonzalez and Chacna to deny them victory and his risky strategy paid off as they went clear in 40.93 seconds.
Following the Del Mar leg of competition, Karl Cook currently holds the top position in the Western Sub-League standings while fellow American Audrey Coulter heads the leaderboard for the Eastern Sub-League standings.
The next events in the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping 2016/2017 North American League for the Western and Eastern Sub-Leagues are both on 29 October, at Washington, USA and Calgary, Canada.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2016/2017 North American League, West Coast sub league.
Result: Leg 3 – Del Mar Fairgrounds, California, USA
1, Chacna (Enrique Gonzalez) Mexico 0/0 faults 40.93 seconds (jump-off)
2, Catypso (Eric Navet) Germany 0/0 43.15
3, Catalina (Eduardo Menezes) Brazil 0/8 44.56
4, Lordan (Nayel Nassar) Egypt 4 faults/61.90
5, Tembla (Karl Cook) USA 4/66.57
6, NKH Quanto (Christian Heineking) Germany 4/66.90
7, Capital Colnardo (Audrey Coulter) USA 4/67.74
8, Qinghai (Guido Klatte, Jr.) Germany 4/68.26
9, Apollonia (Harrie Smolders) Netherlands 8/63.68
10, The Dude (Will Simpson) USA 8/64.36