IRELAND’S Shane Sweetnam and the Irish Sport Horse ‘James Kann Cruz’ have added to their already impressive list of wins, by taking the top prize in Sunday’s $405,300 American Gold Cup five-star Grand Prix at Traverse City, Michigan in the USA.
“It’s a great feeling to have,” Sweetnam said of the ride aboard ‘James Kann Cruz’, owned by Gizmo Partners LLC. “It’s one of those horses you search your whole career to find, and when you find it, you don’t believe it’s real. Every day he comes out and his form is even better. So I have to echo: what a horse.”
Sweetnam scored what was his second five-star Grand Prix win with the nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (‘Kannan’ x ‘Cruising’) as the sole double-clear effort over Alan Wade’s course, coming out on top after a three-horse jump-off and becoming only the second-ever non-North American to win the prestigious title.
Behind Sweetnam, still chasing his first American Gold Cup win, was McLain Ward (USA) and ‘Callas’, who finished with one fence down against the clock. Lacey Gilbertson (USA) took third place as the only other clear effort over the first-round track aboard ‘Karlin van’t Vennehof’.
Sweetnam and ‘James Kann Cruz’ had also proved unbeatable in the Grand Prix qualifier at the same venue earlier this week, coming on the back of a huge win in the Aga Khan at the Dublin Horse Show last month, where they helped Ireland to victory.
“I always thought there was something special about him, but you never know until you start working with a horse and start building the relationship,” he said of ‘James Kann Cruz’. “As soon as we turned up in January, everything went the right way and everyone was talking about him. It’s a different kind of pressure to win and, instead of managing every little detail, I just have to let him do what he can do. He’s a great horse and he showed that [today].”
Sweetnam went home with not only the biggest win of the Traverse City Horse Shows season, but also with extra cash after winning the season-long CaptiveOne Advisors Leading Open Jumper Rider Bonus.
CSI5* American Gold Cup Grand Prix: 1) James Kann Cruz: 2013 ISH gelding by Kannan x Cruising; Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Gizmo Partners LLC: 0/0/40.42; 2) Callas: 2008 HOLST mare by Casall x Coriano; McLain Ward (USA), Beechwood Stables LLC: 0/4/41.71; 3) Karlin Van’t Vennehof: 2010 BWP mare by Fantomas De Muze x Quasimodo Van De Molendreef; Lacey Gilbertson (USA), Seabrook LLC: 0/12/42.25; 4) Dez Ooktoff: 2008 KWPN stallion by Colandro x Lys Rouge; Roberto Teran Tafur (COL), Roberto Teran Tafur: 1/82.07; 5) Bennys Legacy: 2008 OLDBG gelding by Lupicor x Voltaire; Adrienne Sternlicht (USA), Starlight Farms 1 LLC: 1/82.80.
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