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Young stars rule ‘Vegas

From Horsetrader staff reports - December 6th, 2012 - Show & Event News

Amy McCool photo

Karl Cook and ASB Conquistador win the $50,000 Fisker Automotive World Cup Grand Prix during the Las Vegas National Nov. 17 at the Thomas and Mack Center.

LAS VEGAS — A trio of talented young California riders led by Karl Cook proved they have arrived at the Las Vegas National Horse Show, held Nov. 13-18 at the South Point Equestrian Center.

Cook earned the top two spots in the $50,000 Fisker Automotive Grand Prix CSI-W on Nov. 17 in the featured class of the Las Vegas National, winning on Jonkheer Z and taking second on ASB Conquistador. He also won the $30,000 Las Vegas Speed Classic on Notories Utopia.

The grand prix featured 35 rounds taking on German course designer Olaf Petersen Jr.’s World Cup Qualifying test. The course proved more difficult than many had anticipated.

“After the course walk, the majority of the riders told me it was an easy course,” Petersen added, “I built a technical track and I think they noticed that once they rode it.”

The 16-effort track featured three verticals set at 1.60M and a very wide triple bar spread. Many riders found themselves questioning their game plan as they approached the oxer-vertical-oxer combination. After clearing the oxer, the middle element came up quickly, causing four faults for a large group of contenders.

The $50,000 Fisker Automotive World Cup Grand Prix was the pinnacle of the Las Vegas National beginning with a fiery opening ceremony act. Welcoming the local crowds, fans and competitors was a one-of-a-kind fire infused performance that set the stage for some hot competition.

Amy McCool photo

Saer Coulter on Graciella 50 took fifth at the event.

Thirty-five rounds of international talent prepared to take on German course designer, Olaf Petersen Jr.’s World Cup Qualifying test.

The young stars of the sport took control of the field when four of the five contenders qualified for the jump off all fell under 21 years of age. In the end, Cook was able to post a solid four fault round aboard the stallion ASB Conquistador, then wrapped up the competition with the only fault free ride of the night with Jonkheer Z. It was the perfect finish to a fabulous three nights of Show Jumping spectacular.

Only five of the 35 horse and rider duos were able to the master the track and move on to the jump-off. Coming off his win in the $30,000 EQU Lifestyle Speed Classic on Friday night, the young and fearless Karl Cook (USA) took to the track on his first of two mounts, ASB Conquistador, to post the first clear round. Just two rounds later, veterans Helen McNaught (GBR) and her seventeen-year-old Caballo were able to produce a clear round. Thursday night’s $32,000 Markel Insurance Jumper Classic twenty-year-old victor, Sear Coutler (USA), guided her winning mount to a blazing fault free round. Fifteen rounds and several four faulters later, nineteen-year-old Lucy Davis (USA) and her rambunctious gelding, Nemo 119 joined the second round group with a clean effort. The final of the five to qualify for the jump-off was twenty one-year-old Karl Cook on his second mount, Jonkheer Z.

Amy McCool photo

Lucy Davis with Nemo 19 took fourth. With Cook taking second on Jonkheer Z, that gave the young trio four of the top five places.

Petersen designed a long, flowing jump-off that demanded riders to cut corners, angle jumps, and gallop between obstacles. Cook returned on his first mount, ASB Conquistador. With an unfortunate rail, Cook charged to the final oxer, stopping the clock in a speedy 44.46 seconds. McNaught (GBR) and her trusty Caballo attempted to top the leaderboard, but with a similar unlucky rail down and not quite as speedy, McNaught would have to settle for a four fault score in 45.93, good enough for third place.

Coulter attempted to cover the ground between jumps with Graciella 50’s speed, however ended up with two rails down in 46.14 seconds and a fourth place overall. Despite Nemo 119’s usual parade of bucking and kicking, once the clock started Davis and her talented mount were all business. Well on her way to a winning round, Davis attempted a tough angle at an oxer. The risk didn’t pay off when Nemo 119 refused. The pair ended up with 13 faults, settling for 5th respectively.

Cook came into the final round knowing that all he needed to do for the win was post a fault free effort. With a few rubs and nerve wracking approaches, Cook was able to guide Jonhkeer Z to the only double clear round of the night, securing the top two spots on the leaderboard. “I’m lucky I guess,” Cook smiled, “I have a great trainer, a great program and great horses. I’ll admit that I also thought the course walked easy, but it rode much harder. Overall, after last night and tonight, I couldn’t be happier.” Within a two day span Cook earned four top placings aboard four remarkable horses owned by Signe Ostby.

Leading up to the Grand Prix was the $10,000 Royal Champion Classic. A class with a unique format, the top ten scoring teams from the first round return for a second round with a clean slate to compete for the win. Eduardo Menezes (BRA) came back in the jump-off with two mounts, Quintol Mercedes Benz and Audi’s Reflection, taking the top spot as well as 4th place.

The evening concluded with a raffle drawing where over 30 fabulous prizes were up for grabs. Spectators, exhibitors and fans lined up around the corner of the main entrance for a chance to meet the evening’s competitors as well as course designer Olaf Petersen Jr., reigning World Cup Champion and Olympian Rich Fellers, and the newly knighted U.S Show Jumping coach, Robert Ridland.

For more information on the Las Vegas National Horse Show, please visit the Blenheim EquiSports website, www.blenheimequisports.com

MORE ONLINE: http://bit.ly/212A_Blen

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