LAS VEGAS — Thirty-five rounds of international talent took on German course designer, Olaf Petersen Jr.’s World Cup Qualifying test. Karl Cook finished first and second in the $50,000 Fisker Automotive World Cup Grand Prix.Petersen set a track that was not intimidating as riders perused the course, however it proved to be more difficult than many had anticipated. “After the course walk, 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.” A tough time allowed caught up with the first five rounds, however even after an adjustment, time was still one of the many challenges. The sixteen effort track featured three verticals set at 1.60 meters 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.
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, Cook 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 of Great Britain and her 17-year-old Caballo were able to produce a clear round. The $32,000 Markel Insurance Jumper Classic 20-year-old victor, Sear Coutler, of the USA, guided her winning mount to a blazing fault-free round. Fifteen rounds and several four faulters later, 19-year-old Lucy Davis, of the U.S., and her gelding, Nemo 119, joined the second round group with a clean effort. The final of the five to qualify for the jump-off was Cook on his second mount, Jonkheer Z.
Petersen designed a long, flowing jump-off that demanded riders to cut corners, angle jumps, and gallop between obstacles. Cook came into the final round knowing that all he needed to do for the win was post a fault free effort. He 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 said, “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 horses owned by Signe Ostby.
For more information on the Las Vegas National Horse Show, visit the Blenheim EquiSports web site, showpark.com.