Cork’s Shane Sweetnam rounded off a successful week at the five-star show in Calgary Canada on Sunday night with a win in the prestigious Spruce Meadows Derby.
The 30-year-old, riding Spy Coast Farm's Cardento stallion Traffic Boy, was the only rider to go clear in the first round and therefore wasn't required to take part in a jump-off for the $35,000 first prize.
Sweetnam's first round clear became one of only 14 ever recorded in the competition's 19 year history.
Second in the competition with four faults was the USA's Richard Spooner on the celebrated Cristallo, with Britain's Michael Whitaker taking third place with five faults on the Dutch-bred Viking.
Afterwards Sweetnam, who is now Florida-based, said of his horse: ‘He was fantastic. I knew he would be good at it, but I didn’t know if he was going to be that good the first time out.
‘He’s very brave and he wants to be very careful and he covers the ground. I was hoping he’d have a chance. I didn’t realize we’d win it.’
On Saturday the Cork rider had a fifth place in the jump-off class at Spruce Meadows on Saturday with Rolette, and another fifth with the same horse on Friday. He also took a third place with Traffic Boy in Wednesday's big feature class.
Yesterday Sweetnam was confirmed by Team Ireland Equestrian show jumping manager Robert Splaine as part of Ireland's squad for the Aachen Nations' Cup in Germany this week.