Sweetnam victorious in Florida Grand Prix
Updated: Sunday, 24 Mar 2013 22:10
US-based Cork rider Shane Sweetnam snatched the $33,000 first prize in Sunday's Grand Prix at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida aboard the Irish Sport Horse Solerina.
With just five through to the jump-off from a talented field of 32, Sweetnam and the Kildare-bred Cruising mare took on some of the show's top international riders, and managed to hold off a challenge from France's Marie Hecart and the Selle Francais mare Myself de Breve, who finished in second place, well over a second slower than the Irish combination.
Thirty-two-year-old Sweetnam, who took a third place in Wellington's World Cup Grand Prix last month on Amaretto Darco, recorded one of only two double clear rounds tonight in Florida to claim the Grand Prix trophy.
On Thursday, Solerina also gave the Cork rider a second place in the show's opening competition, while Friday saw Sweetnam claiming third in the day's feature speed class with Cyklon, the two places adding another twelve thousand dollars to his weekend's earnings.
Co Down's Conor Swail placed eleventh in tonight's Grand Prix, riding the mare Martha Louise.