Cork's Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z have won the $130,000 CP Grand Prix in Lexington, USA to make it two from two for Irish riders at the American four-star venue.
Following an opening day win for Kilkenny's Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra (ISH) at the CP National Horse Show in Kentucky, Sweetnam added to Irish success with victory at the same venue in the early hours of this morning.
American Katie Dinan and The Irish Sport Horse Dougie Douglas took third place on the podium.
Sweetnam guided the Spy Coast Farm-owned 10-year-old stallion Chaqui Z to victory, posting the fastest double clear round (38.13) when first to go in the 11 horse jump-off.
When asked if he was expecting to win the class, Sweetnam replied, "No, absolutely not. I was pretty tight everywhere. I wasn't galloping fast or taking big risks. So when I came out of the ring, I thought maybe top four or something like that but everything seemed to work out. Today was my day.
"I show here at the Kentucky Horse Park all summer so it's great to win here," continued Sweetnam. "Chaqui Z's a great stallion. We haven't competed much together, but we've always been consistent. It's great to win a class like this."
Course designer Michel Vaillancourt built a technical first-round track with a tight time-allowed, where only 11 combinations cleared all 13 obstacles with no time faults.
Only five would go on to master Vaillancourt's short course with no penalties.
"I did a turn from fences two to three in the first round - I think I was the only one who did it because I thought I was going to have a time fault if I would have stayed around so I had to do something about it," said Sweetnam.
"The slower horses did struggle unless they did something different like turning back on the last line. If they stayed wide they were always going to be in trouble. The combinations took a little bit of riding. The last line was causing problems. I have a good horse; I was most concerned with the time."
As Sweetnam kicked off the tiebreaker with a blazing fast and clear effort, fellow Irishman and winner of Wednesday's $35,000 Welcome Speed Class, Richie Moloney, aboard Equinimity LLC's Carrabis Z, produced the next clear round to move into second place in 46.57 seconds.
Moloney would eventually take fifth place but last to go in the jump-off was Katie Dinan (USA) and The Irish Sport Horse Dougie Douglas, owned by Grant Road Partners LLC.