CORK'S Shane Sweetnam capped an excellent weekend at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, by scoring a runner-up finish in the $214,000 Premier Equestrian four-star Grand Prix while he was also crowned leading Irish rider of Nations Cup week at the American venue.
Sweetnam was riding his gold medal winning mount from the 2017 European Championships, Chaqui Z, and crossed the line clear in the eight horse jump-off, stopping the clock in 38.29 seconds to finish half-a-second behind Brazilian winner Rodrigo Lambre with Catover.
“I was delighted with him. This is only his first time that he’s shown here this year, and it’s only his first real big class,” said Sweetnam when speaking about Chaqui Z.
“He felt great, and I think his jump-off was excellent. Even though he’s 14, he feels like he’s eight. So, I’m really happy with where he is at the moment.”
Sweetnam also received the Niall Grimes Perpetual Trophy as the leading Irish rider during Nations Cup week – the third year in-a-row that Sweetnam has taken the award.