By Catie Staszak
Salvador Onate (MEX) had a few anxious moments, but luck was on his side when he rode Big Red to victory in the $1,900,000 (~$100,000 U.S.) Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Guadalajara (MEX) on Saturday.
Onate, the first to keep all of the jumps up over Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) challenging first round track, originally picked up a single time fault, crossing the timers in 79.60 seconds—six-tenths of a second over the original 79-second time allowed. However, the time was eventually adjusted to 81 seconds, securing Onate’s place in the jump-off.
Jumping first over the shortened track, Onate picked up a rail, but his 42.66-second time held again. With no double-clear performances, he came away with the win over Spain’s Paola Amilibia and VIP (4/46.49 seconds). Simon Nizri (ISR) and D Amour From Second Life Z finished third (4/47.71), with Andres Torres Hernandez (MEX) and Chabacon (8/51.89) taking fourth as the only other pair to qualify for the jump-off.
“I knew there weren’t going to be many clear rounds, and when I had the time fault, I felt very bad for myself—because it’s a rider’s fault; not the horse,” Onate said. “Then, they switched the time, and I got into the jump-off. I was lucky today, all the way.”
The victory marked Onate and Big Red’s first in World Cup competition. The rider credited his quick reaction to pick up the pace in the jump-off as his key to victory.
“It’s kind of a disadvantage to be the first one to go in [in the jump-off],” he said. “I just wanted to go as fast as I could. I knew there were fast riders. As soon as I had one rail, I knew that I had to go very fast. That’s what I did, and it worked.”
The League is Back
The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League is back underway after a two-month hiatus. Guadalajara acted as the penultimate qualifier of the west-coast sub league; the final west coast event will take place in Leon (MEX), new to the League in 2019, on 9 February 2019.
The North American League continues next on the east coast. The Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Wellington gets underway 03 February 2019 at 1:00pm ET.
1. Big Red, Salvador Onate (MEX) 0/4 42/66
2. VIP, Paola Amilibia (ESP) 0/4 46.49
3. D Amour From Second Life Z, Simon Nizri (ISR) 0/4 47.71
Full results can be viewed here:
Standings for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League — West Coast can be viewed here
Standings for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League — East Coast can be viewed here
Salvador Onate (MEX) – 1st
“[Big Red] is just super smart. He wants to go clear. He’s been ridden by many of the best [riders], but it’s funny; this was the first time he’s ever won a grand prix!”
Paola Amilibia (ESP) — 2nd
“[VIP] was a very good young horse in France. My husband bought him for himself, but he had too much attitude, I would say. So, he decided he would be a better match for me. We made a few changes in barn, and I got the chance to ride him. It wasn’t perfect match, of course. At first, we were a little bit of enemies, but we became friends, and then we became boyfriend and girlfriend, and now we can get engaged!”
Simon Nizri (ISR) — 3rd
“‘D Amour’ is a young horse. This is the first time she’s jumped 1.60m. She’s a wonderful mare with a great attitude. I love her.”
“We’re building her up. I have great expectations for this horse. Hopefully one day, we can show around world and do well with her.”