Karl Cook Flies Home in the CSI2* Grand Prix at Split Rock Jumping Tour

Karl Cook and Fecybelle flew to win the $100,000 1.45m FEI Grand Prix Presented by Horseflight.
Credit : Winslow Photography

Monday 09 September - 03h45 | Press release

Karl Cook Flies Home in the CSI2* Grand Prix at Split Rock Jumping Tour

Earlier in the week, Karl Cook won the CaptiveOne FEI Welcome class on Fecybelle, and mentioned that his goal was really to prepare for the big class on Sunday. His preparation paid off in the culminating class as he and the bay mare flew home, cutting corners in their turns, to take the top spot in the $100,000 1.45m FEI Grand Prix Presented by Horseflight at Split Rock Jumping Tour's Sonoma International CSI2* in Petaluma, CA. The class was the culmination of a week of show jumping competition at the Sonoma Horse Park.

Cook was pleased with his ride, even if it wasn't exactly what he had planned. "When you win, you can say it went the way you wanted," he said with a laugh. "But, in the jump-off I didn't ride exactly the plan that we had set out; between two and three I added a stride and to the last fence I added another stride.

"She's still a new mare and I'm still getting used to her a little bit," he continued. "In retrospect, I could have fit it in. Other than the two lines she was tight, she was fast, fences were on the angles and going, and I left out a stride to the second to last (fence). It's still getting to know her, getting to know what I can do. With some horses, if I turn it up to that stride, then I have a rail. So, it's kind of getting used to some of that stuff with her."
Ten horses out of 51 starters over Alan Wade's 13-jump course made it to the jump-off, with Cook and Fecybelle going third to last. The first horse in the ring in both rounds was Mr. Europe, ridden by Karrie Rufer, who set the bar early with a clean round in a time of 36.680. Keri Potter and Ariell La Sirene came the closest in the early going, with a clean round in a time of 37.960, but when Cook flashed through the timers he had left all the rails up in a time of 36.370. The last few riders failed to leave all the rails up, giving Cook the victory with Rufer second and Potter third.
"I knew the (first-round) course was more of a test of how you can ride the right track for your horse, rather than something you needed a superstar horse for. You needed to ride accurately for what would help the way your horse is and I think you saw that with people where they came with too much canter or too little canter and they paid the price," Cook said. "The time allowed wasn't super tight so you didn't have to take chances there, so I thought there was absolutely a possibility (of a big jump-off). I just try to focus on what I have to do.
"I mean, you always hope for a smaller jump-off, so you feel confident you can do well," he continued with a laugh. "But, it's always more fun when you get a competition where you have to go. Even if you have a lower chance of winning, it's fun. We get excited to show, you want to feel like you've earned it."
Cook has only had Fecybelle since April, but she's already proving herself a strong addition to his stable. He says the trick now is to continue to take his time to solidify their partnership.
"She will come with us to all the shows we're going to on the west coast. I don't think we'll do the World Cup qualifier classes, but we'll do the Friday classes until we get to know her," he said. "I need to learn her, she needs to learn me and we need to figure things out together. She's been doing super and consistent and that's great, but at the same time you can't get greedy. Like, 'she's doing great, let's keep going up,' until the wheels start falling off the wagon. You have to take a step back and make sure you don't get greedy."
Earlier in the day, Nick Dello Joio put his week as a bridesmaid with Catemaco LS behind him with a decisive win in the $5,000 Animo Youngster Bowl, for 7-and 8-year-old horses. The 7-year-olds jumped 1.30m, while the 8-year-olds jumped 1.40m.
Eric Navet of France aboard the 7-year-old Crème De Lu held off four others in the jump-off, before Dello Joio, going last, bested his time on the 8-year-old by nearly a full second. Eric Lawler and For Gold finished in third.
"We've had him since the beginning of his 7-year-old year; he's great, he's quirky and a heck of a jumper, but he's green for his age," Dello Joio said. "He's had a couple of unfortunate setbacks-he did a split on the hotwalker with his front legs, which is like a one in a million-so we didn't get to show him much in Florida and then he was amazing at Spruce Meadows, he went right out there with no real experience and jumped the youngster tour there, which was big and demanding and he came out a way more mature horse. He's fresh and he's had great mileage here this week. I'm thrilled with him."
Catamaco LS has been second twice this week in other classes, and Dello Joio finished second with another mount in another class, so he was thrilled to finally be on top. "I thought he was the best today," he said.  "He can be a bit of a tense horse and I thought today he was actually the most relaxed. Yesterday he should have won and then we had the last jump down with the fastest time in the jump-off. It was my mistake, but today he was just a little more settled."
Also concluding in ring 1 Sunday morning was the $7,500 Horseflight 1.40m Junior/Amateur final, which saw Maggie Kehring and Cole Haan taking the top spot over Katelyn Denby Edwards on Cetello and Laura Hite riding Solos Concept.  There were five horses in the jump-off with no clean rounds, but Kehring's time of 37.990 was two seconds faster than Edwards'.

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