December 24, 2013–Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) hosted its Holiday Festival III this weekend on December 20-22, 2013, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL. The competition featured National ‘A’ rated hunter and 4* jumper competition, including a $10,000 Open Jumper Stake and a $25,000 Holiday III Grand Prix.
The $25,000 Holiday III Grand Prix was the highlight event of the weekend, held on Sunday afternoon in the International Arena at PBIEC. Jumping a track set by Mexico’s Anna Catalina Harris Cruz, 47 entries contested the first round course, and 10 advanced to the jump-off with three double clear rounds. Second to jump-off, Ireland’s Paul O’Shea and Primo de Revel, owned by Michael Hayden, had the fastest round of the day in 35.029 seconds that could not be beat.
Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Goldrush, owned by Alexander LLC, finished second in 35.943 seconds. Jimmy Torano (USA) and Ben Maher’s Dolores MB placed third with their time of 38.655 seconds. Alex Granato (USA) was fast with Paige Tredennick’s Zenith Dance in 35.173 seconds, but the pair had one rail down in the jump-off to finish fourth.
Paul O’Shea has had a phenomenal year with Primo de Revel, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Quinault x Lys de Darmen. Sunday’s win marked the pair’s fifth grand prix victory of the season, adding to their wins in the $25,000 ESP Spring III Grand Prix in April, the $75,000 Equine Insurance Services/Great American Great Prix of Lake Placid in June, the $75,000 Equestrian Estates Planning Group Grand Prix at Silver Oak in August, and the $25,000 ESP Fall III Grand Prix in Wellington in October.
O’Shea was excited to get another win this week and see his top horse continue to perform consistently. “He just knows his job, and he always does the right thing,” the rider remarked. “He is good everywhere. It doesn’t matter where he goes, he just has a great mind.”
O’Shea and Primo de Revel were second to go in the jump-off out of 10 and stuck to their plan on course. “I saw the first rider go, but I just did what I had decided and everything came up good,” O’Shea explained. “I think we all did the same thing. The main difference was the last fence. The fence was in the corner, very close to the stands, and we were coming at it at a little bit of an angle. It was a little bit difficult, but it actually helped me because we went down there quite fast and it kind of backed him up, so he gave a really good jump over it.”
O’Shea has been riding Primo de Revel for nearly seven years and has a great relationship with the horse in and out of the ring. “We have been friends a long time now,” O’Shea acknowledged. “He is like the stable pet. He is like having a dog around the place. He is very quiet. He is just a real gentleman, and he is very easy to do everything with.”
At home or at the show, Primo de Revel is a class act with a simple training routine. “He is just really straightforward,” O’Shea said. “He really knows his job. Everything kind of came naturally to him, so we don’t do much. Most of the time I don’t even jump him at home. You don’t need to train him because he just goes, and he just does everything. We focus on keeping him fit, keeping him happy, and keeping him interested. He goes in the field everyday. Nothing stresses him out. He is very laid back.”
Primo de Revel will conclude a fantastic season with one more night class, competing in two weeks in the $25,000 ESP Holiday Finale Grand Prix on Saturday, January 4, at 7 p.m. O’Shea then plans to give the horse a well-deserved break and only work him lightly throughout the winter, gearing up to show again in the spring.
Final Results: $25,000 Holiday Festival III Grand Prix
1. PRIMO DE REVEL PAUL O’SHEA MICHAEL HAYDEN: 0/0/35.029
2. GOLDRUSH DARRAGH KENNY ALEXANDER LLC: 0/0/35.943
3. DOLORES MB JIMMY TORANO BEN MAHER: 0/0/38.655
4. ZENITH DANCE ALEX GRANATO PAIGE TREDENNICK: 0/4/35.173
5. BON GIORNO BRYN SADLER SHOWCASE 81 LLC: 0/4/38.591
6. LAZARO JORDAN COYNE JORDAN COYNE: 0/4/38.857
7. TITUS 2:11 JARED PETERSEN DEREK PETERSEN: 0/4/40.345
8. CATUNGEE CHRISTOPH SCHROEDER CHRISTOPH SCHROEDER: 0/4/40.714
9. VALINSKI S MICHAEL DORMAN WYNDMONT: 0/4/40.926
10. CROSSFIRE 10 EMANUEL ANDRADE HOLLOW CREEK FARM: 0/12/46.823
11. AL CALYPSO JORGE MATTE JORGE MATTE: 1/74.055
12. OCTAVIA DE BEAUFOUR GRANT WILSON EMMANUELLE MILLE: 4/70.368