Karl Cook Best in $8,500 tbird Speed CSI4*-W
Written by CRM
Friday, 23 August 2019 00:00

Karl Cook (USA) came away with the top spot in the $8,500 tbird Speed CSI4*-W, topping a field of 57 aboard E’Special P.S. on the second day of the 2019 Summer Fort Festival at Thunderbird Show Park.

The duo, partnered for three years, made short work of the Peter Holmes (CAN)-designed 1.40m speed track, crossing the timers in 61.92 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) and Katelyn Denby Edwards (USA) finished on identical times of 62.90 seconds to finish second with Gamble and Kalina, respectively, while Ashlee Bond (ISR) finished fourth with 7-year-old homebred Contefina LVF on a time of 63.99 seconds; the duo led for much of the class.

karlcookKarl Cook & E'Special P.S. win the $8,500 tbird Speed CSI4*-W at the Summer Fort Festival. Photo by Kady Dane/tbird

“She jumped super, and the distances turned up really well,” Cook said. “I was planning to go fast, but it wasn’t a leave-it-all-out-there, hell-or-highwater kind of ride. It was a do-it-smart and don’t take an unnecessary risk.”

The class was the day’s feature at tbird, as the venue builds toward Sunday’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Celebrity Cruises—the first leg of the 2019/2020 North American League season. Cook is a previous winner of the class, prevailing in the 2016 edition aboard the now 15-year-old Tembla. E’Special P.S., meanwhile, is a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare whom Cook has taken his time developing.

“She’s quick, and she’s super careful,” Cook said. “We’ve been moving her up really slowly. We’ve been working on her power, and she’s just great to have. She’s an easy keeper, she’s not difficult. Because she’s easy, it makes it fun.

“She’s one of those horses that, even if she doesn’t jump 1.60m, she’s so much fun to have on the team, she raises the spirit of everyone. She’s like the horse version of [my dog] Blueberry.”

Swail, who also finished third in Wednesday’s $75,000 CSI4*-W tbird Challenge, took a crack at the lead aboard newer mount Gamble, an 8-year-old, leaving out strides at will. But the less experienced gelding, showing off his scope, spent a little extra time in the air to check in with the runner-up spot. Last to jump in the robust field, Denby Edwards also gave great chase and came within a second to the leading time, ultimately equaling Swail’s mark. While not focusing on leaving on strides, Cook credited his win to his horse’s quick footspeed and riding an efficient, carefully planned track.

“There weren’t many places between the fences to make up the time, because you had to do a certain number of strides more or less,” he said, “or we didn’t want to leave out a stride, so there were only a few places to make up time.

“It was, be quick, be efficient, ride the track correctly, and hope you came out on a positive.”
The third and final week of the tbird Summer Series culminates with the Summer Fort Festival CSI4*-W, featuring six international classes. Competition continues Friday, Aug. 23 (5:00 p.m.) with the $75,000 CSI4*-W Volvo Cup and the $15,000 CSI4*-W Maui Jim Winning Round on Saturday, Aug. 24 (2:00 p.m.).

The week concludes on a high note Sunday, Aug. 25 with the feature event, the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Vancouver, presented by Celebrity Cruises. A field of 40 of the week's best performing combinations will congregate to vie for both lucrative prize money and coveted qualifying points for the 2020 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, which will take place in Las Vegas, NV, in April. The event is the first of 14 legs on the 2019/2020 North American League calendar.

Sunday's competition gets underway at 2:00p.m. PT.


Press release provided by Thunderbird Show Park.