Paul O'Shea Flies to First and Second in $132,000 Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Grand Prix CSI 3*

Oct 28, 2018 - 2:02 AM

For Immediate Release

Mill Spring, NC – October 27, 2018 – Paul O’Shea (IRL) flew straight to the top in the $132,000 Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Grand Prix CSI 3* in a time of 36.532 seconds on the short course aboard Skara Glen’s Presence, a 2008 Holsteiner gelding (Contendro x Nekton) owned by Skara Glen Stables. O’Shea also landed in second place aboard Imerald Van’t Voorhof, a 2008 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Emerald Van’t Ruytershof x Bacardi-Orange De Muze) owned by Tequestrian Farms, LLC, with a time of 37.094 seconds. Todd Minikus (USA) piloted Amex Z, a 2009 Zangersheide mare (Andiamo Z x Landaris) owned by Bit by Bit Group, to third after a 37.312 second performance in Tryon Stadium at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC).

379_1123O’Shea and Skara Glen’s Presence

Mexico’s Manuel Esparza set the stage for a competitive jump-off on a track that tested both long gallops and tight turns, which O’Shea complimented. “The course rode well. Obviously, I’m happy with how it went. It was a very nice track and a very nice result with eight clear in the first round. I think it was a really good course,” he continued. “They’re both very good horses and they’ve been going really well. They’re used to this level, now, too – even though they’re both ten, they’re both still a little inexperienced.”


379_1173O’Shea and Imerald Van’t Voorhof

After achieving a string of second place finishes in FEI classes for the past few weeks at Tryon, O’Shea was thrilled to step to the top of the podium and finish his season strong, especially against stiff competition.

379_1116Minikus and Amex Z

“Going into the jump off, Todd was in the lead, and he’s one of the fastest riders in the world without a doubt. Kent was last, who is one of the fastest in the world without a doubt, too, and so there was no point not to go as fast as we could,” he explained.

37901209Alongside O’Shea and Minikus in their presentation ceremony: Scott Carr, Vice President of Commercial Business & Properties at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport; Kevin Howell, Senior Vice President and COO of Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport; and Sharon Decker, COO of Tryon Resort.

“Maybe to the second fence I saved some time and I think I did eight strides to number three. I think Todd did nine, so I think that’s where I got him. Otherwise we were quite even,” elaborated O’Shea. O’Shea praised both his mounts for being brave, scopey and willing partners. “Presence has a very big stride and he’s very uphill, which is helpful of course, and he’s very brave. He never hesitates and you can turn him back. He’ll always try. Imerald has a massive stride as well, and is quite similar. He’s very uphill and light to ride and very scopey.”

37901205José Andres Baldez was presented with the Absorbine® Groom’s Award for his care and dedication to both Skara Glen’s Presence and Imerald Van’t Voorhof.

After a successful fall season at Tryon, O’Shea plans to give both his mounts some well-earned time off before heading to Florida for the winter. “They’ll start back in WEF again and do some smaller classes and build back up. When I start them back I’ll see how they feel, rather than say they’ll jump week two at the Grand Prix, if they need smaller classes to build back up we’ll take it week by week.”

Todd Minikus and Amex Z Conquer $35,000 1.45m Tryon Resort Speed Stake CSI 3*

The $35,000 1.45m Tryon Resort Speed Stake CSI 3* was a breeze for the USA’s Todd Minikus and Bit by Bit Group’s Amex Z, stopping the timers in 58.03 seconds to claim top honors Saturday morning ahead of their podium finish Saturday night. Their closest competitor, Rowan Willis (AUS) and Italian Gold van de Kruishoeve, a 2008 Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Samantha Buirs, put in a 61.68 second dash to take second, while Samuel Parot (CHI) and the Stransky’s Mission Farms, Inc. entry Thriller P, a 2004 Swedish Warmblood stallion (Cardento x Lucky Light), rounded out the podium in third, clearing the course in 64.55 seconds.

387_3325Todd Minikus and Amex Z

“It was a nice class. There were a couple speed demons out there and I felt fortunate to be able to nip them. There were a couple lines where you had the option of five or six strides and it’s easy for that mare to do the leave-out stride, so I think that’s where I got them,” Minikus posited. “They were doing six and I could do five. There were a couple rollbacks where it looked like I was inside for their footprints, too, so it worked out.”Minikus and the 2009 Zangersheide mare (Andiamo Z x Landaris) have been together for about a year, so he was confident that she could tackle the course easily, Minikus explained.

387_3339Todd Minikus and Amex Z in their presentation ceremony.

“Well, somehow I end up with the same type of personality with the mares that I have in my life, so you gotta be on your tippy toes, a bit, and they’re sensitive, let’s say,” Minikus revealed of his mount who was anything but tiptoeing around the course for the win.

Exceptional Win for Freddie Vazquez and Exceptional in $25,000 Hunter Spectacular

Freddie Vazquez of Mettawa, IL, and Exceptional were just that in the $25,000 Hunter Spectacular 3’/3’3″/3’6″/3’9″/4′ hosted in the U.S. Trust Arena at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), dominating a field of 18 entries to finish on a score of 174 after two rounds. Rush Weeden of Lake Forest, IL, and Glory Days Farm LLC’s Upstate, a 2009 Belgian Warmblood gelding (Rubens Du Ri D’asse D’ x Radieuse de Jochri) claimed reserve honors with their two-round score of 164, while Vick Russell of Columbus, NC, was recognized for his efforts aboard his own Tall Paul, a 2008 Westphalian gelding by Lupicor, and their third-place score of 163.

387_3832Vazquez and Exceptional

“Normally, my wife Jodi rides him in the First Year Hunter Division, but she actually went to Kentucky this week, so I took the ride over today. I’ve ridden him three times – the third time being today. I’m very grateful for the ride.”Vazquez and the 2011 Warmblood gelding, owned by Chloe Watrous, are a new pairing, but easily handled both rounds set by course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), earning a score of 86 in the first round. Exceptional is a new ride for the Vazquez family, he admitted, but even more so for himself.

Formerly owned by Todd Minikus, Vazquez believes Exceptional is “probably the nicest hunter I’ve ever sat on.” He explained, “He’s just light, agile, scopey, straight, and naturally jumps beautifully and carefully. He’s currently leading the First Years in the country, as well as the derby standings nationwide.” Vazquez continued, “We’re very grateful to Todd for allowing us to get our hands on him. I think he’s a very special horse and he wants to win. You can tell, you walk into the ring and he wants to win just as much as I do and he’s a sweet horse on top of it!”

With a course featuring long bending lines, Vazquez credited the designer for a challenging, but fair test for the venue. “The course was super nice. Firstly, being at Tryon is always very special and riding in the same arena used for WEG is very fun. It’s a big ring, so I was expecting some long lines. As a rider when you see long lines, those are harder to hit than a five, six, or seven stride line sometimes. For those long, bending nines or tens you really have to be on your rhythm, understand your horse,” Vazquez elaborated.

“I think the second course suited Exceptional a little bit better,” Vazquez remarked. “He’s a little bit of what I call a lefty – he likes to land on his left lead and that first broken line was on the right lead. He landed left and just held it beautifully. I didn’t feel a lead change would have been appropriate in the middle of that line, so for me not knowing the horse super well, I knew I had to hold that left lead and I didn’t want it to look awkward. It needed to look soft and elegant and luxurious, and once I got through that part, I knew that if everything just kept showing up the way that I wanted it and if I stayed in my rhythm, I knew we’d have a shot.”

Exceptional will continue in the First Year Hunter Division, as well as continue his career in the Children’s Hunter/Junior Hunter Divisions with owner Chloe Watrous. Vazquez emphasized that the gelding’s talent will continue to be shared on the derby field as well. “Chloe rides him right now in the 3′ Children’s Hunters and she’ll do him in the 3’3″ Junior Hunters starting in Florida. It’s about matching her and continuing his success professionally and continuing his derby career.”

“I think he’s a very, very special horse for that world, and people really enjoy watching him. His jump is just freaky. I think we have to give that to the sport and not cheat him out of that, so Derby Finals are definitely something we’re looking forward to with him,” he concluded.

For full results from the $25,000 Hunter Spectacular 3’/3’3″/3’6″/3’9″/4′, click here.

For full results from the $35,000 1.45m Tryon Resort Speed Stake CSI 3*, click here.

For full results from the $132,000 Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport Grand Prix CSI 3*, click here.

Tryon Fall 5 CSI 3* sponsored by Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport competition concludes Sunday, October 28, highlighting the $25,000 Sunday Classic in Tryon Stadium beginning at 12:30pm. The Tryon Fall Series presented by Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport concludes Sunday, October 28, after featuring four weeks of international and national hunter, jumper, and equitation competition. For more information on TIEC, please visit

Photo Credit ©Sportfot. These photos may only be used once in relation to this press release with proper credit.

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