Salvador Onate and Big Red. (FEI/Anwar Esquivel)
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.
“Big Red is super smart…. He’s been ridden by many of the best, but it’s funny – this was the first time he’s ever won a grand prix!” — Salvador Onate (MEX)
“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.”
By Catie Staszak
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