Tom Foley and Beluga. Photos: ©BarryKosterPhotography.
Mill Spring, NC – July 1, 2015 – Competition at Tryon Summer 2 began today with a strong showing by Ireland’s Tom Foley aboard 2005 Swedish Warmblood mare, Beluga, owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC. The duo kicked off the week with a win in the $34,000 1.50m Speed Stake hosted at Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), the first of three FEI classes to be held throughout the duration of the competition week. Tryon Summer 2 will continue through Sunday, July 5, with festivities beginning at 6pm for the Fourth of July holiday on Saturday. The entire four-week Tryon Summer Series will conclude on July 19.
Foley and Beluga dashed to an exciting finish as the last pair on the Hector Loyola (PRI) designed course, which saw 39 contestants. Several pairs hit the 60-second mark, but Foley’s 59.56 was just enough to top the class. Riding last in the order was an advantage for Foley, as he had watched and planned the route he knew could secure the win. Sarah Segal (USA) and Cantara 59 led for most of the class, with a time of 60.061 seconds. Fellow Irishman Lorcan Gallagher and Esquina Van Klapscheut collected third place, stopping the timers in 60.145 seconds.
“When we walked the course I thought it looked very good. It was a nice course. I knew it was going to be a fast and hard test. There were a lot of people going in front of me in the class that were going to go fast,” commented Foley. “I have a great horse. I have to thank Shane Sweetnam for giving me the ride and to Lisa Lourie, the owner of Spy Coast Farm, for supporting me. It’s been great to have these kinds of opportunities and I’m so grateful.”
Foley and Sweetnam have both been competitive aboard Beluga, with Foley campaigning the mare through the fall season and at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL this past winter. Sweetnam competed Beluga at TIEC during the Tryon Spring Series, where the duo collected several top three finishes, including a third place finish in the 1.45m Challenge at Tryon Spring 7 and a first place in the $3,000 1.40m Open Jumper at Tryon Spring 8.
“I rode her last fall and into the winter before one of our clients began competing her at WEF. Shane took on the ride after and when he was here at Tryon a few weeks ago, he asked me to compete her again when he headed to Spruce Meadows,” explained Foley of the mare’s experienced background. “I was delighted and it’s worked out great. She’s a phenomenal mare and I’m excited to see where we can go from here.”
The athletic mare excels in the larger speed classes, which Foley will continue to contest throughout the week. With a strong line-up of horses slated to compete at TIEC in the coming weeks, Foley is hoping to translate the momentum from his win today into a week of top results.
“After today, I’d like to piece together some good wins throughout the rest of the week. Right now, that type of consistency is exactly what we’re looking for,” said Foley. “My ultimate goal is to get out there and start winning the big Grand Prix classes, like ones here on a Saturday night. I’m focused on working hard to get to that point and wins like today are a big motivation.”
Foley’s first time at TIEC marked a win in his first ever class at the venue. With strong start in hand, Foley is looking forward to continuing his season at TIEC and what the venue will bring to the sport in the years to come.
“This is my first time here and it’s just a fantastic facility. I think when everything is completed it’s going to be one of the best facilities in the world. I’m really glad that we are spending time here and will make sure to take advantage of everything this place has to offer,” he remarked.
FEI competition at TIEC continues tomorrow with the $34,000 Suncast®1.45m Welcome in the George H. Morris Arena at Tryon Stadium. The $127,000 Ariat® Grand Prix will begin at 8pm on Saturday, July 4, with an array of family fun and entertainment beginning at 6pm. For a full list of results and weekly schedule, please visit www.tryon.com.
About Tryon International Equestrian Center
The Tryon International Equestrian Center is destined to become one of the premier centers in the equestrian world. This new facility opened in June 2014 with sanctioned horse shows and initial supporting amenities including 10 riding arenas, 850 permanent stalls, a covered riding facility and fitness center. Future expansion includes a sports complex, two hotels, sporting clay course, and an 18-hole golf course plus a full calendar of equestrian competitions and activities. It is a spring, summer and fall haven for eastern and northeastern American equestrian competitors and enthusiasts. For more information, call 828-863-1000 or visit www.tryon.com.