Brazilian Luiz Francisco de Azevedo pipped Ireland’s Richie Moloney in Wednesday’s $35,000 Douglas Elliman 1m45 speed class at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida on a horse that had been destined for slaughter.

Moloney had set a testing pace of 65.40 on Alsvid when fourth to go over the course designed by Richard Jeffrey, and was only outdone by the Brazilian on Collin, who pared 0.35 of a second off the Irish rider’s effort.

None of the remainder of the field got within a second of the top two, with third place going to American Peter Leone on Wayfarer in 66.84.

De Azevedo’s horse, 10 year-old Collin, was saved from the slaughterhouse by a friend of the winning rider in 2014. “Two and a half years ago nobody wanted this horse,” said the Brazilian. “He was really wild and difficult to ride. He was seven years old and had never done a show in his life. Now he is my second horse and I am really lucky to have him.”

When taken to his first show, Collin did not disappoint. “He jumped the first day 1.30m clear, the second day 1.35m clear and the third day 1.40m clear in the first show of his life. We bought him for nothing. It’s so unbelievable.”

While thankful to his friend for stepping in to acquire Collin, de Azevedo gives most of the credit to the horse. “It is him. I just gave him a chance to arrive. The quality is in the horse.”

Mike Dunne

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