Just as they did on Friday when winning the Wellington Nations’ Cup, Irish riders stamped their class all over proceedings at Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre in Florida when taking the top two places in tonight’s Lugano Diamonds $216,000 Grand Prix.
Shane Sweetnam guided Chaqui Z home in 41.796 to shoot to the top midway through the seventeen-horse jump-off, and only second-last to go Conor Swail on Rubens LS La Silla came close to catching him, having to settle for second place by just two-hundredths of a second.
No one else got clear inside 43 seconds, with USA’s Ali Wolff and Casall, who had led until Sweetnam’s arrival, holding onto third in a time of 43.026.
It could have been even better for the Irish as Cian O’Connor was heading for a share of the top placings until his fine run of double-clears with Seringat came to an end with a late pole down in their jump-off round.
Tonight was the third time this week Sweetnam had been a winner at the Florida arena, having won the Ruby et Violette Challenge with Cobolt on Thursday before Friday’s Nations’ Cup win, leading to him being crowned Leading Rider of the week.