Molly Ashe-Cawley and Carissimo scored a comeback victory in the $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, presented by Longines, at the 39th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show on Friday, August 29. Their jump-off time of 43.80 seconds defeated Karen Polle, representing Japan, on With Wings (44.38) and Ronan McGuigan, representing Ireland, on Capall Zidane (46.99).
In 2012, Carissimo, a 14-year-old gelding, pulled off his right front shoe while making a turn in the jump-off for the Sunday $250,000 grand prix, causing him to nearly fall at a jump. Ashe-Cawley (of Wellington, Florida) then sold him to current owner Olivia Jack, who took over the showing duties until she left for college at New York University this month. Her departure left Ashe-Cawley reunited with Carissimo just in time for the Hampton Classic.
The 2012 mishap “was a bummer because he was going so well. But he was spectacular out here today-he couldn’t have gone any better,” Ashe-Cawley said, noting that she’s looking forward to Sunday’s $250,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, presented by Land Rover, because Carissimo “just loves this ring. Today’s jump-off course was perfectly suited to him-with the long gallops between fences and no tight, rollback turns-and I hope it’s the same on Sunday.”
Ashe-Cawley said she thought McGuigan didn’t go as fast as he could on Capall Zidane, but she doubts he’ll make that mistake again on Sunday. “Ronan took a little bit off his kamikaze style today, probably because I was behind him and he thought he had me, because I don’t usually go that fast. So he left the door open for me, and I’m glad he did, because it’s been a long time since I’ve been in the victory circle for jumpers,” she said, pointing out that she was especially thrilled with the Conquest Sport Timepiece prize she received from Longines, the presenting sponsor. She recalled that eight years ago she won his and hers watches for winning the grand prix in Dublin, Ireland, and she gave them to her grooms as a thank-you presents. “But I’m not doing that again. I’m definitely holding on to this watch!” Ashe-Cawley added.
The race for the $30,000 Longines Leading Rider Award tightened up as a result of this class, where the points for placing were multiplied by 1.5. Leader Darragh Kenny earned no points after receiving a four-fault penalty in the first round. He still leads, though, with 208 points.
But Richie Moloney and Shane Sweetnam both made the jump-off, with Moloney finishing fourth to bring his second-place total to 200 points. Sweetnam is third (177.5), with Jeffery Welles fourth (115). With just the 75 points she earned today, Ashe-Cawley is eighth.