Nicholas Dello Joio Claims JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix Qualifier

April 19. 2024

USA’s Nicholas Dello Joio piloted Cornet’s Cambridge to the top in the $32,000 JTWG, Inc. CSI3* Grand Prix Qualifier during the 2024 ESP Spring Series, presented by Florida Coast Equipment. The week’s international jumper competition returned to the grass derby field at Equestrian Village, home of the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival during the winter season. The Spring Series at Wellington International runs for five weeks as part of the ESP Annual Series and concludes on May 12.

Nicholas Dello Joio & Cornet’s Cambridge, winners of the $32,000 JTWG, Inc. CSI3* Grand Prix Qualifier. Photo © Sportfot

The track, built for fifty- seven horses by Andy Christiansen Jr. (USA), was a testing one with only nine jumping clear and punching their ticket for the tie-breaking jump-off. After three withdrew and opted to save their horses for another day, six returned for the speed test. 

“The time wasn't really the focus,” admitted Dello Joio, who returned first and set the pace at 37.44 seconds. “I made a plan and I actually thought it was a bit slower because the question was the long gallop after the double. In the first round, the sixth was quite short and [Cornet’s Cambridge] has a big stride. With him, it's almost easier if you find the right one and allow him to step up. I was a little wide there, but the rest was very good.”

Cornet’s Cambridge, the 12-year-old Oldenburg son of Balou Reventon, proved to be quick enough, and their time stood through the following five horses. Lillie Keenan (USA) and new mount, Kick On, owned by Chansonette Farm, stopped the clock in 38.59 seconds for the runner-up position. Chile’s Samuel Parot rounded out the podium with his own Chrystal Blue in 41.07 seconds.

Nicholas Dello Joio & Cornet’s Cambridge are presented as winners of the $32,000 JTWG, Inc. CSI3* Grand Prix Qualifier. Photo © Sportfot

Dello Joio’s last big outing with Cornet’s Cambridge was representing U.S. Show Jumping at the 2023 FEI World Cup Finals™ in Omaha, NE, for owner The Berry Group. After that, Dello Joio was sidelined for almost a year undergoing and recovering from double hip and groin surgery as a result of a hip impingement condition. 

“I didn't ride from April to December, so I gave him some time off,” said Dello Joio. “It was a slow time coming back, but he’s so seasoned and it was always our goal to step back up here. 

“Jenni Giannini started with me at the end of WEF last year and I can't say enough about what a good horsewoman she is, and what a good rider she is. She rode my horses the entire time I was off, got them back going after we pulled their shoes and let them rest for a while. She got everything locked up.”

While Dello Joio’s long-term goal for this spring and summer was to be named to the short list for the Olympic Games in Paris, his injury redirected that plan. He will soon relocate to the Coker Farm in Bedford, NY, where his father and U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, Norman, rode and trained. The goals for this summer include stepping Cornet’s Cambridge back up to being competitive on the international stage.

Earlier in the day, Sydney Shulman-Desiderio (ISR) topped the $10,000 Bainbridge Companies Open Jumper Stake at 1.40m riding Eyepop Semilly for owner Capri Truesdale. Closing out the day on the field, Alexa Elle Lignelli of New York, NY, won the BrainJuice Junior/Amateur 1.40m aboard her own XO Cinderella. 

To view full results from Friday at ESP Spring III, please click HERE

Owen Gajoch, John French Score Derby Wins at Wellington International

It was derby day for professionals, juniors and amateurs in the International Arena at Wellington International on Friday. Robert McGregor (USA) set the courses for a field of 43 in the “hunt-and-go” format class, which saw John French and Owen Gajoch take wins.

Owen Gajoch & Vietti, winners of the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Bainbridge Companies, for juniors and amateurs. Photo © Sportfot

In the $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Bainbridge Companies, for juniors and amateurs, Owen Gajoch of Columbus, OH, combined scores of 89 and 88 to take a victory on his own Vietti, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Toulon.

John French & Incognito $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby, presented by Bainbridge Companies, for professionals. Photo @ Sportfot

In the professional ranks, French, hailing from Wellington, FL, matched the top scores of 89 and 88 to take top call riding Incognito, a 10-year-old Anglo-European Sporthorse gelding Twister de la Pomme owned by Joan K. Burke.

Alliyah Antoniadis & In My Shoes, winners of the 2'6"/2'9" National Hunter Derby, presented by Valley Vet Supply. Photo © Sportfot

Continuing derby action, Alliyah Antoniadis of Loxahatchee, FL, won the 2'6"/2'9" National Hunter Derby, presented by Valley Vet Supply, riding In My Shoes, owned by Brooke Ridberg.

Kenzie Smith & On Tour, winners of the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Photo © Sportfot

Pony hunters also had their chance at derby points in the $1,500 USHJA Pony Hunter Derby. Kenzie Smith of Shoreham, NY, swept the top two positions, winning aboard On Tour, owned by Charlotte Kelly, and second riding Won Wish for Rivers Edge.

Hunter competition continues during ESP Spring III as amateur and junior hunters finalize their division standings in the International Arena at Wellington International. 

To view a complete list of hunter champions from ESP Spring III, please click HERE.