Uma O’Neill held her breath as the final horses jumped the first round of the $145,000 CSI4*-W Longines FEI Jumping World Cup in Langley, presented by Facet Advisors, and she did not exhale until final competitor Eduardo Menezes (BRA) pulled a rail. Then, she was exuberant.
O’Neill, 23, from the U.S.A. and Clockwise of Greenhill Z won the class as the only pair to produce a clear first round. She and the 11-year-old Zangersheide stallion did not have to jump-off and recorded the first World Cup qualifying victory of their respective careers Sunday.
“I’m ecstatic,” O’Neill said. “I just went out and gave it everything I could today, and asked a little bit extra of myself and my horse, and it really paid off.”
Defending champion Conor Swail of Ireland and Rubens La Silla, who also won Thursday’s $75,000 CSI4*-W Maui Jim Welcome, finished second. Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado of Mexico and Tino la Chapelle finished third.
O’Neill excelled with a superior effort from her mount, who fought through the challenging Longines triple combination and a six-strided line to an oxer that followed. She and her mount jumped second in the field of 30, and their clear round held—albeit with some anxiety for the rider—throughout the remainder of the class.
O’Neill was especially emotional to record her win at tbird, which was where she was when her winning partner was imported four years ago.
“We got him as a seven-year-old,” she said. “We actually got him imported as when we were (at a tbird show) in August. He is such a good stallion. I just love him.”
The emotion was similarly felt by Thunderbird President Jane Tidball, who hosted the World Cup event for the fourth time.
“It’s our 45th anniversary,” she said. “I think my mom and dad, George and Dianne Tidball would be incredibly pleased to have a World Cup event here at Thunderbird—which, we’ve had a very successful one. I always think of them when things go well. I’m sure they are all keeping an eye us down here.”
The North American League continues with the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup New York on Sept. 30.