Shane Sweetnam secured a commanding victory at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup in Lexington © Getty Images

Shane Sweetnam, born in Cork (Ireland), has spent the last decade at a summer residence in Lexington, near where she achieved a triumph in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup at the Alltech Arena this weekend. 

The win was highly significant. Surpassing an 11-horse jump-off with family present, Sweetnam claimed a long-awaited victory in the event, marking her first triumph in the World Cup. Accompanying her atop the podium was 10-year-old James Kann Cruz.

Daniel Bluman (ISR) clinched second place, defending his title from the previous edition aboard Gemma W. It marks Bluman's third consecutive podium appearance. Third place went to Devin Ryan (USA) riding Eddie Blue, mirroring the same position he secured in Washington (USA).

"Winning this class is very important. For me, it was always one I wanted to win," declared the victor. Sweetnam took the lead in the first round, while James Kann Cruz displayed brilliant power and reach. In the jump-off, this might have cost precious time on the clock, but it also allowed Sweetnam to take more risks in her course. The pair returned in fourth place in an 11-horse jump-off, standing out with a couple of strides and a bold turn back to the combination towards the end of the course. When James Kann Cruz slipped, it left the horse not even a stride to judge the obstacle. Nevertheless, he cleared it with ease. James Kann Cruz has always had the qualities of a championship horse, and contributed to an effort that secured a silver medal for Ireland in the 2023 European Championships (ITA). Maneuvering jump-offs at high speed has been the next stage in the gelding's development.

Sweetnam navigated the course with her son Collin, while her wife Ali and daughters Olivia and Lucy were present at the event.