Sinead Fennelly and Viktor N Victorious in $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at Lamplight Spring Classic III
Wayne, Ill. – May 26, 2023 – Smooth turns and a brilliant jump were the keys to successes for Sinead Fennelly and her hunter-turned-jumper Viktor N during Friday’s $5,000 USHJA National Hunter Derby at HITS Chicago. Using his jumper background to her advantage, Fennelly was able to lay down a flawless handy round that earned a score of 85.5 for a two-round total of 171.5 She narrowly edged out Silas Jaramillo and Chacco Boy who ended the day with a score of 171. Caitlyn Shiels and Signature also had a beautiful handy round to move into third place with an overall score of 169.
Fennelly has owned Viktor N, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding, for over a year, and was thrilled with his performance on Friday. “We love him so much,” she expressed. “He's my junior hunter and he used to be a jumper. He's been so good switching over to the hunters and I couldn't ask any more of him.”
Sinead Fennelly and Viktor N
Following the classic round, which included four high-option fences and an in-and-out, the course was changed for the handy round. For the second round, a trot fence was added after directly cantering to the first vertical near the gate. Riders had an opportunity to showcase their mount’s brilliance with a long hand gallop to the final oxer.
Silas Jaramillo and Chacco Boy
Fennelly started the day strong, earning a score of 86 during the first round that would rank her and Viktor N fifth headed into the handy round. They returned ready to put their best hoof forward, jumping beautifully over the first fence and continued with a flowing pace throughout the rest of the course. Jaramillo and Chacco Boy showed over the handy course just before them, setting the score to beat at 171, but with an 85.5 Fennelly and Viktor N took over the lead by half a point. Shiels and Signature returned second in the order and set the handy score to beat at 88. They eventually rounded out the top three with a score of 169, while Fennelly led the lap of honor at the end of the day.
Caitlyn Shiels and Signature
“During the handy round, it was pretty tight to the first jump, so I chose the low option so that I would have a good turn to it,” explained Fennelly. “He jumped it so well – I was so happy with the first jump. I was able to get him back later to the trot so it would be handier. He's so adjustable and he's so good at the turns, so I just made sure I was forward everywhere, and he just jumped beautifully.”
Fennelly concluded, "I love how gorgeous it is at Lamplight. It's so beautiful and we are so close to the showgrounds, so it's so nice and easy to get over here. I just love the showgrounds!”
Sinead Fennelly and Viktor N
Competition at the Lamplight Spring Classic III will conclude over the weekend, with junior and amateur riders showcasing their skills during their respective hunter classics to close out the final week of the horse show. The Lamplight Spring Spectacular will get underway on June 7 and run through June 25 as part of the 2023 HITS Chicago series, which will feature hunter/jumper action through September at the world-class facility.