Irish Dominate Otter Creek Grand Prix at Vermont Summer Festival

Canada's Alexanne Thibault and Chacco Prime just missed the podium as the Irish swept the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix at the Vermont Summer Festival.

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By: Jump Media |

Canada’s Alexanne Thibault and Chacco Prime 4th

Ireland’s Kevin McCarthy continued his hot streak at the Vermont Summer Festival by winning the $30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix, presented by Purina Horse Feed, on Saturday, July 20, during week three of the six-week circuit at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset, VT.

The jump-off was a two-horse duel between McCarthy on Catch A Star HSS and fellow Irish rider Kevin Mealiff riding Nuca 2. McCarthy led off over the track set by course designer Manuel Esparza of Mexico City, Mexico, and he did enough to prove uncatchable in 40.97 seconds. Mealiff stopped the clocked at 42.26 seconds to finish as the runner-up.

“She is an unbelievable mare!” said McCarthy of Catch A Star HSS, the nine-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Sheraton x Amulet) that he also rode to victory in the Manchester Designer Outlets Welcome Stake during the second week of competition. “She’s a dream come true for me to ride. I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’ve never had a horse with this much heart that wants to do the job this much. I love her.”

When asked about his face-off in the jump-off with Mealiff, McCarthy said, “I knew Kevin was coming and with two in it, you have nothing to lose. I tried to be fast enough and leave all the jumps up, so I didn’t do two of the inside turns, but she’s fast across the ground. I just rode my luck, and it paid off.

“This was a nicely built course with wide oxers that required the horses to be careful,” continued McCarthy of Esparza’s track. “He has done a lovely job this week, and all the course designers have done a really nice job here. They seem to like building in this ring, and I certainly like riding in it because it’s been a great show for us.”

After a rewarding three weeks at the Vermont Summer Festival, McCarthy and his string of horses will return to their home base of Cazenovia, NY, before returning for the final two weeks of competition.

In recognition of his victory, McCarthy was awarded a crystal trophy by Amanda Morris of Purina Horse Feeds, as well as a show scrim from Mona’s Monograms. McCarthy’s partner, Keely O’Hara, was presented with the weekly Grand Prix Groom Award in honor of her hard work preparing Catch A Star HSS for grand prix competition. She was presented with a monogrammed jacket and coolerette from sponsor Glenn Geary of Horsewatch.

Rounding out the other top placings in Saturday’s feature event, McCarthy also posted the fastest four-fault round over the opening course to finish third riding Easton. Canada’s Alexanne Thibault of Boucherville, QC, took fourth with one rail down riding Chacco Prime, and Penny Brennan of Buhl, AL, capped the top five on four faults aboard Vertigo Delorme.

The third week of show jumping competition at the Vermont Summer Festival continues with Classics for adult, children, and junior and amateur-owner jumper riders in the Grand Prix Ring on Sunday, July 21.

Now in its 26th year, the Vermont Summer Festival offers a dynamic competition schedule while also giving competitors an opportunity to enjoy the wide variety of entertainment, recreation, shopping, and dining options offered in Dorset, Manchester, and the surrounding area. A recent study conducted by the Center for Rural Studies at the University of Vermont cited that the total direct spending of visitors frequenting Vermont for equine-related activities is estimated at nearly $15.5 million annually.

Competition at the 2019 Vermont Summer Festival runs weekly from Wednesday through Sunday, beginning each day at 8 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults and children from Wednesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children with 100 percent of all gate proceeds benefiting Dorset Equine Rescue, The Dorset School, and Manchester Community Library.

The Vermont Summer Festival is a proud member of the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, the Marshall & Sterling League, and the North American League (NAL). For more information on the Vermont Summer Festival, please visit

$30,000 Otter Creek Grand Prix

Presented by Purina Horse Feed – Saturday, July 20, 2019

Rider, Hometown, Horse, Faults/Time

1. Kevin McCarthy, Ireland, Catch A Star HSS 0/0/40.97

2. Kevin Mealiff, Ireland, Nuca 2 0/0/42.26

3. Kevin McCarthy, Ireland, Easton 4/74.09

4. Alexanne Thibault, Canada, Chacco Prime 4/76.37

5. Penny Brennan, Buhl, AL, Vertigo Delorme 4/77.33

6. Adelaide Toensing, Charlotte, VT, Blue 4/78.03

7. Keirstin Johnsen, North Salem, NY, Capri 5/79.62

8. Carly Campbell-Cooper, Canada, Instead 7/81.14

9. Donovan Ross, Westport, CT, Jasper III 8/76.71

10. Brian Murphy, Berryville, VA, Chicco W 8/77.39

11. Lainie Wimberly, Ridgefield, CT, RF Quarterman 8/82.31

12. Adrienne Iverson, Canada, Katmandu 9/83.83


Horse Sport