Sister Act: Luis Sabino Goncalves Claims $30,000 1.45m Open Classic

Sister Act: Luis Sabino Goncalves Claims $30,000 1.45m Open Classic

Luis Sabino Goncalves feels like he has returned home. The Portuguese show jumper left his home nation in early 2021 and has seen many top results since then at the Desert International Horse Park (DIHP). He started the 2022 National Sunshine Series off on the right foot, winning the $30,000 Open 1.45m Classic, sponsored by Bridgeport Farms.

Aboard a newer ride, Vick Du Croisy, owned by Sigma Stables LLC, Goncalves is already on a hot streak and is not slowing down anytime soon. He purchased the 13-year-old Selle Francais mare (Mylord Carthago x Vondeen) in June of 2022 and the pair has already taken home a CSI3* Grand Prix win.

In Thursday’s Classic, set in a speed format, Goncalves used natural footspeed to his advantage and even added a stride down one of the later lines, but still ended up atop the leaderboard as the start list of 53 entries came to a close. The duo crossed the finish timers in 63.370 seconds, setting a high standard for the rest of the class to catch.

Cassio Rivetti nearly caught the leading time aboard Chattanooga, owned by HF Farms LLC, in 63.481 seconds, taking second place, and Matt Archer claimed third with Luigi VD Bisschop, owned by Rhys Farms LLC, in 66.596 seconds.

Ireland’s Alan Wade set a challenging course for the inaugural occasion. His course challenged the riders and proved that the stakes were high coming into this season at DIHP.

“She’s started here with a good win and I’m very happy,” Goncalves reflected on his win with Vick Du Croisy. “She’s got good blood. I like to go fast but I try to control myself. She’s already too fast. Sometimes I get a fault because she can get anxious. I try to never say to the horse that I want to go fast.”

Goncalves moved to California last year. “It feels like home. It’s an amazing facility and the people are very nice and kind here. It’s the same as Portugal; it makes me feel at home,” he said.

It wasn’t long ago that Goncalves was campaigning another grey mare at DIHP, and now that mare, Argan De Beliard, has moved up to the championship level with the USA’s Lillie Keenan aboard, jumping the 2022 ECCO FEI World Championships.

“That mare is a sister of [the horse that won today],” he said. “They have the same father. I like that stallion, Mylord Carthago, because the horses are very smart, very careful, and fighters in the ring. She already did a four-star grand prix in Italy with a top amateur, and jumped clear rounds. Overall I’m looking for good canter, scope, and careful horses, and at the same time they should go in the ring and help us. A smart horse makes our life easier.”

Goncalves aims Vick Du Croisy at Saturday night’s $100,000 Hygain Feeds Grand Prix, beginning at 6:15pm. Friday features Junior and Amateur jumper divisions, followed by the first round of the $100,000 WCHR West Coast Hunter Spectacular at 1:00pm, with the top 12 to return under the lights at 6:15pm.

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Sister Act: Luis Sabino Goncalves Claims $30,000 1.45m Open Classic – Desert International Horse Park (