Rodrigo Pessoa wins $30,000 Old Salem Farm Great Oak Grand Prix for second consecutive year
After winning the $30,000 Old Salem Farm Great Oak Grand Prix with Chili in 2022, Rodrigo Pessoa successfully defended his title at the 2023 Old Salem Farm September Horse Shows on Sunday, riding Eclat Du Cerisier to the top of the leaderboard in a double-clear time of 40.258 seconds.
The Old Salem Farm September Horse Shows host competitions for riders of all levels and ages, ranging from young children on ponies to top Grand Prix stars aboard their up-and-coming mounts.
Course designer Ken Krome presented 37 entries with a 16-effort, 1.40m track for the $30,000 Old Salem Farm Great Oak Grand Prix, with 12 successfully returning for the jump-off. Pessoa once again proved to be the fastest with his 40.258-second time aboard Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC’s Selle Français stallion Eclat Du Cerisier, a 9-year-old Pessoa has been developing for the last two years.
“He’s starting to do the bigger classes now and trying to be more competitive at the 1.45-1.50m,” Pessoa said. “He jumped the Hampton Classic 2* Grand Prix two weeks ago. Although he had an unlucky rail there in the first round, he jumped really well here this week. He’s a fairly easy ride. Sometimes getting him to adjust can be a little hard, but he’s very simple and straightforward. He’s honest and brave, and today, he was really game to go in the jump-off. We stuck to our plan, and while the margins were a bit close, we luckily came out on top.
“It was a nice class to be part of,” Pessoa added. “The course was well built. We had 12 go clear, which was nice. The point of these grand prix classes is not to make them too hard so we can give our younger horses some mileage for better money. The jumps here (at Old Salem) are great, the footing is super nice, and it’s a great opportunity to give our younger horses some mileage before they reach the top level. I especially like being only a few minutes from my house."