Daniel Bluman and Apardi. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Darragh Kenny and Fantasy Win $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m
Calgary, AB, Canada – July 10, 2014 – Spruce Meadows kicked off its final week of summer competition with the ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5* on Thursday and a win for Colombia’s Daniel Bluman and Apardi in the day’s feature $33,500 G&C Farm Cup 1.50m. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny also continued his hot streak this summer by winning the first international competition of the day riding Fantasy in the $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m. The ‘Pan American’ Tournament runs July 10-13, featuring the $400,000 Pan American Cup presented by Rolex on Sunday, July 13.
Uliano Vezzani of Italy set the track for 54 starters in Thursday’s G&C Farm Cup, held in the Meadows on the Green with 15 qualifying for the jump-off. Three chose not to jump the short course, leaving 12 to advance with five double clear rounds.
Mexico’s Antonio Chedraui was the first rider to clear the jump-off track with La Bamba and set the pace in 41.169 seconds to eventually take third place honors. Four rounds later, Pablo Barrios (VEN) and ZL Group, Inc.’s Zara Leandra took the lead in 38.691 seconds, but they were soon pushed back to second place. Last to go, Daniel Bluman and Ricardo and Alberto Simhon’s Apardi sped through the track in 37.953 seconds to take the win.
Kent Farrington (USA) and Robin Parsky’s Gazelle finished fourth in 41.352 seconds. Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) and Polasko placed fifth with a time of 43.060 seconds.
Bluman started riding Apardi, a nine-year-old KWPN stallion (Corland x Kannan), when the horse was seven years old. The pair won the Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper Final during the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, in 2013. Apardi has since stepped up to the next level and become a competitive horse in Bluman’s string.
“From the moment I got him from Colombia, he has always looked like a careful horse,” Bluman stated. “He was a little bit difficult. He has a lot of energy and he gets a little bit anxious, but he always tries to be careful no matter what. It has been a long way to get the dressage going well and get his body to feel good and improve the rideability. I have to say that already one year ago when he first came to Spruce he already started showing special things. Right before coming to Spruce last year he won the final in Wellington, and then here at Spruce he jumped very well.”
“Through the year as an eight-year-old he jumped in Europe and he was like every young horse, a little up and down, but he has been very good here this year,” Bluman said. “When he arrived, unfortunately he got a little bit hurt on the plane coming from Europe, so I couldn’t show him the first two weeks, but after that he started and he has been jumping really good. The first week he was clear the first day and then last week he was second in the 1.50m on Sunday, so he has been knocking on the door a little bit. Right now he is at the point where he is ready to start winning classes.”
Going in last for the jump-off, Bluman had the opportunity to watch some of the early riders, including the leading round of Pablo Barrios.
“I knew Pablo was leading. Pablo is a great friend of mine and a former trainer and I really wanted to beat him,” Bluman declared. “We’re good buddies, but of course every time you have a little chance or a little opening to beat your trainer, it’s nice. It gives you a good feeling. Of course it is very healthy competition between us. It turned out well. This is the first win of the season for me and the first class that I have won here in two years, so I am very happy. I have been getting too many second places.”
In the jump-off, Bluman knew exactly where Barrios had left the door open, and he went full out to the final fence.
“I got Pablo to the last jump definitely,” Bluman affirmed. “I know, because I spoke to Pablo when he came out of the course. He told me that he had been neat, but he knew that he had left an opening for the last jump. I did for sure at least one stride less in the last line. I know I have a super careful horse that at the end I can run as hard as I want, and the moment I let him read the jump, he is going to clear it. When I landed, without looking at the tower, I felt confident that I had him.”
Apardi will jump Saturday’s $83,000 Investors Group Cup 1.50m to conclude his summer at Spruce Meadows. He will then fly back to Europe to jump as second horse in Valkenswaard and will step up to be Bluman’s first horse in the grand prix in Dublin. “We have big hopes for him,” Bluman concluded.
Kenny Continues Hot Streak
Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) is the course designer in the All Canada Ring this week, which saw a win for Darragh Kenny of Ireland in the $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m to kick off the final week of summer competition at Spruce Meadows. Kenny and the nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, Fantasy (For Pleasure x Acorado), completed the fastest of 13 clear rounds out of 45 total competitors over D’Ambrosio’s speed track. Their winning time of 70.819 seconds just edged out Hector Florentino (DOM) and Anemone’s Vicky, owned by Stransky’s Mission Farms. They held the lead through most of the competition with a time of 71.066 seconds, but had to settle for second. Lisa Carlsen (CAN) and Alycia Hayes’ World’s Judgment finished third in 71.965 seconds.
Fantasy is shown under the ownership of Oakland Ventures LLC. She was purchased by Darragh Kenny, in partnership with trainer Don Stewart, in March. Kenny saw the mare compete with rider Kyle Timm in Ocala, FL, and bought her soon after.
“She was only jumping 1.35m and had done one 1.40m,” Kenny explained. “I had seen the mare the September before and really liked her. She is great quality, lots of scope, super blood, and really careful. I think she is going to be very nice, I am just going to take my time with her a little bit.”
“She is a really, really interesting mare,” Kenny said. “She has been placed a couple of times in the 1.45m classes. She did the two derbies here and she was very good in those. She is still quite green in her riding, but she is super brave, and I think she has a lot of ability. I think she can do really good things.”
Fantasy’s confidence and ability led Kenny to jump her in the derby competitions for experience this summer, and she fared well with the demanding course both times.
“She is extremely brave. She does all that stuff very well,” Kenny noted. “I wanted to do that with her because it is good for her to get that kind of experience going around the ring. It is bigger jumps without putting her in a class that is too big for her. You have lots more space in the derby and lots more room to set up the jumps, so you don’t make that many mistakes at the jumps. I think it is easier for her to figure out how to jump bigger jumps that way.”
Fantasy’s experience came into play in her win Thursday morning where Kenny kept a tidy track to shave off the time.
“I didn’t actually go that fast; I just stayed very tight,” he explained. “She turns really well and you can turn back to any jump and she has the jump to jump it easy, so I just stayed very tight. There was an option to do the grob or do a double that was on the left side, which was actually a shorter line to do the double, and I just did that with her because I know she jumps the grob no problem.”
The ‘Pan American’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows will continue on Friday with the $33,500 Ashcor Technologies Cup 1.50m in the Meadows on the Green. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.