Calgary, AB, Canada – June 13, 2015 – Francois Mathy got a win for Belgium in Saturday’s international show jumping competition at Spruce Meadows. Riding the 12-year-old Selle Francais mare, Polinska des Isles (Diamant de Semilly x Valespoir Malabry), Mathy topped a three-horse jump-off to win the $85,000 Repsol Cup 1.50m in a field of 63 starters. USA’s Georgina Bloomberg and Caleno 3 finished second; Venezuela’s Andres Rodriguez and Darlon van de Groenhove placed third.
Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set a challenging track for horses and riders in the $85,000 Repsol Cup. Fourteen of the 63 entries were unable to finish the course, and the faults were numerous for many others. Only three entries came out of the first round without fault to advance to the jump-off.
Bloomberg was first to go over the short course with Gotham Enterprizes’ Caleno 3 and cleared the track in 41.60 seconds. Rodriguez followed aboard Darlon van de Groenhove with a rail at the last fence in 41.76 seconds. Last to go, Mathy and his own and Team Harmony’s Polinska des Isles took the win in a time of 40.15 seconds. They earned the winning prize of $28,050.
Mathy and Polinska des Isles also earned a 1.60m win on opening day of the ‘National’ Tournament two years ago, but the rider noted that this was their biggest win together at Spruce Meadows. He has had the mare for seven years, since she was five years old, and was happy to get another great victory.
“This is a big win. I have had wins here, but I think this is quite a good win for her,” Mathy acknowledged. “She has been my top horse for quite a few years. She has placed in the ‘Masters’ here also and we were double clear in the Nations Cup. I think she likes Spruce Meadows. She is a very good mare and she is performing well.”
Commenting on the win, Mathy stated, “First of all, it was tough just to get in the jump-off. There were a lot of retirements and faults; it was a tough course.”
“In the jump-off, I think I was faster on the rollback to the blue vertical,” he continued. “The mare turned really well there, so I think that is where I made a bit of time. Georgina had a really super jump-off. She had every distance right and forward; I just think I was a bit tighter around that turn.”
Originally, Mathy did not plan to jump on Saturday, but he still needed to qualify for Sunday’s grand prix.
“I had to change the plan a little bit because Plan A was to jump her yesterday and then the grand prix tomorrow, but then I had two down yesterday. She was a bit fresh, so I had to ride again today to qualify for the grand prix. It was bad news yesterday, but it helped me to win the competition today. Now tomorrow she will do the grand prix. I think today took a little bit out of her, but she has blood and she is a fighter, so hopefully we can perform well tomorrow as well.”
Mathy will return home for two weeks and then returns to compete in the last two weeks of the Summer Series. Fans can watch him jump one more time this week as the ‘Continental’ Tournament CSI 5* concludes in Sunday’s $400,000 CP Grand Prix.
Francois Mathy and Polinska Des Isles. Photos by Shawn McMillen Photography.
Lexington, KY – October 31, 2013 – Sometimes it is a rail, sometimes it is an inside turn and sometimes it is just one-tenth of a second separating the winner from the losers. That is exactly what happened during the Double H Farm $100,000 International Open Jumpers at the Alltech National Horse Show. Todd Minikus was aiming for his second win in a row with Quality Girl, completing a clear jump-off effort, when Belgium’s Francois Mathy was faultless during the 14-horse jump-off aboard Polinska Des Isles, crossing the finish line a fraction of a second faster to capture the winning honors.
Forty of the world’s top riders gathered at the Alltech Arena to compete during tonight’s feature class. Conrad Homfeld offered challenging questions for the first round, but 14 horse and rider combinations managed to clear the course and advance to the jump-off.
“I think Conrad was probably surprised that he got a couple extra clear, but he truly is a world class course designer,” noted Minikus. “I think he was trying to make it comfortable to get people’s horses going well. A good course designer gets the horses going well during the week and then tests them on the weekend. I think that’s quite a good job.”
Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, NY, was the second to return for the tiebreaker with Abigail Wexner’s Amadora, and she wore a target on her back when she made tidy work of the course and left each rail in place to finish in 44.22 seconds, which would hold up for third place.
After Madden produced a faultless round, Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, left nothing to chance with his winner from last night’s Taylor Harris $50,000 Open Jumper Welcome Speed, Quality Girl, owned by Chris Brems. The pair was quick over the top of each fence, and they shaved off valuable seconds in each turn to best the clock with a time of 41.51 seconds.
Great Britain’s Tim Gredley was up next with Unex Chamberlain Z, but they would have the most conservative of the double clear efforts in 45.06 seconds for fifth place. Kirsten Coe of Royal Palm Beach, FL, was narrowly faster than Gredley aboard Baronez, owned by Ilan Ferder and Lousta Stuteri. While also leaving each fence in place, the pair broke the beam at 45.01 seconds for fourth place.
The final double clear round in the jump-off proved to be the best of the night. Traveling all the way from Belgium, Francois Mathy’s focus is on Saturday night’s World Cup Qualifier, but tonight he proved that he and Polinska Des Isles, owned by Team Harmony, will be ready for the challenge. They stayed right on Minikus’ track and managed to finish just slightly ahead of his time, dashing across the finish line in 41.42 seconds to capture the victory by just 1/10th of a second.
“To be honest, my mare is really fast, but I really came here in order to get some World Cup points,” admitted Mathy. “I went quite neat; I didn’t think I could beat the time from Todd. It was quite a good surprise when I passed the timer. I didn’t see his round, but I saw yesterday he won by three seconds. He was fast so I didn’t really calculate on beating him and watching his round.”
“It’s all good sport, you know,” stated Minikus. “I live by the theory if you’re not the winner, you’re the loser, but it’s all good sport. Francois gave his horse a heck of a ride and second place is second place.”
Mathy had top placings throughout Spruce Meadows with his 10-year-old mare Polinska Des Isles, including a double clear during the Nations Cup, and they also helped the Belgian team place fifth during the 2013 FEI Nations Cup Finals in Barcelona, Spain. After success in North America during the summer and fall, Mathy decided to spend the indoor season in the United States.
“In Europe, it’s quite difficult to get in to the World Cups,” stated Mathy. “I quite enjoyed my tour in North America, and I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to try and get a few more points. It’s my first time actually doing Indoors in North America so this is quite a nice beginning. I was quite impressed to see the facility here and all of the organization. Everybody’s very welcoming, and I’m really happy I came.”
McLain Ward and Zander Zip to $50,000 International Open Speed Victory
The National Horse Show Association of America $50,000 International Open Speed, presented by Copernicus and the Coulter Family tested the foot speed of the top mounts over a faults converted track designed by Conrad Homfeld. About midway through the field it looked like young rider Catherine Pasmore had the win in her sights with Vandavid after carefully navigating each obstacle and breaking the beam at a speedy 65.73 seconds.
Unfortunately, Olympian McLain Ward went a few rounds later with his consistent partner Zander. The pair easily left all the rails intact and galloped efficiently through a bending line early in the course, as well as taking the direct route after one of the double combinations. The plan paid off, and they finished in 63.09 seconds to take a commanding lead.
Ward could not breathe a sigh of relief just yet though. The last rider to tackle the course was Meagan Nusz with Vesuvius, and they stayed right on Ward’s tracks. Taking sharp turns and leaving strides out they were on the money and it looked like they could take the win, but Nusz and Vesuvius stopped the clock at 63.95, just tenths of a second away from the lead for the second place prize, while Ward led the victory gallop.
“Meagan gave me a good run, but it went our way tonight,” admitted Ward. “I was lucky to go late. Last night I had to go very early. Tonight I had a better draw. He has a really big stride, so I was able to leave out a couple of places, and he is a pretty quick horse.”
At just 9 years old with multiple wins to his name, Ward is excited about Zander’s future. “This is Zander’s first time Indoors,” he explained. “He jumped the Grand Prix in Washington last week, and he was good, but a little green. We have been kind of moving him up and down in the shows a little bit. This is a unique show because you have two very big speed classes, and one really big one. With the prize money being as good as it is, this probably wouldn’t be his normal class of the show, but the standards are high and it is good for the horse to learn to do that. I think he is going to be a big top, top horse, he’s almost there.”
Victoria Colvin and Adrienne Sternlicht Capture Junior and Amateur-Owner Victories
Earlier in the day, the jumper action kicked off with the Deeridge Farm $10,000 Junior Jumper Welcome Stake. Eight combinations traversed the track without fault, but it was Victoria Colvin of Loxahatchee, FL, who proved to have the key to winning aboard her own Monsieur Du Reverdy. After competing in last week’s WIHS Equitation Classic, they transitioned back to the jumper ring, and Colvin utilized her mount’s improved rideability to best the track in 61.967 seconds and led the victory gallop.
“He was turning and not jumping as high as usual because we needed to make him ride like a hunter for the equitation,” explained Colvin. “I think he made up time by going forward over the jumps and he turned really fast. I’ve never won a jumper class here, so it’s pretty nice to have won the first one. After doing the equitation I wasn’t sure if he would clear the fences, but he did! It was amazing.”
Katherine Strauss was the last to show with her veteran partner Chellando Z, and although they carefully left strides out and left each rail in place, they fell two seconds short of Colvin’s time in 63.465 seconds for the second place honors. Kalvin Dobbs and Winde, owned by Treesdale Farms, were two seconds slower than Strauss, stopping the clock at 65.145 seconds for third place during the speed class. Charlotte Jacobs and Kachina, owned by Deeridge Farms, rounded out the top four with a clear round in 65.600 seconds.
The Chansonette Farm $10,000 Amateur-Owner Jumper Welcome Stake was up next, and the riders showed over the same speed course to determine the winning combination. Adrienne Sternlicht and Quidam MB set the bar very high midway through the class, easily clearing all of the obstacles and tripping the timers at 66.597 seconds to go to the top of the leader board.
Melissa Rundershuasen entered the Alltech Arena next with Gunner, and while it looked like they might take the lead, 1/10th of a second separated them from Sternlicht as they stopped the clock at 66.656 seconds for the second place honors. Katie Dinan was the last to show with the Grant Road Partners’ Vancouver, but they also fell just shy of Stenlicht with a faultless round in 67.211 seconds to round out the top three and seal Sternlicht’s victory.
“Since there weren’t that many options in the course, I tried to shave off my turns and keep a galloping pace through the course and everything came up really nicely,” smiled Sternlicht. “I thought the course was technical for a speed, but it should be because this is a prestigious show. Quidam MB is only 8 years old, and this is his first show inside. I am a bit green to showing inside, as well, and I haven’t been to Kentucky since I did the ponies. Overall it was a really great experience and I am really proud of him.”
Tomorrow’s highlight events at the 2013 Alltech National Horse Show, 130th edition, will include each of the $15,000 Amateur-Owner and Junior Jumper classes, The Triumph Project $50,000 International Open Jumper Speed class, and the LIFEFORCE Elite $50,000 International Open Jumper Puissance. The weekend will wrap up with the Alltech $250,000 World Cup Qualifying Grand Prix presented by Lifeforce on Saturday night, and the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay National Championships on Sunday.
For more information or to view the competition live, please visit www.alltechnationalhorseshow.com. Coverage is provided by Shownet.biz, iHigh, HRTV, and USEF Network.
Rebecca Walton for Phelps Media Group, Inc. International
Calgary, AB – June 5, 2013 – The 2013 Spruce Meadows Summer Tournaments began today, and riding on new turf footing, riders contested four FEI-level competitions. For the third year in a row, Kent Farrington (USA) captured victory in the $33,000 ATB Financial Cup 1.50m, this year with Blue Angel. In the $33,000 Enbridge Cup 1.45m, McLain Ward (USA) was victorious with Super Trooper de Ness. Christine McCrea (USA) and Romantovich Take One won the $33,000 Bantrel Cup 1.45m, while Francois Mathy (BEL) on Polinska des Isles won the opening competition of the day, the $33,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.60m.
The $33,000 ATB Financial Cup 1.45m was the highlight competition of the day and the final one in the International Ring. The course designer in the International Ring this week is Werner Deeg of Germany. There were 49 entries in the ATB Financial Cup, but only one made it through the first round without faults. With a tight time allowed in the first round, it was difficult to go clear without jumping or time faults, and nine entries finished with one time fault.
Farrington and Blue Angel, an 11-year-old Warmblood mare by Luidam x Ascendent owned by Robin Parsky, posted a clear round in 77.968 seconds for victory. Darragh Kerins (IRL) and E Muze Yek, owned by Kerins and Maarten Huygens, were just over the 80-second time allowed in 80.899 seconds. Third place went to Charlie Jacobs (USA) on CMJ Sporthorse LLC’s Flaming Star, who crossed the timers in 81.918 seconds.
“Basically it just turned into a speed class, more or less,” Farrington remarked. “Everyone was trying to go as quick as they could and leave the jumps up. That horse is fast all by itself, so that probably played a big advantage today. I don’t think there was anything special that I did except use the horse’s natural speed and really watch my turns.”
Farrington said that Blue Angel is “an experienced horse that can win at a lot of places.” He continued, “I have big hopes for her in the future and it will be fun to see what she can do. She likes it here and the ground is great. It’s always tough competition and I’m happy to win.”
Blue Angel will compete in her first team competition in next week’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at the ‘Continental’ Tournament.
Ward’s Early Speed Stays at the Top
It seemed like the rest of the field was going for second place after McLain Ward and Super Trooper de Ness, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion by Vigo D’Arsouilles x Polydor owned by Grand Road Partners, galloped through the speed course in the $33,000 Enbridge Cup 1.45m. They went fifth in the order and stopped the timers in 64.310 seconds for victory, one second faster than second place finishers, Cadett 7 and Ashlee Bond (USA). Bond and Cadett 7, owned by Little Valley Farm, made a solid effort in 65.353 seconds and came closest to Ward’s time. Third place went to John Perez (COL) on Utopia, who finished in 67.474 seconds.
When asked if he thought his time would hold up, Ward replied, “I knew there would be a chance to be beat and it’s always nice to win, but I was really happy with the way the horse went in his first time in the big ring here. Everything is a bit new for the first time for him this year. It was nice to win.”
Ward explained that the reason Super Trooper is so speedy is thanks to his ability to keep the rails up without slowing down before the fence. “He felt really relaxed, and he’s naturally an incredibly careful horse, so you could let him go a little bit,” he said. “I loved the way he covered the ground because he’s a very, very careful horse. Sometimes he gets a little frozen and doesn’t cover the ground. But he felt loose in there and it’s wonderful footing, which helps. He’s a horse you never have to set up anywhere, you can kind of just stay on a lick. I think in the end, that makes him a faster horse than most horses. As long as you don’t make some kind of gross error, he’s going to get out of the way.”
Ward will continue to show Super Trooper de Ness this week with the aim toward preparing him for next week’s Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup.
McCrea and Romantovich Take One Find the Fast Path
The $33,000 Enbridge Cup 1.45m was held in a speed format with 48 entries starting. The fastest clear round was posted by Christine McCrea and Romantovich Take One, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding by Numero Uno x Karandasj owned by Candy Tribble. They finished faster by a large margin in 64.855 seconds. Second place went to Remarkable Farms LP’s Nice de Prissey and Brianne Goutal (USA) in 68.266 seconds, while Reed Kessler (USA) and Wolf S, owned by Iron Works Partners, were third with a time of 68.478 seconds.
McCrea did not watch anyone go before her since she was competing in another ring, but luckily she had the ride on Wannick WH earlier in the order, which gave her a good idea of how she could be faster with Romantovich Take One.
“It was a very nice course,” McCrea said. “You got to jump all over the field in the different parts of the ring. It wasn’t enormous; it was just a nice welcome back into the ring. The footing is just outstanding and it’s just perfect. I know him so well that I decided to go for the win and it worked out.”
This win marks yet another in a string of grand prix victories that McCrea has had over the past month, which included two at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows and two at HITS Saugerties. McCrea attributed her success with Romantovich Take One to three things, “He likes cooler weather, a little excitement, and he likes to travel around. I think all of those things have come into play the last couple of months, which has kind of perked him up a little bit. He loves it here.”
Today’s success was McCrea’s first win in the International Ring at Spruce Meadows. “That was my first time and it was so fun!” she said with a smile. “I’m really proud of it actually! It’s really cool.”
Mathy Takes Opening Win
It was a fast jump-off for the opening competition, the $33,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.60m, in the International Ring for the ‘National’ Tournament with Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr. galloping to the win on Polinska des Isles, a 10-year-old Selle Francais mare by Diamant de Semilly x Valespoir Malabry owned by Team Harmony and Francois Mathy.
Mathy was one of five double clear rounds in a jump-off of nine entries. He and Polinska crossed the timers in 39.356 seconds, just edging out Olympian Reed Kessler (USA) and Cylana, who posted a time of 39.496 seconds. Third place went to Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) on Criptonite, who had a time of 41.892 seconds.
Polinska was successful at her last show, the La Baule CSIO 5*, in May. They placed fifth in the grand prix. Mathy said, “She’s been quite competitive since I’ve had her, so I’m really happy. She won her first grand prix at end of year at a three-star when she was eight. One year ago she started to do the big classes.”
Mathy competed with Polinska at the 2012 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, so he felt comfortable taking her in the 1.60m in her first start out. “She knows the ring, which is a help when you start directly in a big class. The course was quite open, so I think that helped us get a bit into the rhythm,” he noted.
Although he didn’t see anyone go before him in the jump-off, Mathy planned to keep his turns tight and pace steady. “Daniel (Bluman) was in the lead and I knew he was quite fast. I just tried to keep everything tight and it seemed to work. I think where I had a good turn was to the double (combination). I think there I was quite tight and I think that helped me make up a bit of time. I didn’t see Reed’s round, but I saw she was just a little bit slower than me. That could have made the difference.”
Mathy plans to compete at all five weeks of the Summer Tournaments and was happy to win his first competition. “It’s a big investment for us when we come from Europe, so it’s super to start like that,” he remarked.
The ‘National’ Tournament CSI 5* continues tomorrow with three main events: the $33,000 Prairie Mines & Royalty LTD Cup 1.50m, the $33,000 ATCO Pipelines Cup 1.45m, and the $35,000 Spectra Energy Cup 1.60m. For more information on Spruce Meadows and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.