Peter Lutz and Robin de Ponthual. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – It was a picture perfect day for the biggest event of the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental CSI 5* Tournament, and it was a storybook ending for Peter Lutz (USA) and Robin de Ponthual, who scored their biggest victory together in the $375,000 CP Grand Prix. Second place went to Charlie Jacobs (USA) with Cassinja S, while Andrew Ramsay (USA) and California 62 were third. This marked the final day of the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament, the second of four weeks in the 2016 Spruce Meadows Summer Series.
Thirty-three entries contested a course designed by Luc Musette of Belgium. There were only three who found the ticket to a clear round and would advance to the jump-off. While there were 10 competitors who had just four faults, the rails down were spread out around the course.
“That’s the measure of a good course designer, when there isn’t a bogey or a gotcha fence,” said Jacobs. “The oxers, specifically, I thought were quite wide, especially when you consider the last line was a very skinny vertical in a quite steady five (strides) to a 1.80m wide oxer. It was a challenge, and it asked a lot of us.”
Musette, in his first time designing at Spruce Meadows, said, “It’s a first experience for me (at Spruce Meadows), and it’s the best experience. It is the best in the world.”
The first in the jump-off was Charlie Jacobs with Cassinja S, a ten-year-old Zweibrucker mare (Carinjo x Cassini I). They had a steady ride through the course to finish in 41.87 seconds and no faults.
Jacobs started riding Cassinja S as a seven-year-old, and she competed in the National division at Spruce Meadows last year. These past two weeks at Spruce Meadows were the mare’s first CSI 5* competitions.
“It’s been a real fulfilling experience, especially today, to come out here and jump a course of this magnitude and this delicate and have such a wonderful turnout,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs felt that Cassinja’s education has grown in those two weeks. He noted, “If you talk to fellow horsemen and say that you brought a horse to Spruce Meadows and they did well, it’s a very high watermark that knowledgeable horse people acknowledge and respect. This is a place to bring a horse to season.”
“It’s a pleasure to be here,” he said of Spruce Meadows. “It’s especially nice that my son was in the audience today, today being Father’s Day. He and I came up here and spent the two weeks riding horses together, so it’s been a great experience.”
Next in the jump-off was Ramsay on California 62. The 12-year-old Holsteiner mare (Cassini I x Quidam de Revel) raced through the course, but the speed caught up to them at the second to last jump on course. They finished on four faults in 39.72 seconds for third place.
California 62 is a new ride for Ramsay, who only started with her at the beginning of the year.
He said, “This is by far the biggest accomplishment so far. She’s quite careful and limited on stride, so we’re working on that. The lines had a lot of options, which worked for us today. She’s a wonderful mare, and I think we’ll have to keep getting used to each other.”
Lutz could not go easy in the jump-off, as he had to go clear and quicker than Jacobs. He did just that, finishing in 40.43 seconds and no faults for the win. “I think I was a little faster to the second jump and also to the ‘All Canada’ jump. I took a gallop at it. On the way to last jump, it just felt like it came up perfectly,” he recalled.
Lutz has been riding Robin de Ponthual, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Elf D’or x Calypso D’Herbiers*Ecolit) owned by Michael Meller and Katherine Gallagher, for two years. This is their biggest victory together, but they have steadily been rising in the ranks of show jumping. They won a World Cup qualifier in Las Vegas in 2015 and completed a clear round at the 2016 FEI World Cup Finals.
He described, “We’ve built a nice relationship, and I know that I can trust the horse. I know that he can jump any size jump. He’s very brave, and I think he trusts me. We have a good bond. It’s nice to have a horse for two years. I know he can do anything and he believes he can too, so it’s a good match.”
Lutz competed at Spruce Meadows two years ago, but in the National division. He was very excited to gain such a prestigious victory.
“It’s just an incredible facility,” he said. “It’s exciting to be here, doing this level, with this great horse. This horse has been great for us for almost two years now. He’s been stepping up to this level. He’s showing us he can do it. But to actually come here and win is thrilling for us.”
The 2016 Spruce Meadows Summer Series continues with the ‘Pan American’, presented by Rolex, CSI 5* Tournament on June 29 – July 3.
Eric Lamaze and Rosana du Park. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The Repsol Cup 1.50m was the highlight competition on Saturday at the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI 5* Tournament, the second week of four in the Spruce Meadows Summer Series. Eric Lamaze (CAN) was victorious riding Rosana du Park. Philipp Weishaupt (GER) and LB Convall were second, while Kara Chad (CAN) and Bella Strade took third place. Earlier in the day, Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and New York won the McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.45m.
Join Spruce Meadows for a special Sunday Father’s Day at the ‘Continental’ Tournament! Highlighting the day is the CP Grand Prix, at 1 p.m. MST, and there will be the CP Mini Train, pony rides, mini golf, face painting, and ice cream. Don’t miss a special day for the family at Spruce Meadows and see top show jumping competition with complimentary admission.
The Repsol Cup had 40 entries, and seven of those found the clear path to the jump-off. Five were double clear, and the pacesetter was Christine McCrea (USA) on Win for Life, who finished in 47.19 seconds for fifth place. Peter Lutz (USA) and Retiro finished fourth in 46.55 seconds. Kara Chad and Bella Strade took the lead in 45.06 seconds, but it would not last long as Philipp Weishaupt and LB Convall moved up in 45.02 seconds.
Last to go in the ring, Lamaze had the best chance to go for a win, and he said that he was “very confident” heading into the jump-off. He and Rosana du Park, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare (Kannan x Quinine de Livoye) owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable, took nearly two seconds off of Weishaupt’s time and won in 43.08 seconds.
“This was, not to call it an easy jump-off, but we didn’t have our usual racers with Hardin and Kent, and people who seem to be able to lay it down all the time,” he said. “Philipp’s horse is a very nice horse, but I don’t think it’s a super-fast horse. Kara’s is a new horse for her. I had the champion of the runners.”
While Lamaze is known for his incredible ability to ride at speed, he admitted that being in a situation where he doesn’t have to go all out is not his forte.
He laughed, “I’m not great at that, to be honest. I’ve mostly managed to screw up [a situation like this] quite often! For whatever reason, I’m better at going fast and they say you gotta go. I’m not good at managing my speed. I feel like the whole course I’m going too slow. I’m better when you just have to go.”
Lamaze was proud of his student, Kara Chad, who placed third Saturday and was second in the difficult Scotiabank Cup 1.55m Friday.
“Spruce Meadows is really a venue that gives opportunity to younger riders to step up and do big classes,” he said. “This is where magic happens and where they get confidence. What that competition did for Kara last night is a huge boost. Who knows where it’s going to take her. I feel like everybody has a chance to have these moments here at Spruce Meadows.”
For Weishaupt, Spruce Meadows is also a special place to prepare a young horse. His new star, LB Convall, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding, came out strong this week. Having only ridden him for six months, Weishaupt found that he was good on grass.
“He’s not so experienced, and he’s quite green on that level. He has never jumped on grass,” he said. “He felt really, really happy on the grass field. I’m really happy with that because some of them don’t like it. He liked it from day one.”
Weishaupt said he knew he “had no chance” against Lamaze. He noted, “Eric’s horse jumped amazing. She has so much more experience and is a really quick horse. I didn’t want to go crazy because my horse is only nine years old. I did what I can do without risking too much and that worked out. I’m more than happy with my second place.”
Weishaupt feels that he has a very special mount in LB Convall. “He is, I think, I hope, my next championship horse. He’s the best I have,” he said.
Following the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, Weishaupt will contest the CHIO Aachen with LB Convall.
Towell and New York Win Wire-to-Wire
Jack Hardin Towell didn’t plan to even compete in the McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.45m, but when his barn manager Chris Howard entered New York and told him he was first in the ring, he gave it a go. A good go, in fact, as he was the first clear in round one and the first to return in the jump-off. They set down an unbeatable time of 40.80 seconds to win a wire-to-wire victory.
Coming close behind in second place was Eric Lamaze (CAN) on Melody des Hayettes, who stopped the clock in 40.97 seconds. Third place went to Molly Ashe (USA) and Balous Day Date, who were clear in 42.07 seconds. Finishing in 42.39 seconds, Alberto Michan (MEX) and Ujade Ste Hermelle were fourth. Fifth place was awarded to Jaclyn Duff (CAN) on EH All or None, who had a time of 42.99 seconds.
There were 50 entries in the first round, and 18 of those were clear to the advance to the jump-off. There were 11 double clears.
After a solid schedule of show jumping this winter and spring, New York, a 10-year-old KWPN gelding (Verdi x Watzmann) owned by Jennifer Gates LLC, was given five weeks off before coming to the Spruce Meadows Summer Series. Towell planned to have him as his grand prix horse during last week’s ‘National’ Tournament, and rode Lucifer in the lower competitions. It did not go as planned, and Towell felt discouraged heading into the ‘Continental’ Tournament.
“Last week he was really strong, and he didn’t jump great in the grand prix,” Towell said. “Every class he’s just been too fresh. This is his third day showing in a row. Last night he didn’t jump bad, but it was getting better.
“To be honest, I wasn’t showing until this morning,” he revealed. “I was arguing with Chris, my barn manager. Last night I was talking to him and he said, ‘I entered the 1.45m. You go first.’ Then we were arguing all morning and I didn’t even walk the jump-off (course). I got there, and it was nice. I could gallop and he really held off the jumps, which is good.”
Seeing how New York has been after a five-week absence from the competition, Towell has learned that he thrives on work and competing and will now adjust his schedule accordingly.
“I should just know that I need to show him more,” he said. “I gave him the week off before I came to Spruce Meadows, and I shouldn’t have. I should have shown him that week and then he would have been ready for last week.”
“Less is more” is something else that Towell learned Saturday with New York. He said, “I think sometimes I complicate it. I try to do too much. This morning I didn’t even ride him. I just got on and went (in the ring). Sometimes we want to be so successful and we try to put too much thought into it. There are some horses that you’re just better off getting on and going.”
Towell was pleased with New York’s improvement and the feeling he gave him in this competition. He noted, “I’m happy with the win, but I’m really happy with how he jumped in the jump-off. He feels back to himself. He really tried hard and jumped well.”
While Towell may have been discouraged with some of his performances, he was thrilled with how his student, Jennifer Gates, did in the challenging Scotiabank Cup Friday. She and Pumped Up Kicks had just one time fault and finished fifth.
“Last night Jennifer was amazing. She had a great result, and that was exciting,” he remarked. “The morale on my horses has been down a little bit, so that makes us feel a little better. I was really excited with how Jennifer did. As long as one of us is doing well, it makes things a little easier!”
The CP Grand Prix will conclude the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament on Sunday, June 19, at 1 p.m. MST.
Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The ‘Continental’ CSI 5* Tournament at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series had more exciting show jumping competition at the Meadows on the Green with Kent Farrington and Gazelle capturing the top prize in the Scotiabank Cup 1.55m as the only clear round. Second place went to Kara Chad (CAN) on Bellinda, and third place was awarded to Peter Lutz (USA) on Robin de Ponthual. Victory in the Altagas Cup 1.45m also went to Kent Farrington (USA) on Aron S. In the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup, Lucy Deslauriers (USA) beat a strong field for first place.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament runs June 15-19, featuring the Repsol Cup 1.50m on Saturday, June 18, and the highlight competition, the CP Grand Prix, on Sunday, June 19.
There were 35 entries that went to post in the Scotiabank Cup 1.55m. The challenging course was designed by Luc Musette of Belgium and tested the riders with a tight time allowed, large heights, and technical distances.
Farrington and Gazelle, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Shuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky, were the only ones able to stay clear with no jumping or time faults.
There were four with just one time fault: Kara Chad and Bellinda (74.45 seconds – second), Peter Lutz and Robin de Ponthual (74.50 seconds – third), Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Quite Cassini (76.32 seconds – fourth), and Jennifer Gates (USA) on Pumped Up Kicks (76.62 seconds – fifth).
Kara Chad is one of Canada’s rising young show jumping stars, and it looks like Bellinda, a ten-year-old KWPN mare by Namelus R x Hors la Loi II, will be one of her top horses. Their partnership began just over a year ago when she found Bellinda with previous trainers Dick Carvin and Susie Schroer as a nine-year-old.
“I think she’s a super special mare,” Chad said. “We’ve been able to grow as a partnership over the past year. Last year this week I was doing the 1.40m just trying to get to know her. It’s really encouraging to come back and do one of the biggest classes at Spruce Meadows and do well in it. I know that we’re going somewhere, and we’re learning. I’m really happy.”
Chad and Bellinda were second to last in the first round of the competition, and when Chad saw the difficulty of the course, she focused on riding a clear jumping round.
She explained, “My horse is naturally a little bit slow. She has a very lofty and scopey jump. I always have to think about the time and make up for that. After watching the course today and seeing how difficult it was, I really just focused on getting the jumps right and making sure that I was placing her properly and getting her prepared for the grand prix this weekend. I wouldn’t say time was on my mind as the most important factor, but for sure I should have thought about it a little more. I think it was good preparation. I think Bellinda is totally ready for the grand prix, and it’s just up to me.”
Farrington thought that today’s course could have been seen in a big grand prix. “You had a technical related distance to both combinations, which always poses a problem, and then you couple that with a short time allowed and some careful fences at the end, (and it) made it pretty difficult to jump clear under the time,” he said.
For Gazelle, Farrington was focused on the triple combination as a potential trouble spot. However, he was not very worried about the time allowed as he naturally rides fast and chooses places to make up time early so he can take his time at spots on course where he knows his horses may struggle.
“I thought the triple (combination) was a big ask,” he said. “A vertical, vertical, oxer always calls on their scope. I thought she handled that really well. That’s something earlier in the season that she struggled with in Florida, learning to jump the oxers in the combinations without jumping too high and then having the back rail. I’m very proud of her progress. She seems to be learning how to do that much better and more consistent. It’s really a good sign for me.”
Farrington did breathe a sigh of relief when he realized he did not have to jump off. “Yes, that’s always nice,” he said with a smile. “That hardly ever happens. You have to sit and watch the last half of the class, which is not always so fun, but it worked out for us today and we got to save her legs for the grand prix.”
Farrington brought Gazelle to the Spruce Meadows Summer Series for the past two years to gain valuable education for the talented mare, and he believes that Spruce Meadows is second to none in preparing horses for top competition.
He explained, “In general, the horses learn to really grow a bigger heart and big scope jumping on this field because they can carry a lot of gallop. The fences are so big and wide. You have some horses that just won’t accept it; they’re too careful. The ones that do accept those poles being extra wide, it makes them better (and) they learn from it. If they can jump this and can jump a big grand prix here, you can walk into almost any big grand prix in the world and feel comfortable and able to jump it.”
Farrington and Aron S Record a Win
Kent Farrington continued his winning ways at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series in the Altagas Cup 1.45m with Aron S, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Tadmus x Karandasj) owned by Alex Crown. They sped through the jump-off to finish in 36.39 seconds, more than two seconds faster than second place finishers, Conor Swail (IRL) and Dillinger.
Farrington said he saw Swail’s ride and “thought it was a very competitive round.”
He added, “My horse is naturally quicker. I thought I took a little more of a chance. I wanted to be sure that I was ahead of him.”
There were 13 in the jump-off out of 52 entries, and seven of those were double clear. Following Farrington and Swail in the results were Molly Ashe (USA) and Pjotter van de Zonnehoeve, who were clear in 40.44 seconds. Fourth place went to Taizo Sugitani (JPN) and Avenzio, who had a time of 41.14 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Chesney were fifth in 42.70 seconds.
This was the pair’s first FEI Ranking win since their partnership began in February. Aron S has been a consistent competitor, having placed in the top three in 1.50m competitions in Wellington, FL, and at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in England.
“He’s a very competitive horse,” Farrington acknowledged. “We did the 1.45m yesterday to get one round under his belt. I thought he really jumped great today; he was flying. If he’s going to be in that form, we’ll do a lot here.”
When Farrington first started riding Aron S, it took some time to adjust to his way of going, and Farrington quickly realized that it would take compromise.
He explained, “He likes to go his own way. If you try to have too much control, he gets upset. I started in the beginning of really trying to train him and make him more rideable. Once I felt like I got him to listen, to a certain extent, now I let him go a little more free, the way he likes to go.”
It was a good step up for Aron S into the winner’s circle, Farrington said. “It’s good for him. It’s nice because he’s been very close, and he got a good win here today. I look for more good things from him before I leave,” he concluded.
Deslauriers Gallops to U25 Victory
Sixteen-year-old Lucy Deslauriers started her Spruce Meadows Summer Series off well with a win in the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup. She missed the opening ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, while in school, but was happy to come out to Spruce Meadows and compete in the Meadows on the Green.
“This is my third year showing here, but I’ve been coming here since I was very young, just sitting and watching my parents,” she said of Mario and Lisa Deslauriers, both top show jumpers. “It’s a very special place for me, not only to compete in this ring and at this horse show, but to win makes it even more special.”
Deslauriers and Hester, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Wandor Van de Mispelaere x Palestro VD Begijnakke), set the winning time with a clear round in 39.52 seconds. They just tipped Daniel Coyle (IRL) on Susan Grange’s Tienna, who finished in 40.13 seconds.
It was a strong gallop to the final oxer on the jump-off course that sealed the win for Deslauriers, who picked up the pace when she heard her father calling for more speed.
“I heard him yelling, and I knew what I had to do,” she said. “I added one too many to the double (combination), so I knew I had to make it up somewhere. He has a really big stride, so I just tried to use that to my advantage as best I could.
“I took a bit of a flier!” she laughed. “But it was the only one I saw. It was the only way to do it, so I just kept kicking and hoping it would go well. I trust him completely. I knew if I just steered in the right direction, he would take care of it. He did just that.”
Third place went to Kelli Cruciotti and Chamonix H, winners of the inaugural U25 competition at Spruce Meadows last week. Cruciotti had a time of 42.89 seconds with no faults. The fourth double clear out of seven total in the jump-off was Jennifer Gates on Lord Levisto, who recorded a time of 46.25 seconds for fourth place.
Deslauriers commented that the footing was “amazing as always,” and was mindful of the time allowed on the first round course set by Musette.
“I thought it was a great course. There were a lot of challenges, and the time was definitely something to think about,” she confirmed. “There were a few people with just one time fault. Overall I thought it was a really good class. I was really excited.”
Deslauriers will continue to compete with Hester in the U25 series at Spruce Meadows along with other 1.45m competitions. She hopes to move up to the 1.50m division to gain more experience in the larger competitions.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament continues on Saturday, June 18, with the McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.45m and Repsol Cup 1.50m.
Eric Lamaze and Check Picobello Z. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The Spruce Meadows Summer Series continues with the ‘Continental’ CSI 5* Tournament, and it was Eric Lamaze (CAN) who took home the first big win of the week in the Husky Energy Classic 1.50m with Check Picobello Z. Second place went to Tiffany Foster (CAN) on Brighton, while Sameh El Dahan (EGY) riding WKD Diva finished third. In the Wipro Cup 1.45m, Ray Texel (USA) rode Baldira to victory.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament runs June 15-19, featuring the Scotiabank Cup 1.55m on Friday, June 17, the Repsol Cup 1.50m on Saturday, June 18, and the highlight competition, the CP Grand Prix, on Sunday, June 19.
In the Husky Energy Cup 1.50m, there were 11 clear rounds and six double clears out of 38 entries that competed over a course designed by Luc Musette of Belgium. Setting the early leading time as the second to go in the ring, Sameh El Dahan and WKD Diva were clear in 42.39 seconds, which would hold up for third place.
Seven horses later, it was Lamaze and Check Picobello Z, a ten-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Cardento x Orlando) owned by Artisan Farms LLC and Torrey Pines Stable, that flew around the jump-off. Coming around the last turn, Lamaze picked up the pace even more with an electric gallop to the final vertical. They brought the winning time down to 39.10 seconds, shaving more than three seconds off of El Dahan’s time.
Lamaze could not sit easy though, knowing that Artisan Farms teammate Tiffany Foster was next in the ring on Brighton.
“Everybody did eight (strides) from one to two, and then six across, and the run to the liverpool (fence) was quite important,” Lamaze recounted. “I saw something really wild, distance-wise, and then I saw something more conservative and I backed up to conservative. He’s not a great turner still, so I had to be cautious around to the double (combination). I didn’t see Sameh go, but I knew Tiffany was after me and that horse is very fast, so I had to step it up. I saw the opportunity at the second to last fence, to take [a stride] out and take a risk. Once that worked out, I thought, ‘Well, why not keep it going? Go for broke!’”
Foster and Brighton made a valiant effort, but were slower in 40.35 seconds for second place.
Fourth place went to Luis Alejandro Plascencia (MEX) and Salamera de la Nutria, who finished in 43.36 seconds. Elizabeth Gingras (CAN) and Avalon 280 were fifth with a time of 45.84 seconds.
Lamaze gave credit to Check Picobello Z for making the effort to keep the last jump up.
“The horse helped me out, to be honest. It’s luck; in the end it just comes down to the effort from the horse,” he said. “We’re going at speed to verticals that probably aren’t meant to be jumped clean. Some of the horses react well (at speed), and some get lost a bit. I love the horse for a lot of reasons, but I always felt that I could never be fast because he’s a little mouthy and needs guidance. I’m so happy.”
Lamaze started with “Pico” three years ago when he was purchased from Ilan Ferder, but an injury last year set the grey gelding back. Starting up in Florida this winter, Lamaze was pleasantly surprised that he picked up where he left off.
“I was so sad last year that he did get hurt. I felt like that if I had the complete year, I would have a 1.60m horse with all the experience,” he remarked. “Now I have a 1.60m horse that is still lacking a bit of experience. It’s a good upcoming horse for me; I like him. When you have a horse that you produce jumping at this level and going fast when you didn’t think [that], it’s a lot of fun. It’s a fun part of the sport.”
Texel Is Fastest with Baldira
Riding out of the 53rd spot in the order of 76 entries, Ray Texel (USA) and Baldira, an 11-year-old Oldenburg mare by Baloubet du Rouet x Carthago, secured the win with a clear round and the fastest time of 63.60 seconds in the Wipro Cup 1.45m.
Texel just slipped past Andrew Ramsay (USA) and Cocq A Doodle, who recorded a time of 63.94 seconds for second place in the speed competition. Third place went to Ian Millar (USA) and Baranus who were clear in 64.96 seconds. Nick Dello Joio (USA) and Contiki were fourth in 65.07 seconds, and Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Special Lux were fifth with a time of 66.13 seconds that resulted in one time fault.
Owner Paul Schockemohle and friend Florian Meyer zu Hartum sent Baldira to Texel just over a year ago. Schockemohle has stayed as an owner, along with a new owner, Katie Harris, one of Texel’s clients.
“I think from my previous results with Fleur, ages ago, I’ve been labeled as good with hot mares,” Texel said with a smile. “It’s a great relationship. The mare and I have now had sufficient time to really get to know each other. We had a nice couple of weeks in Vancouver. She was jumping beautifully. After the week off for her, for me to arrive and have a nice, solid day like this, I couldn’t be happier. We have a great team of people.”
Competing in the Meadows on the Green worked out well for Baldira, said Texel. The open grass field and large, wide jumps give Baldira pause and instead of fighting against her rider, she pays attention and respects the course.
Texel added, “I allow her to carry me and let the jumps be her fight. She’s had enough time with me now to know that ride. The more imposition in front of the horse, for her to fight against, tends to bring her to a better level.”
The duo competed at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series in 2015, and it was satisfying to return for victory in their first competition. Texel believes he will compete with Baldira in Sunday’s CP Grand Prix, but will make sure he does what is best for her.
“Now that I’ve had more time with her, I hope I’m making more mindful choices in this circuit, how I’ll bring her along before the final week,” he said. “It’s nice to have a win the first day, but I don’t ever allow those victories to impact my decisions as far as the plan for the horse and what is right for her.”
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament continues on Friday, June 17, with a full day of competition, including the Friends of the Meadows U25 Cup, Altagas Cup 1.45m, and Scotiabank Cup 1.55m.
Richard Spooner and Cristallo. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – One of the most challenging competitions at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, the CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby always has plenty of drama for spectators. Sunday was no different as Richard Spooner (USA) and Cristallo won for the second year in a row and third time in their careers. Lisa Carlsen (CAN) and Worlds Judgement finished second, while Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Ridley were third.
In the ATCO Classic 1.45m, Conor Swail took the win aboard Cenzo. Sunday’s competitions marked the end of the Spruce Meadows ‘National’, presented by Rolex. It was another incredible week of turnout at the Spruce Meadows ‘National’, with 34,561 in attendance on the final day and 79,455 throughout the week.
The Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament runs June 15-19 with more top CSI 5* show jumping competition, featuring the Scotiabank Cup 1.55m on Friday, June 17, the Repsol Cup 1.50m on Saturday, June 18, and the highlight competition, the CP Grand Prix, on Sunday, June 19.
There were 15 entries in the CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby, and 12 completed the course. The course, which was designed by Leopoldo Palacios nine years ago, is the same each year. The test of endurance and stamina asks questions at a variety of jumps, including double liverpools, the table bank, the derby bank, and the Devil’s Dyke. There are 19 numbered obstacles and 25 jumping efforts on course. While the derby has been held since 1990, the course changed in 2007. Since then, there have only been three clear rounds.
The early pacesetter was Irishman Daniel Coyle on Ridley, a 10-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding (Ustinov x Adiantus AS) owned by Susan Grange. They just missed joining the jump-off as they had four jumping faults and one time fault in 166.91 seconds. They would finish in third place.
Coyle only recently traveled to the United States for a job through Conor Swail and Barry O’Connor, so his relationship with Ridley is a new one. But he has experience in derby competition, having competed in the Hickstead Derby for the last three years.
“I never won it or came close to winning it, but I always loved doing it,” he said of the Hickstead Derby. “I actually hadn’t planned to jump this class on the horse. We thought maybe it would be too much for him; he’s only nine and only just getting to this level. When I heard there wasn’t an awful lot in it, I said we might as well try. It’s his type of thing. He’s so quiet and does absolutely everything you ask of him. He’s a brilliant horse for these types of classes. He’s a real trier; he’ll try every time. I’m really glad now that we jumped him in it.”
Eleven trips later, it was Lisa Carlsen and Worlds Judgement, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare by Judgement, a horse that Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden rode to victory in this same event three years in a row in 2006-2008. Their four faults in the first round in 158.74 seconds put them into the lead.
When asked about Worlds Judgement’s lineage, Carlsen remarked, “She’ll eventually win it three times too, I think. She’s going to live up to her father. This is her class. It will be in the future. I think she’s just going to learn as she goes a little bit. She’s made the mistake at that Devil’s Dyke (twice). Last year we came in too fast and had it in front, and this year it was slow and we had it behind. She keeps learning as she’s doing it. I think eventually I’ll be sitting there (as the winner) and Richard will be sitting here.”
Spooner and Cristallo went last and had a rail for four faults in 162.45 seconds to tie Carlsen and force a jump-off.
Carlsen and Worlds Judgement returned for the jump-off first and had electric speed from the start. In a short rollback to the “Canadian flag planks” jump, they had a slip, and the horse was unable to get her feet under her to clear the fence. They finished with four faults in a very fast 42.89 seconds.
“She really lost her balance in the corner to the plank, which was unfortunate,” Carlsen said. “But that’s the shot you take when you go that fast. [Richard is] fast; he could outrun me. My strategy was basically to make him chase me, go clean, and hope he makes a mistake.”
Spooner went in knowing that he could go slower for a clear round and the win, and that was exactly what he did. They were clear in 52.38 seconds for victory.
“When I watched [Lisa] go, I was sweating,” Spooner admitted. “I was deeply concerned as fast as she was going. It was not going to be so easy. I got lucky.”
Spooner described Cristallo as a bird in a horse’s body. He said, “All that horse wants to do is fly.
“Lisa left the door open for me by having the rail. I made the decision just to chicken-peck my way around and take my time. But if you have one down anywhere on the course with that strategy, your goose is cooked…I’m done with my fowl jokes,” he laughed.
Cristallo, an 18-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Caretino x Cicero) owned by Show Jumping Syndication Intl, shows no signs of slowing down as he repeated his derby victory at Spruce Meadows. They also won the competition in 2012, and competed for the first time in the CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby in 2006.
“On the ground he’s as sweet as can be, and he doesn’t want to go anywhere. When you get on him, he wants to go everywhere,” Spooner said. “In the prize giving, he basically ran away with me. I had to pull up so I wasn’t lapping my fellow competitors.”
The love that Spooner has for Cristallo is obvious and shows when he talks about the horse.
“That horse has meant so much to me and done so much for me,” he expressed. “At this point in his career, every time we have a round period, let alone a successful round, it really strikes a chord in me. He’s been a huge part of my life, my family’s life, for over a decade. I just look forward to every ride on him.”
Swail Continues Winning Streak
Conor Swail of Ireland continued his streak of leading the victory gallop at the Spruce Meadows ‘National’, presented by Rolex, when he topped the ATCO Classic 1.45m with Cenzo, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Harley VDL x Cavalier), owned by Ilan Ferder and Tal Milstein.
Swail was the last to go in a jump-off of 15, out of an original starting order of 39. The leading time was set early in the jump-off by Antonio Chedraui (MEX) on Corcega La Silla, who finished in 36.07 seconds. Swail and Cenzo sped around the course and won with a time of 35.56 seconds.
Swail had never gone that fast with Cenzo before, he said. “The plan was to run and try to keep it as smooth as possible,” he continued. “His left turn is not as good as is right, so the turn back to the Rolex (jump) I thought would be too slow for me to be the winner, but he actually did that quite good. I got a lot of time up to the last. He cut in and raced hard at it and jumped it really well.”
Third place went to Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Acita with a time of 36.61 seconds. Leslie Howard (USA) and Up & Blue Chapelle were fourth in 37.11 seconds, while Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Fortis Fortuna were fifth in 37.23 seconds.
Swail started riding Cenzo this past winter in the 1.30m Jumpers and had moved up to the 1.45m division by the end of the winter circuit. He competed in Mexico before trying his hand at Spruce Meadows.
“He’s got a little bit of mileage,” Swail said. “He’s a little bit difficult in the mouth, but very careful. He’s a good jumper. He scared himself a little bit in the 1.50m the last time he was out, so that was a great comeback for him.
Cenzo will stay competing at the Summer Series for the four weeks of tournaments to further his education and gain consistency.
“We want to improve the rideability,” Swail explained. “That’s why we’re here at Spruce Meadows, to try and collect prize money, jump clear rounds, and work on things that need to be improved. It’s a great place to be to do that.”
The Spruce Meadows Summer Series continues with the ‘Continental’ tournament on June 15-19.
Conor Swail and Martha Louise. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – It was a beautiful day of top show jumping competition at the Spruce Meadows ‘National’, presented by Rolex. Spectators numbered 28,477 to see Ireland’s Conor Swail win the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. It was the highlight event of the CSI 5* tournament, which concludes on Sunday, June 12. Second place went to Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5, while Rich Fellers (USA) and Flexible placed third. Earlier in the day, Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Rosana du Park won the Transcanada Winning Round 1.50m.
The Spruce Meadows ‘National’, presented by Rolex, concludes on Sunday, June 12, with the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby.
Thirty-three entries took to the course in the RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, which was designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who will be designing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Swail said of the course, “There was a premium on carefulness today. There were a lot of tall, light verticals. Scope-wise it wasn’t a huge test, but I thought he did an excellent job creating the right amount of clear rounds.”
The first phase was held earlier in the morning and had ten entries. There was one clear round in Maggie McAlary (USA) and HH Ciske van Overis. They were the first to return in the jump-off and had one rail for four faults in 47.95 seconds. They would finish in fifth place.
Next in was Jonathan McCrea (USA) on Aristoteles V. They were more careful in a time of 49.72 seconds in order to ensure their clear round, which would hold up for fourth place.
McCrea has developed Aristoteles, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by Candy Tribble, since he was five years old. “To produce him to this level has been a long road,” he said. “I’ve believed in him from the start. This year he’s really stepped up to jump the bigger classes. He jumped his first Nations Cup a few weeks ago. I felt very relaxed today when I walked the course. He stepped up to the plate and delivered, so I was happy with him.”
In the first round, McCrea finished exactly on the 86-second time allowed.
“The two 1.55m classes earlier in the week, for me personally, built my horse up to today. I was clear with a time fault in both of them, so that was in the back of my mind today. I could hear the people in the box in the middle of the ring, as I was going to the second to last oxer, they were clucking. I thought, ‘Oh geez, I’m a bit slow here,’” he said with a smile.
Rich Fellers (USA) and his expectation-defying horse, Flexible, brought the winning time down to 43.77 seconds with no faults and they would end up in third place. The 20-year-old Irish Sport Horse stallion, owned by Harry and Mollie Chapman, has survived multiple potentially career-ending injuries. He looked as bright and sharp as ever as he made easy work of the jump-off.
“It’s kind of getting to the point where I’m literally living a dream,” said Fellers. “He felt as good today as he’s ever felt. There’s really no explanation. I do notice little things day-to-day, working with him, he’s getting older and he has some of the typical characteristics of an older athlete. But when he walks in the ring, he gets young. Maybe he gets a lot out of adrenaline. We just take it day by day and see how he feels.”
Going just that much faster next in the jump-off was the crowd favorite, Canada’s Eric Lamaze on Fine Lady 5. Zipping around the course, they stopped the timers in 41.96 seconds.
“She’s naturally quick, and I knew Conor was after me,” Lamaze said. “I thought I’d done enough, or for sure enough to put the pressure that he had to take a few risks and see where it goes. I’m thrilled with this mare today. She jumped fantastic.”
When Lamaze started riding Fine Lady 5, a 13-year-old Hanoverian mare (Forsyth x Hauptstutbuch) owned by Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines Stable, he did not consider her to be a solid 1.60m horse. However, when asked to step up, she has proven that she can be competitive at some the biggest venues in the world.
“She proved to me that she can jump some big courses if you manage her well and build her up. She again stepped up today to do a bigger class quite easy,” he commented. “She’s a very light, Thoroughbred-y type jumper. She doesn’t have raw power. That’s why all these speed classes and jump-offs, she runs so fast. You just have to give her the courage to look at a big jump and believe she can jump it. She’s very talented and very careful. It’s important that she has a lot of confidence in me and I have a lot of confidence in her. That’s how a little horse like that can make it over some of these big fences.”
But it would not be enough as the last horse in the ring was able to find that bit more speed to win. Swail and Martha Louise, a 12-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Maloubet de Pleveille x Wolfgang) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, opened up around the course, made a daring dash to the double combination, and cleared the final oxer in 40.66 seconds.
Swail said he took the “fastest and shortest route,” and it was his turn back to the combination that may have made the difference. He explained, “Going to the double I took a huge risk. I saw one very early and she was very, very good to jump in and out of that double. Once I had done the double – this is what goes through your head when you’re running around at that speed – I thought I’d done enough, so I’d go a little wider to the last and make sure to clear the back rail. That’s how it worked out for me.”
Going last in the jump-off “made a big difference,” Swail said. “I watched Eric’s round and I saw how good of a round he had. There were five clears, I have a fast horse, I ride not too bad, so I thought I would give it a good go and it all came off very well today.”
Of his win, Swail said, “Honestly, I’m over the moon. I thought today, in this big ring, it’s one of the biggest wins I’ve had here. I was just saying to Eric earlier in the day that I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot because Martha hasn’t shown so much since Florida. She really excelled today. It’s nice sometimes when you get a bit of a surprise. I suppose when Martha Louise comes here, she loves this arena. She was amazing, phenomenal today.”
Lamaze Leads Winning Round
The Transcanada Winning Round 1.50m had 28 entries. In this format, the top 10 regardless of first round faults return for a jump-off. Faults do not carry through to the jump-off, but determine the order of go.
Lamaze and Rosana du Park, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare by Kannan owned by Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines Stable, were fast and clear in the first round, setting them up for the perfect position in the second round order.
“This mare doesn’t often have four faults, (but) if she did, that would be all she had,” Lamaze pointed out. “I just had to look at the time on the board if I had an unlucky rail (in the first round). Fortunately she jumped clear and I had the pole position, last to go in. I had my plan. There were maybe a couple of options, but I thought I would just take the route the others took more or less, but put on some more speed. I would have gone faster if I had to go first.”
When Lamaze entered the ring, he was following fellow Artisan Farms rider Tiffany Foster (CAN), who had set the leading time with a clear round in 55.88 seconds on Brighton. Lamaze and Rosana du Park sped around the course, turning in a time just under in 55.69 seconds for victory.
Third place went to Sameh El Dahan (EGY) on WKD Diva. They recorded a clear round in 56.82 seconds. Conor Swail (IRL) and Hetman of Color J, with a time of 60.53 seconds, finished fourth. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) and Babel were fifth with four faults in 57.28 seconds.
Lamaze is the winningest rider in Spruce Meadows’ 41-year history, earning more than $4.55 million. But he said that winning never gets old, especially at Spruce Meadows.
“They do it in such a fun way with the presentations. You can go around the world and not see presentations like that at major shows,” he said. “Here it’s fun to ride in (to the ring in) the golf cart too; you don’t do that at any other show. I love the presentations here, and that’s what keeps you wanting to win.”
Rosana du Park was one of a handful of horses that were purchased by his owners, Artisan Farms, a few years ago and started competing at Spruce Meadows as young horses in the 1.30m and 1.40m Jumpers. She and Check Picobello Z are now winning consistently at the 1.50m level around the world.
“We’ve had some good luck, but you need great owners behind you in order to do this,” he acknowledged. “There are plenty of horses that we purchased, that you will never see because they weren’t good enough. That’s the game. You don’t bat 100 buying horses and competing. You’ll make some mistakes, and some horses will disappoint you. With Artisan Farms behind me, and Tiffany, they’ve made it possible and not be afraid to buy young horses, trying to find a special one, and get great horses to compete on. We’re very fortunate to have that.”
With an Artisan Farms 1-2 finish, Lamaze was happy. “We’re all on the same team, and you have to cheer for each other. If [Tiffany] went after me, she probably could have caught what I just did on Rosana. She had one down and went earlier, but she came back to finish second, which is a very good result,” he said.
The highlight competition at the ‘National’, presented by Rolex, on Sunday, June 12, is the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby and ATCO Classic 1.45m.
Jack Hardin Towell Jr. and Lucifer V. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – Jack Hardin Towell Jr. of the United States and Lucifer V won the RBC Capital Markets Cup 1.50m on Friday at the Spruce Meadows ‘National’, presented by Rolex. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid finished second, while Ben Asselin (CAN) was third on Plume de la Roque. Winning for the first time in the International Ring in her first trip to Spruce Meadows, Kelli Cruciotti (USA) rode Chamonix H to victory in the Encana Under 25 Cup, a brand-new addition to the schedule for the Spruce Meadows Summer Series. The CSI 5* tournament continues through Sunday, June 12.
Highlights of the week’s competition include the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 11, and the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby on Sunday, June 12. 2016 Olympic Games course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil is setting the tracks in the International Ring during the ‘National’, presented by Rolex.
The RBC Capital Markets Cup 1.50m had 21 entries, and eight were clear to move on to the jump-off. Setting the opening pace with a clear round was Tiffany Foster (CAN) on Cadalora, who stopped the timers in 45.02 seconds. They would eventually finish in fourth place.
Calgary’s own Ben Asselin and Plume de la Roque lowered the winning time down to 44.00 seconds to hold onto third place. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) and Candela slipped into fifth place with a time of 45.69 seconds.
Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid made a bid for the win with a speedy time of 42.61 seconds, but it was last to go who proved to be the best. Jack Hardin Towell Jr. and Lucifer V, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding (Lord Pezi x Grandeur) owned by Jennifer Gates, put the pedal down to win in 40.96 seconds.
“I was lucky enough to go last and see him go,” Towell said of Lamaze. “My horse is naturally quick, so I went quite fast. I knew what I had to do, and I thought I did enough. Luckily the last two jumps I caught right out of stride. My horse is very naturally quick. I gave it a shot, and it worked out.”
This was the pair’s second win of the week, having previously topped the Back on Track Cup 1.50m. Towell has stepped Lucifer V, his top horse, down to the 1.50m competitions this week and focused on his other horse, New York, for the grand prix.
Towell noted, “After World Cup Finals, it didn’t go the way I would have liked, so maybe I lost a little confidence in myself and Lucifer. It’s nice to go back down and gain confidence again. My plan is to do him in the grand prix next week. I entered him in the right classes. Now I have a lot of confidence in him going into next week.”
Lamaze may have a new star in Chacco Kid, but he did not go all out in this jump-off.
“Hardin is a very fast rider, and I knew that perhaps I left the door open,” he conceded. “In my case, I felt like I asked as much out of my horse tonight [as I could]. If I went after Hardin tonight, I don’t think much would have changed for me. It’s a new horse for me that I’m really happy with, that I love, so I’m a bit cautious. But I thought I put enough pressure to make him run, and at that point anything can happen.”
Lamaze termed Chacco Kid as a “great one,” and added, “He has everything to me that great horses do. After that, he has to prove me right, but I’m really excited about this horse. Winning or not, I was very excited about his jump-off.”
Asselin also felt that he could be caught when he came out of the ring after his jump-off ride. He said, “My horse jumped fantastic. I was fast enough, but I knew there was quite a bit left on the table. I was slow to the Chinese oxer and then also to the double. I was thrilled with the way my horse jumped.”
He has been riding Plume de la Roque for just over a year, and their partnership has taken time to develop.
“It took me quite a long time to get in tune with her,” he revealed. “This coming year we’ve really started to click together. It’s quite exciting. She had some great results, like earlier this year in Mexico, and she feels on form for the rest of the circuit.”
Cruciotti Tops Encana U25 Cup
There were 30 entries in the Encana U25 Cup 1.45m, a new competition added to the schedule for the Spruce Meadows Summer Series. Showcasing the best young riders in the sport of show jumping, the competition had 10 go clear to contest the jump-off with seven double clears.
The fastest in that second round was 18-year-old Kelli Cruciotti (USA) on Chamonix H, a 15-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Equest Carnute x Caletto II) owned by Serenity Equestrian Venture. They sped through the shortened course in 34.80 seconds for a decisive win.
“I am typically a very slow rider, and we’ve been working on really going for it, not trying to set up so early,” Cruciotti explained. “My trainer Peter Lutz told me the plan. When you have ten in the jump-off, you just kind of have to go for it. Originally my plan was to go inside the open water to the vertical, and it really wasn’t there, so I kind of called an audible and zipped around. Luckily [then] it was right there. To the last jump as well, it was my plan to go as fast as I could with leaving all of them up.”
Juan Jose Zendejas (MEX) and Hector van de Papendijk finished second on 35.64 seconds, while Nayel Nassar (EGY) were third in 36.07 seconds. Andres Azcarraga Rivera Torres (MEX) rode Contendros II to fourth place in 36.14 seconds, while Alexandra Crown (USA) and Von Cim were fifth with a time of 36.58 seconds.
Cruciotti and Chamonix H have plenty of experience in U25 competition, having won the Artisan Farms Under 25 Grand Prix Series at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival. Cruciotti was the youngest rider in the Encana U25 Cup, and this was her first time competing at Spruce Meadows.
“It was a feeling like no other,” she expressed. “I was fortunate enough to have a very seasoned horse, but you’re still nervous when you go into a ring like that. It’s very intimidating walking through the clock tower. She jumped incredible in both rounds.”
The Under 25 competitions have become popular at major events in North America, and Cruciotti felt it was a special addition to Spruce Meadows.
“It’s such a fantastic idea for Spruce Meadows to do this. It’s such a good opportunity for riders to gain this valuable experience and yet not be put in with riders of such high experience,” she said. “The classes are equally as hard; there are lots of fantastic horses with fantastic riders. It’s definitely still a challenge. When you go into the ring and you’re in with everyone else, it’s a bit intimidating, but this lowers it just a little bit. It’s such high standard of sport and top show jumping [here].”
Cruciotti has been riding Chamonix H for four years and called her a “real horse of a lifetime.” While her horse is only three years younger than her, the experience has helped her grow as a rider. “She loves this just as much as I do,” she said. “Even though she’s 15, I feel like she’s found her second wind, if you will. I believe in her, and we feed off each other. She gives you that extra oomph that you want to win and be competitive. It really helps when you have a horse like that.”
Cruciotti will continue competing at Spruce Meadows for the remainder of the Summer Series and plans to compete in each of the U25 competitions held at the four tournaments.
“It’s an incredible venue. It’s fantastic that the sponsors, Encana, put this on, and everyone at Spruce Meadows. I’ve never been at a horse show like this in my life,” she said.
Five different countries were represented in the inaugural U25 competition at Spruce Meadows. The decision to add it for up-and-coming grand prix riders was an easy one, said Spruce Meadows Senior Vice-President Ian Allison.
“It seemed natural, particularly on our tournament schedules, with the big horses having Friday night off,” he said. “It allows the young riders a chance to come in and feel a little bit more at ease, but also step up to a level with one less element of pressure. They’re not taking on Farrington, Lamaze, Millar. We thought we would try it. We were delighted that we had 30 entries, it was very international, and it was a good competition. We like all of those things that represent what we’re trying to be. It’s something that we think will allow the young stars to gain valuable experience. It was a legitimate FEI competition.”
Kent Farrington with Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – For the second evening in a row, it was American Kent Farrington, ranked number six in the world, who led the highlight competition of the day with Gazelle. This time it was in the ATB Financial Cup 1.55m, where he topped Philipp Weishaupt (GER) on Chico 784 and Eric Lamaze (CAN) on Check Picobello Z. Lamaze won earlier in the day in the ATCO Challenge Cup 1.50m with Melody des Hayettes, and Conor Swail led another victory gallop in the Westmoreland Coal Cup 1.50m on Dillinger. The first CSI 5* week of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, the ‘National’, presented by Rolex, continues through Sunday, June 12.
Highlights of the week’s competition include the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 11, and the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby on Sunday, June 12. The course designer in the International Ring for the ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, is Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who will be the course designer at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
There were 43 entries in the ATB Financial Cup, and 15 made it through to the shortened course. There were nine double clear rounds. Farrington and Gazelle were the final ones to go in the jump-off, chasing a leading time of 42.56 seconds set by Weishaupt and Chico 784. Farrington sliced turns and opened up Gazelle’s stride to come home just ahead for victory in 41.46 seconds.
Third place went to Lamaze and Check Picobello Z in a time of 42.70 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Tripple X placed fourth when they finished in 42.89 seconds, while Antonio Chedraui (MEX) and La Bamba were fifth with a time of 44.26 seconds.
Farrington has ridden Gazelle, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Indoctro), for three years. He co-owns her with Robin Parsky, and felt that she is progressing nicely and finding her form.
This is the fourth time that Farrington will have his name etched on the trophy for the ATB Financial Cup. After years of climbing the rungs of the sport, Farrington has become one of the top names in show jumping.
“I’ve been in the sport for a long time,” he confirmed. “I started at the bottom of the sport, similar to Eric, with no family background. I think it’s a dream to ride [at Spruce Meadows] in the first place, and then to win here is even better. I have a lot of appreciation for all of the people that do this at a high level. I’ve learned from them. I used to watch Eric and Cagney jumping the derby year after year. I’m a student of the sport. To go in there and compete with them, and to win, is a dream since I was a kid.”
Farrington was inspired by Lamaze and the way that he rose through the ranks and was able to continually win in North America and Europe.
He said, “Eric is a tremendous competitor. He took what he was doing in North America and challenged himself again and went to Europe and went full swing at it. He didn’t go halfway. I watched him take Hickstead and go against the best horses in the world and beat them. He really went with no fear, and that was inspiring for me to see, somebody that I knew came from no background in the sport, climbed his way up, and then go over holding nothing back. It was something for me to watch and think if he can do it, then I can try to do it too.”
Lamaze was appreciative of the description, and replied that Farrington is also one to watch for the way he runs his business.
“These are very kind words,” he said. “He has one of the most successful operations in the United States and is one of the best riders in the world. Not only do you see him winning this class tonight and it’s incredible, but you see what he does with his students, and what he does with his whole operation, what he gives back to the sport. That’s what is very impressive to me. We see more than just the winning round. We see what goes on in the morning, what goes on every day, the operation that they’re running. Kent is one of the best today in our business. Ian Millar always says every day in this sport that you’re learning. No one can wake up in the morning and think that they know everything. You learn everything from horses; every day is a learning experience.”
This is the first time that Weishaupt has competed at the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, and he doesn’t see much difference between the Summer Series and the ‘Masters’ in September. While he was in the lead, he was nervous with Farrington and Lamaze still to go in the jump-off.
“To end up in the top three [here], you have to be at your best; otherwise you don’t make it,” he admitted. “The facility, the jumping, the grass field – it’s so much fun and so beautiful. I just love it here. When Kent is last, I’m really scared and starting to sweat. I thought I was going to end up third because I was scared of Eric too. At least he was kind to me, the European guest, but Kent wasn’t really.”
Chico 784, an 11-year-old Hanoverian gelding by Cordalme Z x Sandro, was bred by owner Madeline Winter-Schulze, who also owns horses for German legend Ludger Beerbaum.
Weishaupt remembered the first time he saw Chico 784 as a three-year-old, when he went to see the promising horse at Winter-Schulze’s farm.
“I saw him standing there, and he’s like the tallest animal on the planet,” he laughed. “I wasn’t sure if it was a giraffe, an elephant, or a horse. I came close to him, and the jockey who sat on him before told me I should be a bit careful. I said, ‘Yeah, no problem.’ I got on him, and it took exactly four seconds and I was lying in the corner and he was kicking behind me. That was our first date. It wasn’t so successful.”
Weishaupt started riding Chico 784 as a four-year-old, and while he termed the horse’s years at five and six as “not very good,” the improvement gained steadily. “He for sure loves the big grass field. He’s a big horse with a huge stride. He’s super smart and actually when you see him, you think he’s a slow horse, but he can turn really quick and he’s really, really sensitive. It’s great fun when he jumps.”
Farrington and Weishaupt said they plan to stick with their top mounts for Saturday’s $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, while Lamaze will compete with Fine Lady 5.
Lamaze Gets His Win
Opening up the second day of competition at the ‘National’, presented by Rolex, Canada’s Eric Lamaze got his victory. He was a bit of a bridesmaid on opening day with two second place finishes, so he was determined to get the win. He and Melody des Hayettes, owned by Artisan Farms LLC, topped a 12-horse jump-off in the ATCO Challenge Cup 1.50m. Seven of the 12 were double clear out of an original 30 entries in the competition.
“I’ve gotten used to winning one class on the first day here,” Lamaze said with a smile. “Whether it’s luck or not, I’ve won quite a bit over the last decade and I always feel good winning the first day. Yesterday I was second twice. In the last competition, I really tried. I was first to go, and I was not going to be second! I gave it a go, but unfortunately had one down. I like winning here. It’s not easy to win here.”
Lamaze and Melody des Hayettes, a 12-year-old Zangersheide mare (Mozart des Hayettes X Ryon d’Anzex X), tipped Richard Spooner (USA) and Chivas Z with a winning time of 40.39 seconds. Spooner recorded a time of 40.78 seconds. Third place went to Vanessa Mannix on Winslow High, who stopped the timers in 45.95 seconds. Enrique Gonzalez (MEX) and Chacna had a time of 46.32 seconds for fourth place, while Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Brugal VDL were fifth in 47.10 seconds.
Lamaze took the ride over on “Melody” from Tiffany Foster at the end of 2015, so their newer partnership is still developing.
He said, “I didn’t know where I was going with that, but I knew that the mare was careful and she liked to go fast. I didn’t think I would be winning at Spruce Meadows in the 1.50m this quickly. Sometimes you just click with a horse, and it goes faster than you think. This one seems to be my kind of horse.”
With a second place in the speed competition Wednesday and the win Thursday, Melody has no problem going fast day after day. Lamaze confirmed, “She’s a runner. She’s not a power jumper; she’s a great 1.50m speed horse. But that’s her job; it’s what she does. She enjoys going fast. For the 1.50m [here] if you don’t have that, you might as well not compete.”
Swail Takes Two
Ireland’s Conor Swail has started his Spruce Meadows Summer Series with a bang by taking a second win on the second day. Wednesday he and Cita were victorious, while Thursday Swail rode Dillinger, a nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Contender x Capitol I) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, to the win in the Westmoreland Coal Cup 1.50m.
Swail topped a jump-off with 12 in it, while the original start list had 28 entries. He was one of four double clears, and he posted a time of 39.87 seconds. Luis Alejandro Plascencia (MEX) and Salamera de la Nutria slotted into second place in 41.56 seconds. Japan’s Taizo Sugitani and Avenzio were third with a time of 41.90 seconds, while Sameh El Dahan (EGY) and WKD Diva were fourth in 42.18 seconds. Fifth place went to Francisco Pasquel (MEX) and Naranjo, who had a time of 42.58 seconds with four faults.
Dillinger has been coming along nicely for Swail, and at just nine years old is showing promise for the future. Swail said that having two rails in Wednesday’s competition may have helped Dillinger win.
“Yesterday he went in and was a little green; he knocked the first fence and the third fence. It probably helped me for today actually because we had a nice, relaxed round after that,” he described. “After he had a mistake [yesterday], I kind of fancied my chances [today]. The course really suited him. It was just really big gallops. He left one step out everywhere more than anyone. I really used his stride to win today. Today I thought he was just outstanding.”
With Dillinger’s large size, Swail has been working on improving his speed.
He noted, “He’s very talented, very scopey. He’s a big guy, so he’s a bit more awkward than some of the other ones I have, but he’s a good horse and he’s had some great results.
“I do try and run him against the clock a little bit,” he continued. “He is a little slow, so I try and teach him to be a little quicker. It gets his mind a little quicker. I have taught him that quite well. His body is slow, but I think his mind is quite sharp and I’ve taught him to be quick on his feet.”
Regarding his success so far at the Summer Series, Swail said, “It’s really hard to win here, and I’ve had a great start. I have a great bunch of horses. It’s really nice to see that the owners are seeing such great successes.”
Kent Farrington and Gazelle. Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Calgary, AB, Canada – The Spruce Meadows Summer Series kicked off competition on Wednesday, June 8, with some of the best show jumpers in the world riding for top honors in the ‘National’, presented by Rolex. Kent Farrington (USA) won the highlight competition of the day, the Bantrel Cup 1.55m, with Gazelle. Conor Swail (IRL) and Cita were the fastest to capture the Erwin Hymer Group Cup 1.50m, while Jack Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V won the Back on Track Cup 1.50m. The CSI 5* tournament continues through Sunday, June 12.
Highlights of the week’s competition include the $500,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 11, and the $175,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby on Sunday, June 12. The course designer in the International Ring for the ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, is Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, who has been tapped to design for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Five of 29 starters in the Bantrel Cup 1.55m found the clear track to the jump-off, with pathfinder Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 taking the shortened course first. Their blazing time of 39.95 seconds would have been good for the win, but a rail down left them in fourth place.
Next in were Farrington and Gazelle, who were quick with less risk to go to the top of the leaderboard, clear in 42.18 seconds.
“I know Eric well, and I know that horse very well,” Farrington said. “I knew that was going to be the speed of the class, so I wanted to be sure to watch him go so I knew what I had to do. When he had a rail down, I thought I would go more measured than I had planned, but put enough pressure where the others had to go. He was really going all out there, and it would have been hard to beat if he hadn’t had that rail.”
Antonio Chedraui (MEX) and La Bamba were also clear in 46.83 seconds, which placed them third. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and Victor landed in fifth place with a time of 43.01 seconds and four faults.
Last to go, Yann Candele (CAN) and Showgirl slotted into second place with a strong time of 44.06 seconds despite a slip on course.
Candele said, “She’s in aluminum shoes. It makes the foot slippery even with caulks. Even with that, I saw the time. Even if I made both turns, it would be close, but I don’t think it would make the win.”
Gazelle, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Kashmir Van Shuttershof x Indoctro owned by Farrington and Robin Parsky, was Farrington’s mount for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto where they won the team bronze medal. Farrington noted that she is learning to be a good grand prix horse, and the plan for her time at Spruce Meadows is to gain mileage in bigger competitions.
All three riders commended Spruce Meadows on their improvements since last year. Candele noted, “The facility looks great, and as usual there has been some upgrading. It’s going to be great sport.”
Farrington added, “I love riding on grass. It’s one of my favorite parts of Spruce Meadows. The horses jump well on grass, and it’s better for them.”
Chedraui complimented, “I really love the place. I’ve been able to show many places in the world, and it’s pretty hard to find a place like this. Not only the footing, the stables, the warm-up rings that every year get better and better, but also the people and the ambience that you produce here. I think it’s really the best of the best.”
Swail Starts with Victory
There were 38 entries in the first competition of the year on the field of the International Ring in the Erwin Hymer Group Cup 1.50m. It was held as one round for speed, and the fastest of the day was Ireland’s Conor Swail on Cita, a 10-year-old Holsteiner mare (Casall x Pik Romero) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. Swail and Cita scorched the field by putting in a time of 65.46 seconds with no faults.
Five seconds behind was Canada’s Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze on Melody des Hayettes Z, owned by Artisan Farms LLC. They posted a clear round in a time of 70.45 seconds. Third place went to Antonio Chedraui (MEX) on Corcega La Silla in 73.72 seconds. Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Acita placed fourth in 75.33 seconds, while Antonio Maurer (MEX) on Galileo de Laubry was fifth in 75.90 seconds. There were seven clear rounds.
Swail and Cita were first paired last August, and he took his time with the “unbelievably careful” mare. This spring they won in Palgrave and Langley before topping the first competition at Spruce Meadows.
“She’s been amazing,” Swail said. “To go straight into that ring and jump 1.50m, and to do it the way she did it… I mean, she won by five seconds. I did a couple of turns that no one else did, and that’s basically I think where most of the time came from. I did an inside turn there, and when I did it and I saw the angle that I was at, I thought it was an awful, bad idea on my behalf. She was incredible to jump it.”
Swail plans to attempt his first derby at Spruce Meadows on Sunday in the CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby with Cita, and it will be her first derby as well. He feels confident though that her carefulness and energy will carry them well through the challenging competition.
“We’ve trained all the stuff at home, and she’s like, ‘No problem, no problem.’ There’s so much quality (that) when I’m jumping fence 24, I’m not going to run out of engine, that’s for sure. I like doing derbies but unless I’m in it to win it, I don’t want to go in it. The few years I’ve been here, I’ve never had anything suitable. I’ve practiced on her a few times at home, and I feel she’s very good at it and I think she has a good chance on Sunday, even though it’s her first go and mine.”
Towell Goes for Speed
Another 38 entries went to post for the Back on Track Cup 1.50m speed, and 14 were clear to lead the results. The fastest of those was Jack Hardin Towell (USA) on Jennifer Gates’s Lucifer V, who stopped the timers in 60.86 seconds for victory.
Eric Lamaze had to settle for another second place ribbon today, this time with Artisan Farms LLC’s Rosana du Park. They finished the course in 61.47 seconds. Fellow Canadian Vanessa Mannix and Dooley’s Deluxe were third in 67.13 seconds. Olympic gold medalist Leslie Howard of the United States was fourth with Utah in 68.14 seconds, while Ian Millar (CAN) and Teddy du Bosquetiau were fifth with a time of 68.81 seconds.
Towell brought Lucifer V, a 10-year-old Westphalian gelding (Lord Pezi x Grandeur) to Spruce Meadows last year with some success. He has grown into one of Towell’s top grand prix horses, performing well at CSI 5* events. After a month’s break following the winter season, Towell decided to step Lucifer V down this week while his second mount, New York, does the grand prix.
“There’s nothing like being over-horse-powered in a class!” he laughed. “I thought I would give it a little bit of a go. He jumped quite well, and he feels good. He always jumps well here. It was nice to step him down and go in there for both our confidence, together.”
With age comes wisdom, and Towell feels lucky that both of his top horses are maturing and growing.
He said, “It’s amazing how much they’ve grown in a year’s time. This class last year, Lucifer went in. I probably would have been close to winning, and then he saw something, spooked, and reared. It’s nice that both of my horses are 10 years old now; they’re a little older and more experienced. I feel like they’re coming along well.”
The Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, continues on Thursday featuring the ATCO Pipelines Cup 1.50m, the Westmoreland Coal Cup 1.50m, and the ATB Financial Cup 1.55m.
Ron Southern, co-founder of the legendary Spruce Meadows and iconic Alberta businessman, has passed away at the age of 85. (FEI/Spruce Meadows)
Lausanne (SUI), 22 January 2016 – Ron Southern, founder and Co-Chairman of Spruce Meadows, and iconic Alberta entrepreneur and businessman passed away Thursday morning at his home. He was 85.
Ron Southern and his wife Margaret (Marge) purchased Copithorne Ranch south of Calgary with the vision of establishing a world-class equestrian facility. Spruce Meadows was built for their two daughters, Nancy and Linda, who had long been involved in the sport. The Southerns opened the doors to Spruce Meadows in 1975 and hosted the first tournament the following year. Over the last 40 years, as a result of the leadership and vision of the Southern family, Spruce Meadows has become an iconic sports venue that is today recognised as one of the world’s leading venue for international and national Jumping competitions, hosting 300 events annually.
Since the venue opened, riders representing 57 countries have earned $110 million in prize money in front of almost 10 million visitors. Ron Southern’s daughter, Linda Southern-Heathcott, who competed in Jumping at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA), took over as president and CEO of Spruce Meadows in 2006.
An astute businessman, Ron Southern started the Alberta Trailer Company in 1947 with his father with only 15 trailers. It eventually became the ATCO Group, a Calgary-based conglomerate with interests ranging from construction trailers to pipelines to natural gas distribution. ATCO now has operations in more than 100 countries, 8,000 employees and $19 billion in assets. Ron Southern served as the company’s president for 48 years.
Ron Southern’s achievements were recognised with both Canadian and international awards. He was a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and received Canada’s highest civilian honor when he was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1986.
He was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1990, in recognition of his promotion of Anglo-Canadian relations in the fields of commerce, culture and sport. In 2003 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 2006. He received a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, as well as an Alberta Order of Excellence. Ron and Marge Southern were jointly-inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.
“It is with great sadness that we learnt of Ron Southern’s passing,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “He was truly a remarkable man with a tremendous capacity for life and an incredible love of equestrian sport. His business acumen, passion, drive and vision were evident in all facets of his life and were the characteristics that made Spruce Meadows such a hugely successful venue.
“He was an incredibly generous man and community leader who gave so much and made a lasting impression on everyone he met. His legacy will live on in the generations of athletes who compete at Spruce Meadows for many years to come. He will be sorely missed.”
Ron Southern is survived by his wife Marge and two daughters, Nancy Southern and Linda Southern-Heathcott.
The FEI extends its sincere condolences to Ron Southern’s family and many friends, to Equine Canada and the global equestrian community.