Kent Farrington and Uceko. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Ashlee Bond Speeds to Victory in $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse; Katie Dinan Tops ConocoPhillips Junior/Amateur Cup 1.40m
Calgary, AB – June 8, 2013 – The biggest prize money purse on offer at the ‘National’ Tournament was in today’s $400,000 CN Reliability Grand Prix, CSI-W 5*, and it was Kent Farrington (USA) who took home the winner’s share for the second year in a row with Uceko. Reed Kessler (USA) Cylana finished second, while Charlie Jacobs (USA) and Flaming Star were third. Earlier in the day, Ashlee Bond (USA) sped to victory in the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse 1.45m with Cadett 7. In the All Canada Ring, Katie Dinan and Sandro won the $10,000 ConocoPhillips Junior/Amateur Cup 1.40m.
The ‘National’ Tournament concludes on Sunday, June 9. Tomorrow’s highlight is the $175,000 Nexen Cup 1.60m Derby on Sunday, June 9, at 2:30 pm. The Spruce Meadows Summer Tournaments continue next week on June 13-16 with the ‘Continental’ Tournament CSIO-W 5*.
There were 36 entries in the grand prix, but only four were able to clear the first round course set by Werner Deeg of Germany. Fifth place went to Kirsten Coe (USA) and Baronez, who had two time faults.
First to return in the jump-off was Eric Navet of France on Quanto Fino 2, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Quick Star x Stutbuch 1 owned by Signe Ostby. They had an unfortunate rail at fence 10b and finished with four faults in 54.99 seconds for fourth place.
The next three riders would all be clear and the winning time fell with each start. Charlie Jacobs and Flaming Star, a 14-year-old Swiss Warmblood gelding by Fairman owned by CMJ Sporthorse LLC, would put in a neat clear round in 53.62 seconds, which slotted them in third place.
Jacobs was “extremely pleased” with his horse. “Flaming Star I thought was fantastic today,” he acknowledged. “For me, this is great for him to come and jump a 1.60m class. This is our second time ever in Spruce Meadows (together). We came briefly in 2011 and jumped in some amateur classes. He was great today. My hats off to these two to my right (Reed and Kent), but I think it was lights out for him. I could have pushed the gas a little more, frankly. With the times that these two put in, I could have gone a lot faster.”
Reed Kessler and her Olympic partner Cylana were next in, and they galloped through the timers in 50.05 seconds. They would have to wait and see what the final rider would do.
Kessler said she couldn’t rest easy knowing Farrington still had to go after her. “Definitely not – I knew Kent would come, he would be clean, and he would be really fast,” she agreed. “I just tried to go as fast as I could without making any silly mistakes. I’ve made that mistake of having the vertical down into the combination a couple times with her, like at World Cup Finals, so I maybe took an extra stride than he did there. I could have been sharper down the last line. Watching Kent in those two places, that’s definitely where I think he got me.”
Cylana and Kessler competed at the FEI World Cup Finals in April, and Cylana, a 2002 Belgian Warmblood mare by Skippy II x Darco, had not shown since then until earlier this week. “She was really begging to jump this week,” Kessler said with a smile. “She’s one of those horses that if she doesn’t jump frequently, she’s miserable. She was very happy that it was as massive as it was today; she likes to work hard. She couldn’t have gone much better.”
Entering the ring as reigning champions of the competition, Farrington and Uceko, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Celano x Koriander owned by RCG Farm, picked up a quick pace going to the first jump and never looked back. They had to stretch over a wide oxer halfway through the course, and then went flat out across the ring in the long run to the last two fences. Their speed paid off as they stopped the clock in 48.73 seconds for victory.
Farrington said that Uceko is at his best when he’s fresh and has a lot of energy. Although he stands under 16 hands, Farrington said he rides like a “very large horse.” He described, “He actually goes best in big venues like here. He has a massive stride and he’s probably the smallest horse in the class, but he has the biggest stride. He’s pretty unique like that. He has exceptionally long legs for his body. I think that’s why his gallop is so big.”
Farrington was very happy with his win on Uceko, a reliable, successful partner of his for years. “Right now in his career, he’s basically learned everything there is to learn. Now it’s my job as a rider and a horseman to manage his career, to pick the right venues and the right classes to aim him towards so I can make his career last as long as possible. With as much money as there is now in the sport, it’s a matter of managing horses so that they can be at their best when it counts,” he said.
Speed Is Key for Ashlee Bond
Ashlee Bond and her veteran partner Cadett 7, a 16-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Cor de la Bryere x Capitol I owned by Little Valley Farm, flew through the 16 numbered obstacles on today’s course for the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse 1.45m to take the top prize in 100.059 seconds. John Perez (COL) and Utopia set the early winning pace and finished second in 103.505 seconds. Third place went to Francois Mathy (BEL) on Elvis van de Vrunte in 103.962 seconds. There were 18 entries in today’s competition over a faults converted track that included the derby bank and grob.
Today’s competition was a perfect warm-up for Bond and Cadett 7, who will also take a shot at tomorrow’s $175,000 Nexen Cup 1.60m Derby. On today’s ride, Bond said, “It worked out. That is his forte. This is not as big as he normally jumps, so it was a little bit easier on him, which was kind of the idea. He could go in and have a not so tough day. He felt super and he was on it.”
Her plan was to establish pace before the first jump. She explained, “It’s better to just pick up a good gallop and stick with it, rather than running and whoa-ing. He was on the muscle. We tried to maintain that throughout. He’s game for everything.”
Bond said that Cadett 7 had a splint in his leg before this year’s FEI World Cup Finals in April, so she left him at home and took her newer horse Wistful. Since then, she has been slow in bringing him back to top form. “He’s 16, so a couple weeks is like a couple of months for him. It takes a while to build him back up,” she remarked. “This is his fifth class. He feels better and better each class. I’m building up to the bigger stuff in the second half (of circuit). (But) he’ll tell me if he doesn’t want to jump 1.50m, 1.60m anymore and I’ll keep him in 1.45m.”
Bond finished second in the Nexen Cup in 2010 and knew that she would have to let Cadett 7 practice the grob jump so that he is prepared for tomorrow. “That was my main concern today, but he was dragging me through it and didn’t care!” she said. “I’ve done that course before and he has too. He’s really smart. When he’s feeling strong and healthy, he’s really fast. We can’t go as fast because he’s got to jump bigger, but I think we’ll have a pretty good shot tomorrow, I’m hoping.”
Dinan Tops ConocoPhillips Junior/Amateur Cup
Katie Dinan (USA) brought home the win as the last horse in the jump-off in the $10,000 ConocoPhillips Junior/Amateur Cup 1.40m. They sped through and made a daring jump up the bank to save time in a rollback turn, which helped them stop the timers in 42.88 seconds. Second place went to Kara Chad (CAN) and Alberto II in 43.49 seconds. Meagan Nusz (USA) and Vesuvius were third in 44.42 seconds.
Dinan explained her jump-off ride: “In the jump-off, after the skinny (jump), you went around the bank to jump the plank (fence). I couldn’t leave (a stride) out to the skinny because he doesn’t have a huge stride and I wanted to do the seven (strides) there instead of six. He’s so brave that we planned on just jumping up the bank, which wasn’t flagged or anything, to save time. That almost gets him more excited.”
She noted, “I think a lot of people think the All Canada Ring is one of the more difficult rings to ride in here because it’s so hilly and there are so many natural obstacles that they use in all the classes, but funnily enough, the three years I’ve had him here we’ve mostly shown in the All Canada Ring. Sandro and I are kind of used to it and I like showing him here.”
Dinan and Sandro, a 14-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Larino x Casimir, have been together for two and a half years, and this is their third Spruce Meadows. Although he has won classes here, they had never won this class. This was their second victory of the week.
Dinan said Sandro is “a lot of fun.” She went on to say, “He definitely has the most personality of any horse you’ve ever met. He’s a little bit of a troublemaker, but just in the most playful way possible. He always is the one kicking his stall door at the barn demanding 100% of everyone’s attention. But I think that that personality really shows in the ring.”
She added, “He goes with his head up a little bit; he’s fast. He looks a little bit like a pony in the ring, but he’s ready to go and he thrives on it. He’s competitive and wants to do the right thing. He’s a great horse to be in that situation, like when I went last in the jump-off. I knew there were some fast people before me. You always feel like you can win when you go in with him.”
The ‘National’ Tournament CSI-W 5* concludes tomorrow with the $175,000 Nexen Cup 1.60m Derby at 2:30 pm. Also in the International Ring will be the $40,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Speed. For more information on Spruce Meadows and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
What Can You Do at Spruce Meadows?
Spruce Meadows includes affordable fun for the whole family. With admission starting at only $5 per person, and children (12 & under) and seniors (65 & up) free, it is the perfect venue to unwind and enjoy a day of show jumping, activities, delicious food, and shopping.
From Friday through Sunday, there will be a number of activities for the whole family (all included in your admission to Spruce Meadows) such as Pony Rides, presented by Kozy Shack, the Spruce Meadows Prairie Dogs, presented by RE/MAX, Wagon Rides, Face Painting, children’s games in the Garden Court Restaurant and more! Delicious food is offered throughout the grounds, featuring a healthy menu at the Garden Court Restaurant, a wide range of options at the Time Faults Public House, and International Fare in the Plaza.
Looking to test your luck? Spruce Meadows has several contest options for those wanting to win excellent prizes, including the Jump to It contest, with a chance to win a full set of jumps, the CN/Sun Media Name the Foal contest, and the Win a Year contest, with a chance to win a year of access to all Spruce Meadows events. If you are looking for some retail therapy, vendors in the Gallery on the Green and Vendor Village offer an excellent variety of gifts and services, both equine and non-equine in nature.
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.
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations