Tag Archives: Cameron Hanley

Cameron Hanley and Antello Win $35,000 Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.60m

Cameron Hanley and Antello. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Madden, Sweetnam, and Swail Also Win on Opening Day of ‘North American’ Tournament

Calgary, AB – July 3, 2013 – The ‘North American’ Tournament CSI 5* started today with four major competitions in the International Ring. The winner of the $35,000 Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.60m was Cameron Hanley (IRL) on Antello. In the $33,000 AON Cup 1.50m, Beezie Madden (USA) and Coral Reef Via Volo were fastest in the jump-off. The $33,000 Suncast Cup 1.45m victory went to Shane Sweetnam (IRL) on Solerina, while Conor Swail (IRL) and Martha Louise were fastest in the $33,000 Friends of the Meadows 1.45m.

The ‘North American’ Tournament continues through Sunday, July 7, and features the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday, July 6, and the $140,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby on Sunday, July 7.

The $35,000 Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.60m competition had 21 entries. Four advanced to the jump-off and it was Cameron Hanley who was fastest for victory with Antello, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding by Animo Z x Continue owned by Eleonore Paschoude and Yves Bouvier.

McLain Ward (USA) and Cadence set the time to beat with a clear round in 44.91 seconds, which would hold up for second place. Daniel Bluman (COL) and Sancha LS La Silla placed third with their time of 44.93 seconds. Lauren Tisbo (USA) placed fourth when she and Roundthorn Madios finished in 45.42 seconds.

Hanley and Antello went last and he opened the big horse’s stride up through the long gallops on course. That and a chance at the final oxer gave them victory when they stopped the timers in 42.97 seconds.

“He’s naturally a very quick horse, he covers the ground very quickly, and I just let him roll and everything came up quite nice, like the turn back to the second to last (fence). The great thing about him is he’s so careful that I can just ride him to that last fence and I don’t really have to worry about him knocking it down,” he explained. “He’s always going to try to jump it. As long as I get a reasonably good distance, he should jump it.”

Hanley said that this was probably only the second time that he has pressed for speed in a jump-off with Antello. “The first week here I was clear in the 1.60m and I started to go quick and had a fence down early, so I slowed down. I haven’t really galloped him so much. He’s not a horse I would really do every class very competitive with,” he explained. “But today, last to go, four in the jump-off, I knew they were all really fast riders so I knew I had to go as fast as I could. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip; I was going to take it if I could.”

Today’s win was another step in Hanley’s comeback from a devastating knee injury and resulting 17 surgeries due to infection and complications. It was a special win for him on this horse that he and his brother purchased as a seven-year-old. When Hanley was injured, Michael Whitaker purchased him and brought him along. When Hanley returned to the sport and got new sponsors, he knew the horse they should buy for the grand prix ring. Since they have been back together, they won the grand prix in Wiesbaden, were double clear to help Ireland win the Nations Cup during the ‘Continental’ Tournament, and have now won again.

Hanley expressed, “Once I got him and back in the saddle, it just felt so comfortable sitting on him again. He’s really special, and we fit each other really well. We suit each other’s personalities, I guess. I’m quite easygoing and he’s quite lively, so we cancel each other out.”

This is Hanley’s fourth time competing at Spruce Meadows, and he noted, “It’s an amazing show and I’m really delighted to go in and raise the trophy. All wins are special, but now especially I take nothing for granted. Something like today, it means a lot for me.”

Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo
Beezie Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo

Beezie Madden Rides to Victory

There were 46 entries in the $33,000 AON Cup 1.50m, and five of those found the path to a clear round and tackled the shortened course. From those, Beezie Madden was fastest to win on Coral Reef Via Volo, a 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Clinton x Heartbreaker owned by Coral Reef Ranch.

First into the jump-off was Nick Dello Joio (USA) on Carlos VHP Z owned by EM Horses. They put down a quick, clear round in 41.82 seconds, which would slot into fourth place. Next in was Antonio Maurer (MEX) on Charro owned by Salvador Onate. They had eight faults in 41.38 seconds for fifth place.

Pablo Barrios (VEN) and Zara Leandra, owned by ZL Group Inc., set the next time to beat at 39.69 seconds, but it would not be quite enough. They would finish in second place.

Madden and Coral Reef Via Volo then took the lead with a time of 39.36 seconds. Madden said of her jump-off ride, “I did the leave out, which was six (strides) up the first line. I think I actually got a little wide and not quite as fast to fence three. I tried to make up some time after that. I was quick to the double verticals and quick down the last line.”

Shane Sweetnam (IRL) tried to make it two wins in a row, but he was just off the time in 39.81 seconds with Sweet Oak Farm’s Fineman. They placed third.

“We’ve been together for a while now, so we have confidence in each other,” Madden said of her partnership with Coral Reef Via Volo. “Sometimes she’s difficult about one end of the ring or the corners of the ring, but she’s getting more and more used to this ring. (And) she’s getting more seasoned now and less things bother her.”

While Madden showed in Europe the past two weeks, Via Volo had two weeks rest from showing. “She felt good and fresh. I had to work her a little bit this morning! She felt great, which was good. I did this so I could qualify for the 1.50m on Saturday. She’ll do that and then the derby on Sunday,” Madden noted.

Sweetnam and Solerina Keep Early Lead

Shane Sweetnam and Solerina
Shane Sweetnam and Solerina

Riding out of the fifth position in the order, Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Solerina were able to keep the lead through the entire competition. They set a very quick time of 64.70 seconds with no faults to win the $33,000 Suncast Cup 1.45m out of 48 total entries. The next fastest to finish in second place was another early in the order – Katie Dinan (USA) and Glory Days went second in the order and were clear in 66.36 seconds. Third place went to Francois Mathy (BEL) and Opus PSG, were finished in 70.16 seconds.

Sweetnam and Solerina, a 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare by Cruising x Diamond Lad owned by Sweet Oak Farm, did not have to go all out to win, and Sweetnam said he was surprised that his time held up.

He acknowledged, “I thought I’d finish in the top three, especially with Kent and Brianne and plenty of people there that I thought would catch me.” He also said that while it was quick, he left some in the tank for Solerina. “There was more. I’m still trying to keep her relaxed in there. I did think I could have been faster, maybe two seconds faster, but I tried to keep close enough to my plan and keep her within her range. I didn’t want to run her too fast and get her upset about things.”

Keeping Solerina happy is something that Sweetnam works on, and it includes an unusual item in her stall – a television. Sweetnam described her as a typical chestnut mare, “more than anybody,” and that he tries to work with her personality.

“She’s a bit quirky. I was wondering how she would be up here because there is a lot to look at here in the rings. It’s not out of badness, it’s more nerves. If you can keep her in the same routine all the time, she’s fine,” he explained. “She’s afraid of the TV (screens), so we have one in her stall. She’s watching ‘The Top 100 Moments of Spruce Meadows’ right now!”

Conor Swail and Martha Louise
Conor Swail and Martha Louise

Swail and Martha Louise Are Fastest

The $33,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m was the first competition of the day in the International Ring. There were 47 combinations in the speed format, and it was Conor Swail of Ireland who was fastest with Martha Louise, a 9-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare by Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. They sped around the course in 63.50 seconds.

Second place went to John Perez (COL) on Utopia in 64.72 seconds, while Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Wang Chung M2S were third in 65.44 seconds.

This was Martha Louise’s first win, although she has placed in eight out of nine competitions at the Spruce Meadows Summer Tournaments. Swail was happy to be back in the International Ring and noted, “She felt very good today. She was in here week one and then she has been a few weeks away (in other rings). When she went back in, I thought she felt more comfortable. She handled it very well. She jumped lovely.”

Despite losing his stirrup going into the double combination, Swail was able to ride through it and regain his stirrup before the next oxer. “It affected me. I think it’s nearly worse losing one because you have no balance. She didn’t jump the in and out particularly well I think because of me, where I was (with) my balance, but she was good to leave that double up,” Swail pointed out. “I was probably lucky that I have nice quality because she tries to do her best.”

While Swail got the win, he did not have to go all out today for victory. “Honestly, I think there was a bit left there today. It certainly wasn’t the fastest round that I’ve ever had with her. In that respect, it is nice to come out on top and not have them going crazy,” he said.

Swail originally purchased Martha Louise two years ago and she has been a consistent winner for him. She moved up to the higher levels this winter in Florida. “Since Sue (Grange) bought her, she has been absolutely amazing,” he commented. “She is just such a consistent horse. She is a really versatile mare; she can do many jobs. She did the grand prix last week, which was very big for her, but she handled it very well.”

Martha Louise is leading the Horse Health Care Championship presented by Pfizer Equine Division and Moore Equine Veterinary Clinic, which is awarded on Friday, July 5, to the horse/rider combination who accumulates the most points throughout the 1.45m Derby Series. Swail hopes that she will able to take that top prize.

Swail said that Martha Louise is not your typical chestnut mare. “She’s not like a mare at all, she is just so nice. She is so laid back. I think her temperament is the best part of her because she is very willing to do anything and try anything. When she goes in, she is laid back, but at the same time very careful and I think that is a great quality,” he said.

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. Limited Reserved Seating tickets are also available – for full details, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

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.

Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7 will feature the Royal Occasion Brunch – all are welcome to join us at the royally inspired breakfast from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm in the Meadowgreen Building, adjacent to the Meadows on the Green Ring. Fresh berries and cream, scones, pancakes, sausages and more will be complimentary to the first 3,000 guests. In light of the recent flood in Southern Alberta, Rush Seating for Saturday and Sunday will be complimentary. Reserved Seating and Club International tickets are available on our website in advance.

Looking to test your luck? Spruce Meadows has several contest options for those wanting to win excellent prizes, including the CN/Sun Media Name the Foal contest featuring a chance to name future show jumping star and a trip to the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament, 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.

For full details, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com or contact us at 403.974.4200 or information@sprucemeadows.com.

The ‘North American’ continues tomorrow with the $33,000 Horse Health Cup 1.45m, $35,000 Process Energy Cup 1.50m, and the $35,000 PwC Cup 1.60m. For more information 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.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations

Hanley’s the Hero as Irish Victorious at Spruce Meadows Where USA and Canada Qualify for Furusiyya Final

A double-clear from anchorman Cameron Hanley and Antello secured victory for Ireland in the eleventh leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2013 series. Photo: FEI/StockimageServices.com.

Spruce Meadows (CAN), 13 June 2013 – On a day when four double-clear performances were registered, it was the clean sheet maintained by Cameron Hanley that stood out above all others as he clinched victory for Ireland in the eleventh leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2013 series at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada.  The anchorman of the Irish side has been to hell and back over the last two years, with his health, and his career, seriously compromised by a freak injury.  But today he copper-fastened his return to the top of the sport as he, and his fellow-countrymen, flexed their not-inconsiderable muscle to keep crack sides from the USA and Canada in check.

A total of seven teams from four nations lined out in this competition, with Canada, the USA and Mexico taking the opportunity to field two sides apiece.  And although the runner-up US selection was not the one nominated for points-gathering, both America and Canada have qualified for the Furusiyya Final which will take place in Barcelona, Spain in September.

The USA Stripes team lined up second ahead of Canada One in third and USA Stars in fourth, while Canada Two finished fifth and Mexico’s Azteca and Maya slotted into sixth and seventh places respectively.

The fabulous Meadows on the Green Arena at Spruce Meadows was bathed in sunshine during the first half of the competition, but weather conditions deteriorated dramatically towards the closing stages to add further drama to the occasion.  The Irish already had the whip hand by the halfway point, with four clear rounds that left them well clear of USA Stripes in second spot carrying five, Canada One in third with 13 faults on the board, the USA Stars in fourth with 16 while Canada Two’s 18 faults saw them lying fifth ahead of Mexico’s Azteca in sixth with 25.  The Maya team from Mexico collected only one penalty more to finish on 26 at the end of round one, but didn’t return for round two.

It was tense finale however as, despite a second sparkling run from pathfinders Conor Swail and Lansdowne, both Darragh Kerins (E Muze Yek) and Richie Moloney (Carrabis Z) faulted on their second tour of the track and it was left to Hanley hold his nerve and win the day, which he did in style.


The 12-fence course presented by Leopoldo Palacios included his now-infamous “bicycle” vertical which, when first designed by the Venezuelan maestro some years ago, used to strike fear into the hearts of the bravest due to its pencil-thin poles.  But riders have learned how to deal with it over the intervening years, and only one, USA Stripes’ pathfinder Brianne Goutal, lowered it in the second round with Nice de Prissey.

The bogey fences of the day proved to be the wavy Canadian planks at fence five which were, in time-honoured fashion, located at the end of a three-fence line following the open water and therefore testing control and carefulness.  The triple combination at fence seven was also influential but the Mount Rushmore Wall, an inheritance from the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA) which has become another trademark of the Spruce Meadows arenas, claimed a surprising number of victims just three fences from home, while the penultimate double also took its toll.

Much-Improved Result

As round two unfolded, Mexico’s Azteca team produced a much-improved result with just 10 faults to add, Nicolas Pizarro recovering brilliantly from three fences down in the first round to go clear this time out with the lovely grey stallion, Crossing Jordan.

The Canada Two team included father-and-son Ben and Jonathan Asselin, but Ben’s elimination in round one when unseated from Makavoy, who put in a spooky jump over the open water, left them under pressure.  And although the 19-year-old rider steered his 10-year-old steed home for just four faults in round two, a surprise refusal by his father’s mare, Showgirl, at the oxer at fence three proved costly. Despite a second-round clear from Christian Sorenson and Bobby, the final team total here was 30 faults.

US Chef d’Equipe, Robert Ridland, was spoiled for choice when deciding which of his two sides he would nominate for points-gathering purposes today.  But as it turned out it wasn’t his chosen USA Stars side of Kent Farrington (Blue Angel), Reed Kessler (Mika), Charlie Jayne (Chill R Z) and Christine McCrea (Zerly) who finished best, the latter producing the only clear round of this team effort second time out as they completed on 24 faults.

It was double-clears from Katie Dinan (Nougat du Vallet) and McLain Ward (Rothchild) that ensured runner-up spot for USA Stripes, Candice King’s two-round total of 22 faults with Campbell VDL discarded to leave them on a final tally of nine faults and three points clear of Canada One in third. Second-round clears from pathfinder Eric Lamaze (Power Play) and legendary anchorman Ian Millar (Dixson) ensured only the single time fault picked up by Mac Cone had to be added to the Canada One scoreline to see them complete with 14 on the board for third place.  But it wasn’t a completely smooth run for the eventual winners from Ireland.

Bolstered Their Position

Swail’s second classic clear initially bolstered their position at the top of the order but when Darragh Kerins’ E Muze Yek left the planks at five and both elements of the penultimate double at fence 11 on the ground second time out, then they looked a great deal less secure.  And when Richie Moloney’s fiery stallion, Carrabis Z, hit the wall in an otherwise clean run then Hanley knew that any more than a single error would scupper Irish chances.

This is a man however who knows how to take his chances when he gets them.  His hunger to return to the sport he loves has seen him overcome tremendous personal challenges since a simple accident, incurred at his home in Germany while playing with his children, shattered his career and his life two years ago.  No less than 17 operations to repair his damaged leg and to deal with subsequent complications left his medical advisors in grave doubt about his ever riding again, let alone at top level.  But he climbed back into the saddle last autumn and, just three weeks ago, he showed he was right back in business when winning the Grand Prix at Wiesbaden, Germany with Antello.

Last into the ring today the pair never put a foot wrong to seal the result with conviction.


Irish Chef d’Equipe, Robert Splaine, was thrilled for the team and for Hanley.

“Cameron made a fantastic comeback at Wiesbaden.  He was always a stalwart of the team and one of our strongest team riders so it was a huge loss when we didn’t have him for the last couple of years.”  Explaining the reason for Ireland’s participation at the Canadian event, he said, “Irish riders are based all over the world and many of our horses are not owned by Irish people.  Conor (Swail), Darragh Kerins and Darragh Kenny, who was our fifth man today, and Richie (Moloney) all have owners in this part of the world so we had an opportunity to field a team with the future in mind – looking ahead to Dublin, Hickstead and hopefully Barcelona as well as the European Championships.  It would be a huge mistake not to field a team here, and they were particularly well mounted. For three of the horses it was their first Nations Cup.  Only Conor’s Lansdowne competed in a Nations Cup before – at Gijon (Spain) last year,” the Irish team manager pointed out.

Hanley’s brother, Carl, bought Antello at a local show as a seven-year-old and Cameron rode him a year later, but when he sustained his injury the horse went to fellow-Irishman Alex Duffy and then to Great Britain’s Michael Whitaker who competed him successfully.  When he returned to fitness, Hanley’s new Swiss sponsors Eleonore Paschoud and Yves Bouv told him to find a Grand Prix horse, and there was no doubt in his mind which one he wanted.  He bought Antello back and, together with the 10-year-old horse, the 40-year-old Irishman’s career is right back on track.

Rider of the Day Award

Katie Dinan, second-line rider for the runner-up USA Stripes team, was presented with the Furusiyya Rider of the Day award and the super-talented 19-year-old said, “I feel very honoured.  This is only my second Nations Cup and I really wanted to show I belonged on the team.  It’s a little more pressure being on a team, so I was happy with my performance today.”

Today’s competition brought the North America, Central America and Caribbean League of the Furusiyya series to a close, with the USA finishing first but with just three points of an advantage over the runners-up from Canada while Mexico in third place.  The top two teams, USA and Canada, have qualified for the series Final in three months’ time.

Talking about today’s competition, US team manager, Robert Ridland, commented, “In a perfect world, we would have loved to have beaten the Irish. But what we really came here to do was one, qualify for the final. Number two, was really to give some young horses and young riders some experience on competitive teams. To me, the only way to do that is to do what we did, which was a little against the grain. There was no question that normally, as the Canadians did, you stack the deck on one team and that’s your point team. That’s the more conventional way of doing it. My feeling, the whole way along, is that it’s so important for the young riders to be able to experience Nations Cups on contending teams with veterans. We got huge experience today. We saw them perform well. I’m very excited.”

The globalisation of team Jumping through the new Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup format has already taken hold. Riders’ enthusiasm for the new concept was confirmed by Canadian Chef d’Equipe, Mark Laskin, who remarked, “We had a lot of interest in being a part of these two teams…. At the end of the day, I think the two groups that we chose were definitely the right picks. It was a fantastic opportunity for our developing riders. Our two least experienced riders, Chris Sorensen and Ben Asselin, really benefited from their experience today. They both were a little shaky in the first round, but they both came back and were able to redeem themselves. It was an invaluable experience that they’ll both draw on in the future. You need riders in the pipeline and on the right horses. We have a lot coming up. This was a tricky course today to be sitting on a horse you’re not really familiar with. Three of our riders on our points team were on newer mounts. Ian got his last Fall, but he hasn’t had him for a full season. Eric and Tiffany, last week was the first time. We’re only going to get better and it bodes well for the future. We’re really excited to qualify for Barcelona, and we’ll be there!” he pointed out.

The march to the inaugural Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final continues with the next leg at Sopot in Poland tomorrow afternoon where 13 teams will be in action and eight will be battling for those all-important qualifying points.

For information on the eleventh leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2013 series at Spruce Meadows (CAN) check out website www.sprucemeadows.com or contact Press Officer Jennifer Wood, Email jennifer@jenniferwoodmedia.com, Tel +1 803 240 7488. The next leg takes place in Sopot, Poland tomorrow, Friday 14 June.  For details of the Polish fixture go to website www.csi.sopot.pl or contact Press Officer Agnieszka Bilda at Email agnieszka.bilda@czerwonafurtka.pl, Tel +48 531 2080 50.

Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2013 – Round 11 (Spruce Meadows CAN):


1. Ireland 4 faults: Lansdowne (Conor Swail) 0/0, E Muze Yek (Darragh Kerins) 0/12, Carrabis Z (Richie Moloney) 0/4, Antello (Cameron Hanley) 0/0.

2. USA Stripes 9 faults:  Nice de Prissey (Brianne Goutal) 5/4, Nougat du Vallet (Katie Dinan) 0/0, Campbell VDL (Candice King) 13/9, Rothchild (McLain Ward) 0/0.

3. Canada One 14 faults: Power Play (Eric Lamaze) 5/0, Verdi llll (Tiffany Foster) 4/5, Amor van de Rostal (Mac Cone) 5/1, Dixson (Ian Millar) 4/0.

4. USA Stars 24 faults: Blue Angel (Kent Farrington) 8/4, Mika (Reed Kessler) 4/4, Chill RZ (Charlie Jayne) 4/4, Zerly (Christine McCrea) 8/0.

5. Canada Two 30 faults: La Boom (Lisa Carlson) 5/9, Bobby (Christian Sorenson) 9/0, Makavoy (Ben Asselin) Elim/4, Showgirl (Jonathan Asselin) 4/8.

6. Mexico Azteca 35 faults: Crossing Jordan (Nicolas Pizzaro Suarez) 12/0, Spirit Magic (Manuel Alvarez) 13/8, Gitano (Frdeico Fernandez) 13/5, Criptonite (Enrique Gonzalez) 0/5.

7. Mexico Maya 26 faults IN ROUND 1 : Careyes (Patricio Pasquel) 17, Valentina (Claudia Lorenza O Farrill) 13, Vicky van het Geinsteinde (Alejandro Plascencia) 4, Skylubet (Ricardo Nizri) 9.

Facts and Figures:

Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada presented the eleventh leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2013 series.

7 teams from four nations started in today’s competition – Canada One, Canada Two, USA Stars, USA Stripes, Mexico Azteca, Mexico Maya and Ireland.

6 teams competed in the second round.  Mexico Maya did not return for round two.

3 teams –  Mexico Azteca, USA Stars and Canada One – were competing for points towards the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final which will take place in Barcelona, Spain in September.

Third place for Canada One and fourth for USA Stars ensures that the USA and Canada have now qualified for the Final.

Anchorman on the winning Irish team was Cameron Hanley who produced one of 4 double-clears in today’s competition.

4 double-clear rounds – from Ireland’s Conor Swail (Lansdowne) and Cameron Hanley (Antello) and USA Stripes’ Katie Dinan (Nougat du Vallet) and McLain Ward (Rothchild).

The bogey fences on the 12-obstacle course were the wavy planks at fence five and the wall at fence 10.

Hanley only recently returned to the saddle after a career-threatening leg injury sustained while playing with his children two years ago.

The 40-year-old Irishman was seriously ill for some considerable time, and underwent 17 different operations on his long road to recovery.

Today’s competition was part of the two-leg North America, Central America and Caribbean league of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2013 series.

The USA was heading the leaderboard going into this second competition following victory on home turf at the first leg in Wellington, Florida in March.

Today’s course designer at Spruce Meadows was Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios.


Katie Dinan, USA Stripes – “My horse, Nougat du Vallet, I’ve had him a little over two years and he’s been a fantastic horse for me. He’s been the first horse that I’ve been competitive at this level with. Two years ago, Spruce Meadows was our first horse show together and we were doing 1.40m in this ring. It’s a little bit of a step up. Last year I brought him here and he jumped really well in the Meadows on the Green Ring, so I had a good feeling about this week. I was really excited to be named to one of the Nations Cup teams for the U.S. I feel great that he performed at his best today. He’s a great guy because I know that if I ride well, he’s going to rise to the occasion.”

US Chef d’Equipe, Robert Ridland, talking about Katie Dinan’s brilliant double-clear and his other riders performances today – “I expected that. I was not at all surprised to see her (Katie) jump double clean. It was great. There were a couple rounds we could improve on. Some of the veteran riders, with the newer horses, they know what to work on. The two rounds Nations Cup, when it really counts like it does here, you can learn something about your horse more than in a one round jump-off grand prix.”

Irish Chef d’Equipe, Robert Splaine – “This was a competition of the highest quality. I had an abundance of hope coming here – I knew the riders but only a little about some of the horses but I reckoned we were in with a good chance.”

For further information on the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping series check out this link.

“Furusiyya” (Arabic: فروسيه) this single Arabic word conveys so much, embracing the idea of horsemanship, chivalry, and equestrian knowledge in general. The term is a derivation of faris, or horseman and faras, a horse.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Spruce Meadows:

Jennifer Wood
Press Officer
+1 803 240 74 88


Grania Willis
Director Press Relations
Email: grania.willis@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 142

Malina Gueorguiev
Manager Media Relations
Email: malina.gueorguiev@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 133

At Revolution Sports + Entertainment:

Tim Welland
+44 7787 780 036

Irish Clinch Victory in Thrilling Season-Opener at La Baule

Irish eyes were smiling at La Baule in France today when (L to R) Billy Twomey, Cian O'Connor, Shane Sweetnam and Cameron Hanley won the opening leg of the 2011 FEI Nations Cup. Photo: FEI/Christophe Bricot.

La Baule, 13 May 2011 – Ireland won the opening leg of the 2011 FEI Nations Cup series in a nail-biting thriller at La Baule in France today. On an afternoon when the form-book was turned on its head, Robert Splaine’s side of Shane Sweetnam (Amaretto Darco), Billy Twomey (Romanov), Cian O’Connor (Larkhill Cruiser) and Cameron Hanley (VDL Southwind) produced superb jumping to finish with a two-fault advantage over the runners-up from Belgium, while the mighty German side had to settle for third spot in the eight-nation clash.

Nations Cup jumping is never predictable, which is one of the reasons for its continuing popularity more than a century after it all began.  But few could have expected that the host country – defending series champion and winners on their home turf in 2010 – would finish second-last, followed only by the newcomers from Denmark.  On a difficult day for the Danes, already disadvantaged by the withdrawal of second-line rider Emilie Martinsen after her horse, Caballero, suffered a colic attack, they retired early in the second round.  So they go into the next leg in Rome (ITA) in two weeks’ time already trailing on the leaderboard, and with a mountain to climb if they are to survive their debut-season at the elite level of this super-tough sport.

Course designer, Frederic Cottier, appeared to have been quite lenient as the competition began, but by the end of the first round there had already been a few surprises including elimination for World No. 1 Kevin Staut whose mare, Silvana de Hus, stopped twice at the penultimate combination to the dismay of the home crowd.

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