On Day 3 of the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ CSI5* Tournament, a rarity occurred when not one, but two riders left the arena as champions in the Canadian Utilities Cup in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
On Saturday, June 17, 2017, the USA’s Leslie Howard and Daniel Coyle of Ireland were unanimously crowed winners of the 1.50m competition when they galloped through the timers at a simultaneous time of 36.44 seconds.
Of the fifty-one riders, eleven made it to the jump off to compete over the shortened track set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios. After their 4th place finish in the ATCO Classic CSI5* at Spruce Meadows on Sunday, June 11, Howard returned aboard the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare Donna Speciale (Cavalier x Concorde) to compete in Saturday’s class, with the two having a slight edge over Coyle in the first half of the jump off.
“She was amazing! I thought she was brilliant going from 1,2,3ab,4, and I think at that intermediate time we were ahead,” said Howard. “I took a wider, more cautious approach to the Liverpool, and I got a little scared because she can sometimes touch the front rail of the Liverpool. I then knew that I was probably behind so I just decided to do a ‘Hail Mary’ to the last, and again she was amazing.”
A day after capturing his third international win in the Scotiabank Cup 1.55m CSI5* aboard Cita, Coyle piloted the 9-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare Tienna (For Pleasure x Polydox) to his 1st place finish alongside Howard.
“I had a touch on the first part of the combination of the first round, so going into the jump off I knew there were a few places I may have had to be a bit more cautious of,” said Coyle. “In the jump off I was a bit slow to one and again I was careful over the double, but from what I felt out there, I knew I could get going after that and start to take some chances. I really made up a lot of time over those last four fences.”
Coming off of his ‘Continental’ tournament opening day win aboard Uceko, Kent Farrington and the 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Dublin (Cobra x Calido) finished with a time of 36.82 seconds for 3rd place.
“Dublin is spectacular. He is ultra careful but sometimes too careful, so there is a very small margin for error,” said Farrington. “My plan [has always been] to take him to Spruce Meadows because if you can learn to jump here over these impressive fences and learn to be brave, it’s going to pay off in the long run. He’s still a bit green and he can jump so high sometimes and spends a lot of time in the air. I think that’s where I lost today.”
For full results, visit this link.
McLain Ward Goes Two for Two in the Canada 150 Speed Series
In a field of 42 competitors, McLain Ward and the 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding HH Carlos Z (Chellano Z x Voltaire) produced the fastest time of 67.18 seconds to finish 1st in The Akita Drilling Cup, the second installment of The Spruce Meadows Canada 150th Anniversary Speed Series.
The 1.45m course was set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios, and with only one round, the fastest of the faultless rounds would take home the red ribbon. Ward is now undefeated in the series after winning the ATCO Classic CSI5* aboard Tina La Boheme on Sunday, June 11, 2017 at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
“The experience helped, and the big thing is that you know what’s coming,” said Ward on the benefit of competing in last weeks competition. “You knew where the horses were strong and weak last Sunday and where you might be able to take a chance. The footing was great last week considering the rain, though it was a bit of a heavy go because of the water. Today I think course rode a little bit quicker across the ground.”
The USA dominated the top 4 spots, with Richard Spooner and the 9-year-old Selle Francais gelding Urzo Diso (Numero One D’Iso x Viking D’Oria) finishing in 2nd with a time of 69.19 seconds. The new partners were last to go in the order, but produced a speedy time to secure a podium finish. In 3rd place with a time of 70.19 seconds was Beezie Madden and the 8-year-old Oldenburg gelding Con Taggio ( Contagio x Golliath Life). The two most recently had a 2nd place finish in the Atlas Cup at Spruce Meadows on Friday, June 16.
For full results, visit this link.