he 2016 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO5* began on Wednesday, September 7th, 2016 with first-time wins in the famous International Ring for both Lorenzo de Luca of Italy and Steve Guerdat of Switzerland. De Luca kept his recent winning streak alive with a victory in the Akita Drilling Cup 1.60m aboard Limestone Grey. Guerdat took the first win of the day riding Albfuehren’s happiness in the Telus Cup 1.50m.
The ‘Masters’ Tournament runs September 7-11, 2016, featuring the best horses and riders in the world competing at Spruce Meadows.
Highlights include Friday’s Mercedes-Benz Evening of the Horse, which hosts the exciting ATCO Six Bar competition; the BMO Nations’ Cup on Saturday, with teams from around the world competing for top honors; and Sunday’s CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, with a staggering $2 million in prize money up for grabs in this year’s competition.
The course designer in the International Ring for this year’s ‘Masters’ competition is Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios. Palacios set the track for 51 starters in the afternoon’s Akita Drilling Cup 1.60m, with 18 advancing to the jump-off, and 10 double clear rounds. De Luca and Stephex Stables’ Limestone Grey clocked the winning time of 34.30 seconds. Frank Schuttert (NED) and Handelshuis Schuttert’s Winchester HS finished second in 35.34 seconds, and Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and Ludo Philippaerts’ H&M Challenge vd Begijnakker placed third with their opening jump-off time of 35.55 seconds.
“I did not think I would win straight away the first day.”
De Luca’s recent string of victories includes a big win in St. Moritz, Switzerland, with Limestone Grey, as well as a major win streak in July at the Royal Dublin Horse Show that included victory with team Italy in the Aga Khan Nations Cup, the Longines Grand Prix of Dublin, Ireland, and four other wins with Limestone Grey and Ensor de Litrange LXII.
Commenting on the continuation of his recent success with a win at Spruce Meadows, de Luca remarked, “It is fantastic. I did not think I would win straight away the first day. The horses have been in great form. The last few months they have been jumping very well. My horse was very good the first round today. I was a little bit afraid because everybody said the ring is spooky for some horses, but I took this horse with me in Dublin and Hickstead, and he was very good over there. Today he jumped very well, so I am very happy.”
Limestone Grey is a ten-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding (by Try-Time) that de Luca began riding in October of 2015. After jumping in Florida this winter, the pair returned to Europe, where Limestone Grey jumped as de Luca’s second horse in 5* competitions.
Commenting on his mount, de Luca stated, “He is improving a lot. He is sensitive, and really intelligent, and really fast.”
The rider continued, “I knew there were so many good riders in the jump-off, so I just watched the first to go, and I knew that I had to go a little bit everywhere. He is really good on the short turns, so the turn from one to two was very good for him, and then I just kept going and he was great.”
Remarking on his first time competing at Spruce Meadows, de Luca smiled, “It is like a dream. It was always a dream for me to come here. This week we also have the Global Champions Tour in Rome and everybody was pushing me to go there. But when you have two good horses like that at the moment, I thought it was a good time to come here, and I am really pleased to be here.”
Top 12 Results: Akita Drilling Cup 1.60m
1 LIMESTONE GREY Irish Sport Horse / G / 10 / Try-Time
LORENZO DE LUCA (ITA) Stephex Stables: 0/0/34.30
2 WINCHESTER HS Dutch Warmblood / G / 13 / Numero Uno x Nimmerdor
FRANK SCHUTTERT (NED) Handelshuis Schuttert: 0/0/35.34
3 H&M CHALLENGE VD BEGIJNAKKER Zangersheide / G / 14 / Chellano Z x Palestro VD Begijnakker OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS (BEL) Ludo Philippaerts: 0/0/35.55
4 COOL AND EASY Holstein / G / 12 / Contender x Riverman
HANS DIETER DREHER (GER) Bucheler Paue: 0/0/36.03
5 CAPETOWN Dutch Warmblood / G / 13 / Oklund x Carlino
WOUT JAN VAN DER SCHANS (NED) K.V. van den Berg & S.J. Kat: 0/0/36.29
6 COMANCHE 28 Oldenburg / G / 10 / Coupe de Coeur 2 x Baloubet du Rouet
MEREDITH MICHAELS BEERBAUM (GER) Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC: 0/0/36.38
7 QUINTOL Oldenburg / G / 11 / Quintender x Cento
EDUARDO MENEZES (BRA) Eduardo Menezes: 0/0/37.24
8 MHS GOING GLOBAL Irish Sport Horse / G / 10 / Quidan Junior x Cavalier Royale
GREG PATRICK BRODERICK (IRL) Lee Kruger: 0/0/37.56
9 RISSOA DAG BOIS MARGOT Selle Francais / S / 11 / Quincy x Artichaud
PEDRO VENISS (BRA) Haras Bois Margot: 0/0/38.83
10 GOOD LUCK Belgian Warmblood / S / 10 / Canturo x Famoso II
CIAN O CONNOR (IRL) Adena Springs & Ronnoco Jump Ltd: 0/0/41.83
11 G&C QUITADOR ROCHELAIS Selle Francais / G / 12 / Jarnac x Grivdor
SERGIO ALVAREZ MOYA (ESP) G&C Farm and AM Horses SL: 0/4/36.14
12 RADJA DARTEMIS Selle Francais / G / 11 / Diamant de Semilly x Galoubet A
ALAIN JUFER (SUI) Lutta Gian-Battista: 0/4/37.08