Thursday – A Day of Firsts

It was glory for Canada on the first day of the ‘National’, presented by Rolex, as the world famous International Ring saw its first action of the season.

Sean Jobin, with Arkuga, topped a talent-packed leaderboard with a fast clear round of 69.70s in the single-round 1.50m FEI CSI5* event.

The 30-year-old rider, who is originally from Toronto, shared his delight at fulfilling a lifelong dream of riding to victory in the International Ring.

“This is my first time here,” said Jobin, who is now based in Florida and Ohio. “It’s so special. I got off the plane on Monday and the first thing I did was come to Spruce Meadows to see the International Ring for myself, with my own eyes. It’s so big.

“When you come through the clock tower for the first time, it can have people inspired or inflated, and horses can be intimidated by it. I had a big smile on my face walking through that clock tower, getting a chance to do that. Arkuga loves it here too.”

Americans Elena Haas, with Koss Van Heiste, and Hannah Selleck, on Cloud 39, placed second and third, respectively. Fellow Canadians Tiffany Foster and Amy Millar came 5th and 6th atop Electrique and Jagger HX.

Ireland’s Conor Swail, on My Lady Lavista, picked up his second Spruce Meadows Summer Series victory.

His triumph, with a blistering speed of 65.55s in the 1.45m Friends of the Meadows competition, comes off the back of last week’s win in the 1.45m Mission:Possible on day one of the ‘Continental’, presented by Rolex.

Riders on 81 different horses entered this morning’s CSI5* competition on a 12 obstacle (14 effort) course crafted by German legend Olaf Petersen Jr., who is widely considered to be one of the world’s best course designers.

Jos Verlooy (BEL), on Parise Van Den Dael, was second. Karime Perez Nunez (MEX), with Felicie De Coquerie, rounded out the top three coming in at nearly two seconds behind Swail at 67.36s.

Canada’s Amy Millar scored her second Spruce Meadows Summer Series win today, taking first in the 1.45m Coril Holdings event on the All Canada Ring, atop GCS Athena. The victory, with a clean finish in 72.94s, proved her second consecutive day-one win after coming first in The Partners 1.50m event in last week’s ‘Continental’, presented by Rolex, with Christiano.

Today’s single-round test saw Gabriel De Matos Machado (BRA), with Conthachalu, come second, followed by Calgary’s own Ben Asselin in third on Baton Rouge.

The first-ever Jamaican rider to compete at Spruce Meadows landed a win today, coming both first and fourth in the Coril Holdings 1.40m Junior/Amateur one-rounder on the All Canada Ring. Seventeen-year-old Sydney Levy sailed to victory on Cheri Lady, also taking fourth with Ortega Di Fer. She sandwiched Avery Johnson (USA), on Romantica Hastak, and Georgia Knight (CAN), with Indy, in second and third.

Local lad Justin Prather from Calgary won the Coril Holdings 1.30m competition in the Chinook Ring with Tamarack today. He was followed by Ireland’s Daniel Coyle, with Amalia, in second. Nikolaj Hein Ruus (DEN), on Cape Town, was third.

The 1.30m Junior/Amateur Friends of the Meadows 1.30m test that followed was won by Kelowna’s Sutton Friesen, and Unique MB. Emmeline Adamick and Katie Kehring, both from the USA, placed second and third with their geldings Apollo Z and Harry Potter Del Lashetto, respectively.

Friday – Patricio Pasquel beats son, nephew in Recon Metal Cup

Patricio Pasquel today paid tribute to his beloved horse Babel, following a victory that saw him qualify for what could be his second Grand Prix win in the famous International Ring.

A man sitting on a bay horse, smiling and looking at the sky.

A joyful Patricio Pasquel (MEX) with Chakkalou PS, following the Recon Metal Cup 1.55m. (Spruce Meadows Media/Tony Lewis)

Mexico’s Pasquel, who triumphed with prized gelding Babel in 2017’s RBC Grand Prix here, came first in this afternoon’s Recon Metal Cup qualifier following a jump-off against 11 other riders who emerged from a competition of 49 athletes. This time it was atop Chakkalou PS, following Babel’s premature retirement in April.

“Babel loved it here,” recalled Pasquel, who raised the highly decorated Babel from a foal. “I would have loved to come here and then retire him, but unfortunately we had to send him to the pastures early.

“We had to retire him after an unfortunate accident. That was quite sad. But we’ve been working with this horse for a couple of years.

“He’s a very careful horse, he’s been coming along great.”

Pasquel also spoke of his joy at competing against his son, Patricio Pasquel Poo, 21, aboard Seringat, in today’s competition.

“It’s one of the most satisfying things in this sport that I can compete with my son,” Pasquel, 52, said. “Today was not his best day, but last week he jumped quite well.

“I’m telling him to take it easy, we still have three more big weeks (in the Spruce Meadows Summer Series tournaments).

Pasquel’s nephew, Francisco Pasquel Vega, with Dominant 2000 Z, was also in today’s contest. He finished the prelimary round 29th, while Pasquel Poo arrived at 44th, on the 13 obstacle, 16 effort course designed by Olaf Petersen Jr.

When he wasn’t busy dominating the ring, the senior Pasquel was spotted racing around the vast grounds of Spruce Meadows on his bicycle.

“We’ve been here a couple of years, so we know what to bring,” said Pasquel. “A good jacket, rain gear, and a nice bike.”

Recon Metal Cup winner Pasquel will fight for glory in this year’s RBC Grand Prix of Canada, presented by Rolex, on Saturday afternoon in the International Ring.

He will be joined by 39 other riders including John Perez Bohm (COL), who came second with Gigi-Carmen, in today’s event, and Sameh El Dahan (GBR), who was third, with WKD Aimez Moi.

Ireland’s Robert Blanchette struck gold twice today, topping the leaderboard in both the Coril Holdings 1.45m and the Mercer Cup 1.40m competitions on the All Canada Ring.

His first win, in the 1.45m, came aboard Coupis, who also helped Blanchette secure a victory on day two of last week’s ‘Continental,’ presented by Rolex, in the 1.40m Coril Holdings test.

Blanchette’s second win today came on the back of Abra Kadabra VD Heide Z, winning the jump-off ahead of Blythe Karolyi (USA) on Kingston, and last week’s Duncan Ross Grand Prix winner, Vaclav Stanek, with other horse Jameson.

The final event on the All Canada Ring today, The Herd Junior/Amateur 1.40m was won by Charlie Jacobs (USA), aboard Camila 111, followed by Luis Alejandro Plascencia O, with Zara Del Pinar, in second. Canada’s Sutton Friesen, on Adare Ya To, came third.

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