Nicholas Dello Joio of the United States made his CSI5*-W Royal Horse Show debut one to remember by claiming victory in the $138,000 Big Ben Challenge on Thursday night, November 10, as part of the 100th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.
It was a battle from start to finish as U.S. Olympic team silver medalist Kent Farrington and Landon, a nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Comilfo Plus Z x Quadrillo), were the first horse-and-rider combination to post a clear round over Canadian course designer Michel Vaillancourt’s challenging track. Colombia’s Roberto Teran Tafur ensured the packed house would be treated to a jump-off by also jumping clear before Canadian Olympians Mario Deslauriers and Amy Millar added their names to the list. Three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil and Dello Joio, as last to go, made it a six-horse jump-off.
As the first rider back in the Coca-Cola Coliseum to tackle the jump-off, Farrington put the pressure on those still to come by producing a slick clear performance in 34.15 seconds. None could match his time until the final challengers, Dello Joio and Cornet’s Cambridge, a 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Balou du Reventon x Cambridge 8) owned by The Berry Group LLC, stopped the clock fault-free in 32.53 seconds. Farrington had to settle for second, while Deslauriers produced the fastest four-fault round riding Bardolina 2, a 13-year-old Holsteiner mare (Clarimo x Landos).
“This is probably my favourite show that I’ve done so far, and I’ve only been here for two days!” said Dello Joio. “It’s just next level; it’s a real show. All 24 riders that are here [in the international division] can win on any given night. Everybody has earned their right to be here.
“The last time I came here was when I was a kid and my dad was showing, and my only memory is the cinnamon rolls,” laughed Dello Joio, 33, who is the son of U.S. Olympic bronze medalist Norman Dello Joio. “That was the highlight of my trip here last time, and this win tops it!”
Speaking of his winning mount, Dello Joio said, “It’s hard to put into words but there’s something about him; his personality and just the feeling you get when you’re on him. If you watch him jump, he’s not an extravagant jumper or flashy, but as I say all the time, you can’t beat a smart horse, and he is by far the most intelligent horse that I’ve ever been around.”
Dello Joio will look to cap off his stellar week in the highlight class of the CSI5*-W Royal Horse Show, the highly anticipated $250,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Toronto, which will take place in front of a packed house of over 7,000 people on Saturday evening, November 12. Riders will be looking to earn valuable qualifying points toward the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final taking place in Omaha, NE, next April.
Earlier on Thursday, U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Laura Kraut won the afternoon’s featured $38,000 Brickenden Trophy riding Calgary Tame, a 10-year-old Selle Français gelding (Old Chap Tame x Kashmir van’t Shuttershof) owned by Stars & Stripes. The pair bested a five-horse jump-off, crossing the timers in 31.85 seconds to score victory. Kristen Vanderveen of the United States riding Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili and Ireland’s Conor Swail aboard Theo 160 tied for second-place honours when both finished the jump-off with a time of 32.68 seconds.
For more information please visit www.royalfair.org/horse-show.
$138,000 Big Ben International Challenge – Final Results
Rider / Nation / Horse / Faults / Time
1. Nicholas Dello Joio / USA / Cornet’s Cambridge / 0:0 / 32.53
2. Kent Farrington / USA / Landon / 0:0 / 34.15
3. Mario Deslauriers / CAN / Bardolina 2 / 0:4 / 34.72
4. Roberto Teran Tafur / COL / Dez’ Ooktoff / 0:4 / 36.65
5. Rodrigo Pessoa / BRA / Major Tom / 0:4 / 36.67
6. Amy Millar / CAN / Truman / 0:4 / 37.71
7. Beat Mändli / SUI / Dijon Terdoorn Z / 4
8. Ben Maher / GBR / Ginger-Blue / 4
9. McLain Ward / USA / Lezaro / 4
10. Daniel Coyle / IRL / Legacy / 4
11. Laura Kraut / USA / Confu / 4
12. Tiffany Foster / CAN / Northern Light / 4
$38,000 Brickenden Trophy – Final Results
Rider / Nation / Horse / Faults / Time
1. Laura Kraut / USA / Calgary Tame / 0:0 / 31.85
2. Kristen Vanderveen / USA / Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili / 0:0 / 32.68
2. Conor Swail / IRL / Theo 160 / 0:0 / 32.68
4. Roberto Teran Tafur / COL / Santana / 0:0 / 35.60
5. Katherine Dinan / USA / Atika des Hauts Vents / 0:8 / 34.67
6. Nicholas Dello Joio / USA / Conthargos / 4
7. Daniel Bluman / ISR / Ubiluc / 4
8. Jos Verlooy / BEL / Newmarket Influence / 4
9. Sam Walker / CAN / Evita / 4
10. Amy Millar / CAN / Christiano / 4
11. Ben Maher / GBR / Tic Tac / 4
12. Rodrigo Pessoa / BRA / Quality FZ / 4