Ottawa, Ontario—- The 2007 edition of the Jump Canada Talent Squad Series is underway with a close points race shaping up in both the Eastern and Western Divisions.
Hyde Moffatt of Brantford, ON, currently holds a slim lead in the Eastern Division with 26 points. In the opening event, Moffatt took top honours to earn 15 series points in the $2,500 OHJA Rising Star/Jump Canada Talent Squad Qualifier during Mayâ€™s Caledon National in Palgrave, ON. He added an additional 11 points to his points tally at the same venue on June 17 at the Caledon Summer Classic with a third place finish in the $2,500 OHJA Rising Star/Jump Canada Talent Squad Qualifier. Moffattâ€™s partner is the eight-year-old Trakehner gelding, Denver, owned by Hawkestone Farms.
â€œDenver is having a fantastic season and is really coming into his own this year,â€ said Moffatt, who is a short listed member of the 2007 Canadian Equestrian Team. â€œHe has been brilliant everywhere we have taken him.â€
Close on Moffattâ€™s heels with 24 points is Quebec native Francois Lamontagne of St-Eustache. Paired with the Belgian Sport Horse gelding Quelquâ€™un de la Musardiere, Lamontagne also had a strong start to the season receiving 13 points for his second place finish in the QPET Talent Squad Qualifier at the Concours Hippique du Park in Blainville, QC, on June 1. Later in the same month, the duo secured an additional 11 points for a third place finish in the $3,000 QPET Talent Squad Qualifier at Beaulieuâ€™s Summer Classic II in Ste-Justine-de-Newton, QC.
Billie Derouet, 15, of Bromont, QC, is holding the third place position with 21 points partnered with her 16-year-old selle francais gelding, Sweet Dreams. The duoâ€™s most recent success came at the CSI-W Blainville Jumping International where they emerged victorious in the Talent Squad Qualifier.
In the Western Division, Christina Marlin of St. Albert, AB, and Lindsay Hitchner of High River, AB, are sharing top spot having both accumulated 11 points to date.
Marlin and Milestone Farmsâ€™ 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Raleigh, kicked off the season in May at the Bow Valley Classic II, earning four points for her sixth place finish in the Grand Prix. They then enjoyed a second place finish for seven points in the $20,000 ATCO Cup in June at the Edmonton Northlands Horse Show.
Riding her 10-year-old mare Billy Autumn, Hitchner first earned six points in early May for a second place finish in the Bow Valley Classic I Grand Prix in Calgary, AB. The duo added five points to their total after placing seventh in the $20,000 ATCO Cup at the Edmonton Northlands Horse Show.
Sitting third in the current standings is Larissa Ziebart of Calgary, AB, who has earned six points in the Talent Squad Series with her 14-year-old Oldenburg gelding, Denver, thanks to a win in the Bow Valley Classic II Grand Prix.
At the conclusion of the Jump Canada Talent Squad Series Qualifiers, Division Finals will be held. The Eastern Division Final will take place on September 22 at the CSI-W Tournament of Champions in Palgrave, ON, while the Western Division Final is held August 25 at the Thunderbird Show Park Horse Show in Langley, BC. Following the Division Finals, the top 10 riders from the Eastern and Western divisions will go head-to-head in the Jump Canada National Talent Squad Championships, which will be held during the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, ON, from November 2-11, 2007.
The top placed rider in each division will be awarded airfare to the 2008 World Cup Final to be held in Goteborg, Sweden, from April 24â€“27. In addition, the Division winners will be nominated to receive athlete funding through Sport Canada Development Cards.
The Jump Canada Talent Squad Series is a means of recognizing up-and-coming riders who are preparing to enter the grand prix ranks and gives them a platform to demonstrate their ability to become future members of the Canadian Equestrian Team. For complete standings, please visit www.jumpcanada.ca.