American team veteran Rich Fellers jumped to victory at Spruce Meadows today in the $65,000 ESSO Challenge World Cup. Fellers teamed up with his 15 year Irish bred stallion, Flexible, to post two flawless rounds over the Michel Vaillancourt (CAN) designed courses. Nine of the 24 starters advanced to the jump off after answering all of the challenges of the 510 metre 16 jumping effort first round course. In the jump off Fellers and Flexible blew the field away with a remarkable clear round trip that was nearly 2 seconds faster than second place finisher’s Mario Deslauriers and Urico.
“Flexible is the smallest horse in the field but he’s naturally fast and I love to ride fast. It works out well,” said Fellers of his victory. That left the competition with their jaws dropping in disbelief at the pace he carried while still jumping clear.
The jump off entry also included the likes of Ian Millar (Can), Michael Whitaker (GBR), Beezie Madden (USA) and Kent Farrington (USA) but none was going to catch Fellers at the top of his jump off game.
“My horses feel great. They have had fairly light schedule so far at Spruce Meadows after a tough five week s in Europe leading up to the Summer Series,” said Fellers. “Both Flexible and McGuinness are exactly where I want them leading into the Spruce Meadows “North American.”
Earlier in the final day of the “Canada One”, Fellers advanced to a 10 horse jump off with McGinness in the West Canadian Cup. With his 16 year old gelding he eventually finished 8th out of 47 starters, with Mclain Ward of the United States taking the win.
The final stage of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series starts Wednesday with the $1 million Spruce Meadows “North American”.
For a complete tournament schedule visit the Spruce Meadows website at http://www.sprucemeadows.com/.
West Canadian Cup – Top 10
1. McLain Ward, USA, Oh d’Eole
2. Tiffany Foster, CAN, Victor
3. Michael Whitaker, GBR, Wild Rose
4. Nicole Simpson, USA, Candele Light Van De Warande
5. Mark Armstrong, GBR, Prince Z
6. Alec Lawler, USA, Glen Devon
7. Elle Whitaker, GBR, Arena UK Lando
8. Rich Fellers, USA, McGuinness
9. Callie Schott, USA, Wrigley
1o. Daniel Bluman, COL, Sancha LS La Silla
ESSO Challenge World Cup Qualifier – Top 10
1. Rich Fellers, USA, Flexible
2. Mario Deslauriers, USA, Urico
3. Kent Farrington, USA, Uceko
4. Michael Whitaker, GBR, Viking
5. Shane Sweetnam, IRL, Amaretto d’arco
6. Ian Millar, CAN, Star Power
7. McLain Ward, USA, Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve
8. Beezie Madden, USA, Coral Reef Via Volo
9. Jennifer Crooks, IRL, SF Uryadi
10. Karl Cook, USA, ASB Conquistador