Wednesday – Multiple Wins for the Brits
The 2023 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ CSIO5* has commenced and the TELUS Cup (1.50m) wrapped the opening day’s competitions. Forty-five horse/rider combinations declared to start the competition and step onto the International Ring to test a track designed by Level 4 FEI course designer Leopoldo Palacios (VEN). Fifteen horse/rider combinations representing nine nations advanced to the jump off.
Olympic gold medalist and current #4 ranked rider in the world Ben Maher (GBR) took two horses into the jump-off, doubling his chances of making it to the winner’s circle. Aboard Exit Remo, he laid down the fastest clear jump-off ride with a time of 39.98s. Maher also picked up fourth place with Enjeu De Grisien.
“It’s been some years that I’ve walked into that ring and it’s just a different feeling, you know?” said Maher on stepping through the Clock Tower on day one of the 2023 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. “I jumped in arenas all over the world, but you walk through that tunnel and you have the incredible arena, the history, a lot of history here. When I was growing up, always dreaming that I could be able to come here and ride one day.”
Earlier in the day, the Cardel Homes Cup (1.45m) was the first event on the International Ring to start the tournament. Great Britain’s Matthew Sampson bested a field of 37 aboard Fabrice DN; the pair had spent their summer at Spruce Meadows and the preparation paid off. Santiago Lambre (BRA) and Kyle King (USA) rounded out the top three placings, respectively.
Sampson then logged a second opening day win, this time riding Curraghgraigue Obos Flight in the Richardson Wealth Cup (1.40m) on the newly-renovated All Canada Ring.
Thursday – Three Cups Decided
Over 40 competitors stepped onto the International Ring Thursday morning to get the show jumping action started in the 1.50m ATCO Cup. Eleven passed Leopoldo Palacios’ first round test and advanced to the jump-off. Fresh off the European Championships, Martin Fuchs (SUI) was looking for his first Spruce Meadows win of the season. Aboard Bastille, the pair were the quickest through the finish line, clear in a time of 39.65s.
“This is my first daytime victory at Spruce Meadows – my only other win was in the ATCO Electric Six Bar (at night in 2013),” – said Fuchs.
The CANA Cup (1.55m) capped off competitions for Thursday of the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’. Over 40 athletes stepped through the Clock Tower in hopes on adding their name to the historic CANA Cup trophy – a piece of the Spruce Meadows Trophy Collection that has names dating back to 1977.
Leopoldo Palacios built a challenging track which utilized a few of the permanent obstacles on course including the open water and dry ditch. Some of the best in the world are competing this week, and the results backed that up with 15 jumping clear and advancing to the jump-off. Three elected to save their horses for another day.
The jump-off clears kept getting faster, but it was Richard Vogel (GER) aboard United Touch S who posted the fastest clear round in a time of 43.07s. Natalie Dean (USA) and Hans-Dieter Dreher (GER) rounded out the top three.
“They (the horses) come, through the clock tower, and they love it. They get taller and you know, they like to be in the arena. And luckily that was how United was today. He felt so great,” remarked Vogel.
The PwC Cup (1.40m) was the final competition from which competitors could qualify for tomorrow’s Paramount Resources CSI2* Grand Prix. Four competitors passed all the first round tests of Canadian FEI course designer Peter Grant’s course and advanced to the jump-off. The final victory of the day on the All Canada Ring belonged to Santiago Lambre (BRA) riding J’Adore Van Het Klinkhof. The pair jump a clear jump off round in a time of 43.60s and were welcomed to the winner’s circle by Courtney Kolla, Partner, PwC. A pair of Canadians – Kara Chad riding Easy Boy D’Aubey Z and Tiffany Foster aboard Com Es Ta – rounded the top three placings.
The Spruce Meadows Masters runs Sept. 6-10 in Calgary, AB. Schedule and Results here.
~ with files from Spruce Meadows Media