The Scotiabank Cup 1.50m was the final competition to wrap up Friday of the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ CSI5*/2*, presented by Rolex. Over 40 horse/rider combinations stepped through the clock tower to challenge the track designed by FEI course designer Santiago Varela of Spain. Despite a bit of rain, nine of the competitors jumped clear in the first round and advanced to the jump-off.


Tiffany Foster and Electrique jump a fence at Spruce Meadows.

Tiffany Foster and Electrique. (Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk)

The depth of Tiffany Foster’s current roster is something all riders covet. On Thursday she won with Battlecry and Jetouelle-S; on Friday the Canadian rider brought the nine-year-old mare Electrique through the Clock Tower and she performed like an old pro. Foster stuck to her plan and used the mare’s big step and careful nature to best the rest of the competitors. The pair galloped through the finish line in a time of 39.15 seconds to secure their second International Ring win in a row.

“I think especially here [Spruce Meadows], you hear the cheer when you go in front of the home crowd ‒ I always try my best to make them proud. I love jumping here, I love jumping in front of the Canadian fans and hopefully we can carry on tomorrow,” said Foster.

The ATCO Cup (1.45m) was the final qualifying competition for Sunday’s Lafarge CSI2* Grand Prix. Forty-eight entries challenged Varela’s track; 10 horses were piloted successfully in round one. Conor Swail (IRL) has been on a roll this summer, and aboard his 12-year-old gelding Gamble he galloped through the finish line clear in a time of 37.27 seconds for the win. This was Swail and Gamble’s ninth top-three finish of the 2023 Spruce Meadows summer tournament season. The pair have a great set of stats, according to JUMPR App, at the 1.45m level with a 44% clear round rate and are in the top 10 45% of the time (in over 62 competitions).


The stage was set for the $1,000,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday, with riders qualifying throughout the week for the opportunity to step foot through the Clock Tower and take a piece of the rich purse. Thirty-five horse/rider combinations featured on the order of go for the two-round 5* Grand Prix; the top twelve would return for the second round.

The first round saw just seven clears, with five riders carrying 4 faults making it into round two thanks to speedy times. Four of the dozen powered through the second round and produced double clear efforts ‒ Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP), Nayel Nassar (EGY), Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Brian Cournane (USA) ‒ necessitating a jump-off.

Moya was first into the ring and put the pressure on, posting his third clear round of the day. Nassar used the speed and scope of his 14-year-old gelding Coronado to his advantage, galloping through the finish line in a time of 35.58 seconds for the win. Deslauriers and Cournane followed with valiant efforts, but both had rails and finished in third and fourth, respectively.

“This is just an unparalleled experience being able to show here, especially with the crowds that come in on the weekend. It really feels like it’s come back to life [after the global pandemic]. It’s just such a special place. It feels great to walk into the International Ring ‒ the ambience is second to none,” commented Nassar.

Earlier in the International Ring, the AKITA Drilling Winning Round (1.50m) featured the top 30 riders from earlier in the week compete in the exciting two-round competition, with only the top 10 fastest clear efforts from round one coming back for the “winning round”. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) has been working towards a win all summer and aboard Chakkalou PS, the pair bested the second-round field, posting a clear, quick ride to secure the win.


The final day of the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ CSI5*/2*, presented by Rolex, brought tens of thousands of fans to the grounds to wrap up a great summer season of show jumping. The iconic Sun Life Derby was the feature event of the day; the signature derby course was modified in 2022 by FEI course designer Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) but modeled after the original designed by the great Pamela Carruthers (GBR). The challenging course is over one kilometer featuring 18 obstacles (24 jumping efforts) with a time allowed of 158 seconds.

Jim Ifko and Un Diamant des Forets jumping a fence at Spruce Meadows.

Jim Ifko was the highest-placed Canadian in the Sun Life Derby, placing second riding Un Diamant des Forets. (Spruce Meadows Media/Bart Onyszko)

Sixteen athletes representing eight countries stepped through the iconic Clock Tower one last time, hoping to take a big piece of the $145,000 Sun Life Derby purse. Robert Blanchette (IRL) was the second rider into the ring and put some major pressure on his competitors by navigating the derby track with no faults aboard Chardonnay, but then had to sit on the sidelines and wait to see if anyone else could also manage a clear round.

Tenth of the 16 entries into the ring was Jim Ifko (CAN) and his stallion Un Diamant des Forets. After watching a number of competitors have rails throughout the course, Ifko was determined to make no mistakes. A rail took a hard bounce on the final element of the Devil’s Dyke, but it stayed up and Ifko posted the second clear round of the day, forcing a jump-off.

First into the ring was Blanchette, who laid down a clear round in 39.01 seconds with Chardonnay. Ifko and Un Diamant des Forets were unfortunately not quite fast enough to catch Blanchette, crossing the timers in 39.69 seconds for second place.

“You can go to a show and you think you’re almost invincible, and then you come here and you think, ‘shoot, I can’t jump that.’ And then by the end of the tournament, you can jump it,” said Blanchette. He offered this advice for youn riders. “Get on your pony bareback and gallop around, jump up and down on the fields. Don’t just go to a flat ring and take riding lessons. Go and have fun on your horse and get to know it.”

The next event on the Spruce Meadows calendar is the ‘Masters’ taking place September 6-10, 2023.

Results here.

~ with files from Spruce Meadows Media