Pedro Veniss Claims Championship Title in the ‘Pan American’ Grand Prix; Vanessa Mannix and Grand Cru Vd Vijf Eiken 4th

It was a fantastic display of show jumping talent in today’s ‘Pan American’ Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. The challenging course required incredible talent and dexterity from both horses and riders, as well as sheer determination, for those looking to realize the championship title.

Out of a worldwide field of 40 athletes, the championship title in this afternoon event was earned by Pedro Veniss of Brazil, also the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva winner last December. When asked about his winning performance, Veniss said, “I knew it was a difficult and technical track and there would not be too many clear rounds. Quabri is a special horse and he is very good at Spruce Meadows. We have had good success here since our first visit in 2015.”

In today’s competition, the starting roster was narrowed to only three riders qualifying into the Grand Prix jump off. The first competitor to achieve a clear score card in round one was Peter Lutz (USA) aboard Robin De Ponthual a 12 year-old Selle Francais gelding. The impressive faultless score was matched in the jump off arriving to the finish line with a time of 53.97 seconds. Lutz said, “I was first to go in the jump off and I knew I wanted to go clear, I feel that is the best thing to do in that situation to put pressure on the two.” He continued, “going first you don’t have the advantage to see some of the lines so I think there was definitely one less stride to the last jump that I didn’t do – so you definitely can learn a lot from watching – but our horse went great and I was so happy with the double clear. I thought it was just a great outcome for us.”

Finishing with an impressive podium finish was first time competitor to Spruce Meadows, Fernando Martinez aboard Cor Bakker, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding by Colandro. Martinez finished with just 4 faults in the jump off and a time to rival the winner 50.28 seconds. Martinez said, “My horse is naturally very quick on the ground, and after watching Peter I saw the option to leave out a stride to the last fence – I really just wanted to make it smooth.” He continued, “I didn’t think I was that much faster with the time, my plan in the jump off with these top riders was to just to do my best and go smooth and get a nice time and see what happens.”

Course designer Peter Grant (CAN) was thrilled with the level of competition produced over his courses this week. Grant commented, “I was quite happy with the course today I thought there was good rhythm and flow – I think the lines all jumped as I expected them to. The group in today’s Grand Prix was by far the strongest I have built for.” He continued, “I would have liked to see perhaps one or two more in the jump off, but the biggest thing for me is that even the riders who left the ring on four or eight faults, their horses left the ring looking confident about themselves – as much as I like to test the skill of the riders I also like to show off the athletic ability of the horses so I felt that it was really one of my better courses today.”

As for today’s champions, on his first ever trip to the Spruce Meadows Summer Series, Veniss’s sights have been set on the ultimate goal of preparing for and winning the next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam, the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen, later this summer. Veniss felt the Summer Series would be the perfect preparation for his top mount, the 13 year-old Selle Francais Stallion, Quabri de Lisle. After today’s big win, Veniss is confident his partner is in top form for Aachen.

Daniel Coyle Carries the Luck of the Irish in the West Canadian Cup; Nicole Walker and Falco Van Spieveld 5th

This afternoon’s West Canadian Cup delivered another thrilling competition on the Meadows on the Green Ring, Sunday of the Spruce Meadows ‘Pan-American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex.

There were 59 entries who started in the bold test designed by Peter Grant (CAN), with a total of nine entries qualifying into the jump off.

Daniel Coyle (IRL) was last to go in the round against the clock and knew exactly what he had to do to try and defeat the current World #1 rider, Kent Farrington(USA). With important FEI World Ranking points, top prize money and a Spruce Meadows champion title at stake, Coyle, who’s had an incredibly successful Summer Series thus far, piloted the 11 year-old chestnut stallion Grafton to victory by only 0.05 seconds over a notable roster.

Coyle stated, “I love to win but I hadn’t planned the round I rode – If I had been first to go I would have been a second or two slower but I knew what I had to do and was confident that Grafton could do it.” He continued “He hasn’t been in the best of form the last three weeks so hopefully this means he is happy and ready to perform for the remainder of the series.”

Kent Farrington (USA) brought Sherkan Damaury into the 1.50m jump off course as the second last competitor. The top three positions were all within 0.08 seconds of each other creating great excitement for fans and guests of the Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament.

The early lead was occupied by Israel’s Daniel Bluman aboard the very talented 10 year-old Belgian Warmblood mare, Bacara D Archonfosse. Bluman rode Bacara through an efficient track matched with powerful ground speed – but it was not quite enough to earn top spot against the incredibly fast Farrington and Coyle positioning him third on the podium.