Course designer Santiago Varela (Spain) set a challenging track for the competitors in Saturday’s $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup. The first round was a speed track against the clock, which saw 39 entries in total. The top twelve competitors from this round then returned for round two in reverse order of penalties. Seven jumped clear in the first round, and six of those were also clear in the second, which meant a jump-off.
In the third and final tie-breaking round over a shortened course, Jonathan McCrea (USA) was first out aboard Candy Tribble’s Aristoteles V. The pair completed another clear to eventually finish fourth with a time of 45.52 seconds. Hardin Towell (USA) and Lucifer V had one rail down in 45.33 seconds to place sixth. Next to go, Kent Farrington and Gazelle raced through the timers in at unbeatable speed of 40.59 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and LLC’s Southwind VDL followed with the fifth-place time of 46.04 seconds. Eric Lamaze then jumped into third with 43.98 on Check Picobello Z. Last to go, Elizabeth Gingras and Zilversprings galloped into second place in 42.63 seconds.
Kent and Gazelle have had an impressive summer that includes also winning the $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, during last week’s competition at Spruce Meadows.
Gazelle is a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Robin Parksy and Kent, and seemed tireless through the three demanding rounds of competition.
Commenting on her stamina, Kent said, “One of her strengths is that she has a lot of blood and a lot of energy, so she kind of gets better as she goes.
“I don’t want to say I am totally surprised because I always thought she was a very good horse,” he added. “I got her when she was seven and I have been bringing her along now for the last few years. She has had her ups and downs like all of them. You never know what they are going to be in the end. She hit a little bit of a rough patch when I put her in some bigger classes and she got overly careful and was struggling a little bit, so I dropped her back down at the end of Florida, did some smaller classes and built her back up. I always had hopes that she would be where she is today, so I am very pleased.”
Kent first won the event in 2014 aboard Voyeur, and said of this year’s course: “It was difficult, with a short time allowed that put a lot of pressure on people, and probably caused some rails that they normally would not have. He [course designer Santiago Varela] only ended up with seven clear and a couple with time faults. That’s usually the right number so that you still have a chance for a jump-off. I’m not sure, but I think that was his plan. The second round was a little more straightforward with a difficult line at the end. That was sort of the big test of the competition with the double liverpools. That is always difficult to jump, and still there were enough clear, and a great competition in the jump-off.”
Explaining his strategy with Gazelle, he added, “I am not one that really plays it safe. I like to try to win and I do not think you win as much if you are playing by trying not to lose. I usually have my own plan of what I think is within the horse’s ability, and I try to work within those limits, and make the most of that track for what my horse can do.
“I never think that my time will hold up until the competition is finished. I’m not that confident, because I think that is when you get caught, but I thought I put a lot of pressure on everybody else to really have to try.”
Elizabeth Gingras definitely had to try for her second place finish with Zilversprings, a 12-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding (Silverstone x Emilion) who she has had for three years.
“I’ve been watching Conor Swail and Kent and Eric all tour, and they are all so fast,” she said. “I just went as fast as I am capable of at this point in my career, and hopefully I will just keep watching them and get as fast as them, or maybe even faster. Obviously I am really thrilled – my horse was absolutely amazing. I am just so happy to have him back again. We had a little hiccup for a while, so I have been building him all tour, and to end on this note is really great. He is very special to me.”
Santiago was pleased with his course and the competition. “We tried to put the pressure more in the first round than the second one to keep the horses fresh to be in the jump-off, and at the end it was a very great jump-off, and I am really happy.”
His next stop is the Olympic Games in Rio as a Technical Delegate. Kent Farrignton is also on his way to the Olympics as one of the U.S. show jumping team with Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur.
Until then, he goes to the World Equestrian Festival at CHIO Aachen in Germany. Gazelle and Uceko both fly there to compete next week. They will then have a short break before heading to their next stop in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, at the beginning of August.
Foster Tops Imperial Winning Round 1.50m
Canada’s Tiffany Foster took her second international win of the week with Brighton on Saturday. Competing in the Imperial Winning Round 1.50m, the pair proved consistent over two rounds to take top honors in front of an electric Calgary crowd.
Thirty entries started over the Santiago Varela course, and 12 jumped clear to qualify for the winning round, in which they started again with zero penalties. The combination that then had the fewest faults in the fastest time was the winner. With eight clear competitors over the second round, Tiffany and Brighton claimed the victory in a speedy 47.92 seconds.
Richard Spooner (USA) and Little Valley Farm’s Cornancer were second in 48.27, Lucy Deslauriers (USA) and Hester were third in 48.81 seconds, and Eric Lamaze and Rosana du Park finished fourth in 49.03 seconds. Ireland’s Conor Swail and Cita rounded out the top five with a time of 50.19.
Tiffany and Brighton, a 10-year-old Dutch warmblood gelding (Contender II x Quick Star), began the week with a win in Thursday’s ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m jump-off competition and she was overjoyed with a second victory. “I just think this horse is so cool and so great. He is awesome. I don’t know how he can keep going so fast and stay so high over the jumps all the time. He is so good, and I am so happy and proud of him. He does things that I do not imagine any horse can do; he is not normal. It is really fun because you don’t have to play by the rules with him. You can come as fast as you want to a plank, or a skinny, or a vertical. The rules do not apply, so it is just so fun.”
Teammate Eric Lamaze held the leading time before she entered the ring, but she had not seen his round and took advice from Yann Candele to “go full speed.”
“Normally Eric beats me,” she admitted. “The only thing I think I had working in my favour today was that the lines were a little on the half-stride,” Foster detailed. “Eric had already done the leave-outs in the first round, and I hadn’t done them just because my horse does not have quite the same stride length as his. So me doing the same numbers, I can go faster just because I have to be kicking the whole way to get there, and Eric can do it a little bit easier. There was one turn to the double-verticals today that I was not planning to do, and then I went in the ring and they said Eric did it, so I knew I had to. I just kind of closed my eyes and hoped for the best, and my horse is incredible and it worked out.
“I could not have been happier.”
Final Results: $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup
Rd. 1 Score/Time – Rd 2. Score/Time – Jump-off Score/Time
1. GAZELLE: 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare by Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parksy & Kent Farrington: 0/76.75 – 0/59.94 – 0/40.59
2. ZILVERSPRINGS: 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Silverstone x Emilion
ELIZABETH GINGRAS (CAN), B. Gingras Equestrian Ltd: 0/74.99 – 0/59.91 – 0/42.63
3. CHECK PICOBELLO Z: 2006 Zangersheide gelding by Cardento x Orlando
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC & Torrey Pines: 0/75.39 – 0/59.09 – 0/43.98
4. ARISTOTELES V: 2005 KWPN stallion by Padinus x Lux
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/77.91 – 0/61.32 – 0/45.52
5. SOUTHWIND VDL: 1999 KWPN gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Ahorn
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/76.73 – 0/60.79 – 0/46.04
6. LUCIFER V: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Lord Pezi x Garndeur
JACK HARDIN TOWELL (USA), Jennifer Gates LLC: 0/77.04 – 0/60.89 – 4/45.33
7. BALARINA 3: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Balou de Rouet x Sandro Song
ANTONIO MAURER (MEX), Mario Onate: 1/78.84 – 0/64.09
8. BABEL: 2007 CCDM Warmblood gelding by Billy du Lys x High Flyer
PATRICIO PASQUEL (MEX), Patricio Pasquel: 4/75.62 – 0/59.87
9. HH CISKE VAN OVERIS: 2002 Belgian Warmblood mare by Celano x Darco
MAGGIE MCALARY (USA), Double H Farm: 0/76.73 – 4/61.92
10. GRAFTON: 2006 Selle Francais gelding by Calvaro x Vondeen
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 1/78.30 – 4/59.99
11. UTOPIA: 2001 Dutch Warmblood mare by Ircolando x Notaris
JOHN PEREZ (COL), John Perez: 4/75.44 – 4/61.38
12. CHIVAS Z: 1999 Zangersheide gelding by Cumano x Lord Gotthard
RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Little Valley Farms: 4/76.19 – 6/71.80
Final Results: IMPERIAL Winning Round 1.50m
Rd. 1 Score/Time – Rd. 2 Score/Time
1. BRIGHTON: 2006 KWPN gelding by Contender II x Quick Star
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/68.00 – 0/47.92
2. CORNANCER: 2006 Westphalian mare by Cornet Oblensky x Lancer II
RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Little Valley Farm: 0/65.88 – 0/48.27
3. HESTER: 2005 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Wandor Van De Mispelaere x Palestro
LUCY DESLAURIERS (USA), Lisa Deslauriers: 0/67.18 – 0/48.81
4. ROSANA DU PARK: 2005 Selle Francais mare by Kannan x Quinine de Livoye
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/68.73 – 0/49.03
5. CITA: 2006 Holsteiner mare by Casall x Pik Ramiro
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/70.74 – 0/50.19
6. CONTENDROS II: 2007 Hanoverian stallion by Contendro I x Drosselklang II
ANDRES AZCARRAGA RIVERA TORRES (MEX), Jaime Azcarraga: 0/71.61 – 0/51.39
7. EH ALL OR NONE: 2006 Hanoverian gelding by Abke x Grannus
JACLYN DUFF (CAN), Windermere Farm: 0/71.49 – 0/51.55
8. YPAJA YANDO: 2007 Finnish Warmblood stallion by Quinar x Lasino
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC: 0/71.67 – 0/54.58
9. FLEXIBLE: 1996 Irish Sport Horse stallion by Cruising x Safari
RICH FELLERS (USA), Harry & Mollie Chapman: 0/71.77 – 4/50.24
10. QUADAM: 2006 Hanoverian stallion by Quite Easy I x Stakkato
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Laure Sudreau: 0/69.67 – 4/51.26
11. CAREYES: 2004 Oldenburg gelding by Converter x Landgold
PATRICIO PASQUEL (MEX), Patricio Pasquel: 0/69.77 – 4/52.28
12. BRUGAL VDL: 2006 Dutch Warmblood stallion by Indorado x Guidam
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/71.69 – 4/56.32