Weather conditions were markedly improved for today's opening competition of the Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament. While originally scheduled to start yesterday, snowfall, downed trees, and power outages pushed the start of all competition to Thursday at the 'Masters', the first instance of a complete day's reschedule of competition in the 39-year history of Spruce Meadows tournaments.
There were three events on the Thursday schedule, with an increase in prize money to $210,000 for the CANA Cup 1.60m. Lauren Hough (USA) and Ohlala were the fastest for victory. Earlier in the day, Kent Farrington (USA) and Blue Angel sped to the win in the $50,000 TELUS Cup 1.50m. Eric Lamaze (CAN) prevented a U.S. sweep of the day when he won the $50,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup 1.50m with Fine Lady 5. All three competitions were changed to a speed format as well to help keep the footing in top shape for the rest of the week.
The Spruce Meadows 'Masters' runs through Sunday, September 14, with Saturday's $300,000 BMO Nations' Cup and Sunday's $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex – the second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – as the feature competitions of the week.
The addition of $85,000 in prize money to the CANA Cup 1.60m (originally for the Finning Cup) made it even more competitive. The courses this week are designed by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. The speed competition had 44 entries, with eight clear trips. Hough and Ohlala, a 10-year-old Swedish Warmlood mare by Orlando x Cardento owned by The Ohlala Group, were the only pair to break the 60 second mark. Their time of 59.901 took the top spot. Kent Farrington and Uceko were just behind in 61.331 seconds, while Kevin Staut (FRA) went into third place on a time of 62.961 seconds with Oh D'Eole.
Hough went third to last, and while she was able to see Farrington and other quick trips, she knew her plan for Ohlala's way of going. “I actually have a plan for that horse from the moment I walk the course,” she confirmed. “It doesn't normally change. She's a really naturally fast horse across the ground, and always putting one more (stride) in is quicker than leaving one out with her. I stuck with my plan. I took a couple shots here and there, and I got a little bit lucky today.”
Ohlala has been a winner at the biggest show jumping competitions in the world, including a successful CHIO Aachen in July. “I think this is quite similar to Aachen. I have high hopes for the weekend; if I don't screw up, I think she'll perform really well,” Hough said.
While many were unsure what today would bring in terms of footing, the team at Spruce Meadows was praised by all of the riders. “Hats off to the team here,” Hough remarked. “I'm sure that they worked hours and hours and hours while we were all sleeping, snuggled up in our warm hotel rooms! You really never lose faith at a venue like this, with the crew that they have. You knew that one way or another they were going to pull off a fantastic competition, and they did.”
Hough added, “I think Leopoldo did a super job today, putting the fences in all the right places, having two 1.50m (events) and moving the fences. Everything that they needed to do today, they did, and they still had a great competition. It was unbelievable prize money on the first day of the competition; to jump for $210,000 over a Table A course, you don't see that anywhere else in the world.”
“This week, my only doubt was to take out the snow!” Palacios said. “What is important here is the quality of the footing. This footing is fantastic and in great condition.” Hough plans to ride Quick Study on the U.S. team in Saturday's BMO Nations' Cup and Ohlala in Sunday's $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex.
Source: Spruce Meadows
Final Results: $210,000 CANA Cup 1.60m
1 OHLALA: Swedish Warmblood / M / 10 Orlando x Cardento
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), The Ohlala Group: 0/59.901
2 UCEKO: Dutch Warmblood / G / 13 Celano x Koriander
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), RCG Farm: 0/61.331
3 OH D EOLE: Selle Francais / M / 12 Kannan x Papillon Rouge
KEVIN STAUT (FRA), Haras de Hus: 0/62.961
4 VAN GOGH: Dutch Warmblood / S / 12 Numero Uno x Berstein
MARCO KUTSCHER (GER), Hengstenhouderij De Ijzeren Man B.V. & Stal Horn: 0/63.737
5 MYSELF DE BREVE: Selle Francais / M / 14 Quidam x Grd Veneur
MARIE HECART (FRA), Eurl Top Stallions Compagny: 0/65.630
6 ADMIRABLE: Hanoverian / G / 14 A Jungle Princex Rhytmo
MARIE ETTER (SUI), Ecurie Galoubet: 0/66.121
7 LORO PIANA ONCE DE KREISKER: Selle Francais / S / 12 Papillon Rouge x Muget du Manoir
LUCIA VIZZINI (ITA), Philippe Le Jeune: 0/71.174
8 GOLDEN HAWK: Belgian Warmblood / S / 9 Vigo DArsouilles x Chin Chin
SHANE BREEN (IRL), P Sultan and Breen Equestrian Ltd: 0/71.288
9 TIC TAC: Belgian Sport Horse / S / 11 Clinton x Darco
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Jane Clark: 1/72.414
10 UPPERCLASS: Dutch Warmblood / G / 13 Concorde x Indoctro
WILLIAM WHITAKER (GBR), Elisan AB: 4/60.861
11 CARLITO C: Belgian Warmblood / G / 12 Kannan x Unknown
OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Frans Jens: 4/61.300
12 DIAGHILEV: Warmblood / G / 11 Vangelis S x Handstretch
BILLY TWOMEY (IRL, Mr C T Payne: 4/61.308