The Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, continued on Thursday with a momentous win for Alberto Michan. The rider from Mexico led his first international round of honor on the fields of Spruce Meadows, guiding Gigolo van de Broekkant to victory in the Cargill Cup 1.55m.
Ireland’s Alan Wade is the international course designer in the Meadows on the Green arena for this week’s ‘Pan American’ competition. For Thursday’s Cargill Cup 1.55m, Wade saw 43 entries, with just three clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Seven other competitors finished the course with a single time fault to keep them out of the tiebreaking round.
First to go over the short course, Alberto Michan guided Ilan Ferder and Tal Milstein’s Gigolo van de Broekkant to the win with a clear round in 38.46 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid, owned by the Chacco Kid Group, jumped next and finished with one rail down in 39.27 seconds to place third. Last to go, Tiffany Foster (CAN) jumped into second place with Torrey Pines and Artisan Farms’ Victor, completing a clear round in 38.97 seconds.
Commenting on his first big win at Spruce Meadows, Michan smiled, “It is incredible; it is such an amazing feeling. I last came here eight years ago, but every year I follow the results and the great riders that are always at Spruce Meadows. I really love this competition; I think it is one of the best in the world. To be in the first position in a big event here is something exciting for any rider.”
Michan’s winning mount on Thursday was Gigolo van de Broekkant, a ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Heartbreaker x Concorde) that he began competing this spring.
“He is a super nice horse,” the rider detailed. “We just bought him in April, so we have not had so much time with him, but he has already had amazing results. He is maybe not the scopiest, but he has such a big heart, and he is so careful over the jumps. I think that if I can help him a little bit with speed he can jump any track in the world.”
Speaking of speed, Michan was first to go in a jump-off with two very fast riders to follow. Commenting on his plan, Michan explained, “Truthfully, I was sure they were going to beat me. They are both so fast, but I tried to do the best I could. I did a very short turn to jump number three, and the eight strides came in a forward motion, so I did not lose time there. Then I went really quick to the vertical. I did not watch the other ones go. I do not know if they went with all they had, but I was lucky they did not beat me.”
Over his eight-year hiatus from competing at Spruce Meadows, Michan lived in Europe and focused on a career in the textile industry. He then decided to become a professional rider again in 2012, and stayed in Europe to compete. In January 2016, he began a new partnership with Ilan Ferder Stables, and is now based in the United States.
“I am very excited about the partnership,” Michan noted. “I think Ilan is super excited as well to do the big sport. He has been a great dealer for many years and now I think we can also try to be in the top of the sport in the rankings. We have to build up a lot of horses still, and we have to go to many important shows and start getting results, but it is going really well. I am so happy and on my part I will try very hard to achieve our goals together.”
Thursday’s Cargill Cup was also a great competition to earn valuable FEI World Ranking points, which will help Michan in his goal to move up in his international standing.
“This was a great ranking class to win,” Michan stated. “It is nice at Spruce Meadows because we have four weeks here that are 5* competitions. In Europe, it is really hard to get points if you are not in the top 20 or 30 in the world, so I think for many riders it is a great opportunity to be here and earn good points. We have so many ranking classes and we can really use it to climb up some positions.”
Source: Press release from Spruce Meadows Media Services // Picture © Spruce Meadows Media Services
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