The CP International Grand Prix presented by Rolex at Spruce Meadows was showjumping at its very best! As the prestigious class came towards an exciting end, there was to be a jump-off between the 67 year old home rider Ian Millar and 20 year old US rider Reed Kessler after two very difficult rounds.
Both tracks, build by Leopoldo Palacios, were extremely big and proved to be a real challenge for the horses and riders. In the first round ten of the 47 riders went clear, and twelve returned for the second round, which included Kevin Staut who picked up four faults in round one and Robert Whitaker who had one time fault. The second round was if possible even harder than the first round with difficult lines and huge fences.
But both Ian Millar and Reed Kessler were up to the challenge though. As the only two of the twelve riders returning, Millar and Kessler produced second clear rounds. The first came from Reed riding Cylana (Skippy II x Darco), while a few riders later Ian secured a jump-off on Dixson (Vigo d'Arsouilles x Olisco) to wild celebrations from the home crowds.
The order to go in the jump-off was decided by Millar and Kessler's time in both rounds, and Reed went first. With Cylana, Reed pulled off a great clear round in the jump-off and it was fast enough to put some serious pressure on Ian with a time of 49.50 seconds. Ian had the possibility to watch Reed's round though, and he knew exactly what to do to be faster. As he crossed the finish line, Captain Canada has shaved the time down to 47.33 seconds and were celebrated by the spectators with a standing ovation!
Marie Etter and Admirable (A Jungle Prince x Rhytmo) did a fantastic second round, but with four faults this time around the Swiss rider had to settle for the third place in this tough competition. Further three riders ended on five faults, whereas USA's Beezie Madden with Simon (Mr. Blue x Polydox) was slightly faster than Belgium's Olivier Philippaerts with Cabrio van de Heffinck (Cassini I x Calato) and France's Jerome Hurel with Quartz Rouge (Ultimo van ter Noude x Qredo de Paulstra).
Steve Guerdat - who had the chance of winning a huge extra bonus in the Rolex Grand Slam thanks to his win in the Rolex Grand Prix in Geneva - picked up nine faults with Nasa (Cumano x Prince d'Elle) in the second round and had to settle for 8th place behind Eric Lamaze with Zigali PS (Kigali x Palfrenier) who also got nine faults but half a second faster than Steve.
Christian Ahlmann was the second rider with the chance to win the Rolex Grand Slam bonus, but with four faults in the first round he ended in 18th position riding Codex One (Contendro x Gluckspilz).
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