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Nicola Philippaerts powers to the win in the Cana Cup

Friday, 08 September 2017
CSIO5* Spruce Meadows 'Masters' 2017

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Nicola Philippaerts and H&M Harley vd Bisschop en route to victory in the $130,000 Cana Cup. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Nicola Philippaerts (BEL) took a fantastic win in Thursday's $130,000 1.60m Cana Cup at CSIO5* Spruce Meadows 'Masters' riding the 10-year-old H&M Harley vd Bisshop (Dulf van den Bisschop x Coronado).

“I have been going here for a few years now and it took me quite a while to win a class, but my horse was great today and hopefully it is a good sign for the rest of the week. It was quite a few fast riders in the jump-off and Steve was already really fast, but my horse is quite quick from nature and has a big stride so I tried to go as fast as possible without taking too much risk. And then you need to be lucky because Kent Farrington was after me, and when he is clear he normally wins,” a happy Philippaerts said after his victory. 

About H&M Harley vd Bisshop, Nicola said: “He is a very sensitive horse with a lot of blood, so it mostly about keeping him calm and give him confidence in the ring.”

Course designer Leopold Palacios once again gave the riders a real challenge in Thursday’s biggest class with 12 fences and 15 jumps in the huge grass ring. Poles went down all over, but the last fence – an oxer with only red poles – put an end to the dream of a jump-off for some of the riders. In this class however, the time allowed didn’t play such a big role as earlier this week – mostly because the riders went all in from the beginning to the end and tried to save time wherever they could.

38 riders jumped the class and 11 of them qualified for the jump-off. Two riders – Kent Farrington (USA) with Voyeur (Tolaro van’t Riethof x Goodwill) and Beezie Madden (USA) with Darry Lou (Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve x Nabab de Reve) – decided not to go against the clock, so it was nine horse and rider combinations fighting for the victory. The jump-off consisted mostly of long lines where the horses really could stretch out. 

Only four horses cleared the course once again and Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) with VDL Groep Verdi TN (Quidam de Revel x Landgraf I) took an early lead with 42,40 seconds. Pedro Veniss (BRA) tried his best to reach Maikel's time riding For Felicila (For Pleasure x Espri), but with his 43,29 seconds he squeezed in behind Van der Vleuten.

“It was a tough course today, but also the best riders in the world are here and some of the best horses. The time was short, but not extremely short. For me it was the first time here and I really looked forward to come. I think I have the right horse for it and my first thing was to qualify for the Grand Prix on Sunday, so I had no choice but riding the big class yesterday and today. I think I will be all right now for Sunday. My feeling is that this can be the right ring for him. Yesterday he was a bit fresh since he hasn’t been showing for a couple of weeks, but today he felt great. He will now probably get a rest until Sunday and hopefully we can do something then,” a relieved Van der Vleuten said after ending third.

Steve Guerdat (SUI) did a great jump-off with Cayetana (Robin II x Papillon Rouge) and shaved off some hundreds of Van der Vleuten’s time – taking over the lead with 41,77 seconds. He didn’t get to keep it for long though, since Nicola Philippaerts was next to go. 41,25 seconds turned out to be his winning time. Kevin Staut (FRA) was the only rider to end the jump-off with four faults and took the fifth place with Silver Deux de Virton HDC (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Heartbreaker) behind Veniss.

Van der Vleuten is the only Dutch rider at Spruce Meadows and considering this is his first time here, he got the question about why he decided to come this year: “I have a very good horse for Calgary. The last years I did a championship, and for me it is a bit too much to do a championship and one week after travel to Spruce. Now I made the decision not to jump him in any more championships so this year I had the possibility to come here.” 

 


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