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Andres Rodriguez and Caballito find clear path to win Talisman Energy Cup at Spruce Meadows

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Andres Rodriguez and Caballito. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

There were three very different but all very exciting competitions today at the Spruce Meadows 'Continental' Tournament yesterday. Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito captured the top prize as the only double clear in the $33,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m. McLain Ward won for two days in a row, this time with Wannahave in the $33,000 McDaniel & Associates 1.45m Derby. Katie Dinan and Sandro scored another big win in the $10,000 CN 'Fast Track' Junior/Amateur Derby. The 'Continental' Tournament CSIO-W 5* concludes tomorrow with the highlight competition of the weekend, the $200,000 CN Performance Grand Prix CSI-W. There is complimentary admission and parking for spectators during the 'Continental' Tournament.

The $33,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m had 41 entries, and five went through to the jump-off. Andres Rodriguez (VEN) and Caballito, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding by Contendro x Argentinus, were the only double clear. They finished in 48.074 seconds for victory. Second place went to McLain Ward (USA) and Zander, who had four faults at the final jump and finished in 41.707 seconds. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Wang Chung M2S were third with four faults in 48.882 seconds.

Rodriguez was able to keep Caballito together and clean in the jump-off despite his horse throwing a shoe after the fourth fence. “I totally felt that, and I was really aware in the turns after that, to help him not slip,” Rodriguez acknowledged. “I was trying to keep him as balanced as possible. I didn't want him to slip in front of one of those tall jumps. I was being very cautious in the turns, even after he was clear.”

Rodriguez said he has been training with veteran rider Eddie Macken for sixth months, and it was advice from Macken that helped him win his first FEI-level competition at Spruce Meadows. “(Eddie) obviously has a lot of experience in those cases. If I would have been by myself, I would have tried to go fast. He told me in the gate, just try to go clear and hope that McLain has a rail,” he recalled. “I wasn't so convinced, but I trusted him and he was right. I could have been third or fourth in that class, easy. It played out well.”

Having won the FEI World Cup qualifier in Thunderbird just a few weeks ago, Rodriguez felt that Caballito was ready for Spruce Meadows. After a day of practice, his horse felt more relaxed today and Rodriguez noted, “I really felt he jumped his best today.” Having been competitive at the 1.45m level, Rodriguez felt comfortable with keeping him at that level. But, he related, “Since I've been training with Eddie, it looks like he may do a little bigger. He was fourth in a big four-star class in Wellington and it didn't feel like a struggle at all. I changed my approach with him totally different. I trust him way more now. I have hopes for him to end up being a 1.60m horse.”

Final Results: $33,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m

1. CABALLITO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Contendro x Argentinus
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/0/48.074

2. ZANDER: 2004 KWPN gelding Cantos x Saygon

MCLAIN WARD (USA), McLain Ward: 0/4/41.707

3. WANG CHUNG M2S: 2003 KWPN stallion by Royal Bravour x Ahorn
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Morningside Stud & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/4/48.882

4. NOTRE STAR DE LA NUTRIA: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Quick Star x Jalisco B

PAOLA AMILIBIA (ESP), Juan Ramero Huxley: 0/4/49.127

5. V: 2002 KWPN gelding by Landstreicher x Lennard
KATIE PRUDENT (USA), Michael Smith: 0/16/47.053

6. CARLOS VHP Z: 2002 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Voltaire

NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), Emilie Martinsen: 1/76.041

7. ACE HIGH MIKE: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Randi x Clover Hill
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm/Andrew Bourns: 1/76.100

8. ZAFIRA: 2004 KWPN mare Nassau x Cappucino van Berkenbroek
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerney: 1/76.154

9. WOLF S: 2003 KWPN gelding by Numero Uno x Peter Pan
REED KESSLER (USA), Iron Works Partners: 4/75.399

10. CYLANA: 2002 Belgian Warmblood mare by Skippy II x Darco
REED KESSLER (USA), Reed Kessler: 4/76.747

Wannahave stretches over the open water with McLain Ward. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.The $33,000 McDaniel & Associates 1.45m Derby had 24 entries, and six of those were able to clear the course without faults. The track, designed by Werner Deeg of Germany, featured 16 numbered obstacles and 19 jumping efforts, including the grob, open water, dry ditch combination, and jumping off a bank. Speeding around by six seconds faster than the next competitors were McLain Ward and Wannahave, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Manhattan x Ramiro Z owned by The Wannahave Group.

The early leaders were 17-year-old Kara Chad of Calgary, AB, and Stone Ridge Farms LLC's Alberto II, who set the pace at 110.600 seconds, which would end up in second place. Third place went to Cameron Hanley (IRL) on Player du Quesnoy, who finished in 111.288 seconds. Despite a fast pace through most of the course, including to and from the open water, Ward said, “I actually thought I slowed down in a couple places, to be honest with you. I'm a bit of a fast rider and I have to watch that I don't overdo it. He's pretty good on the naturals now after all of his experience last week in the derby. He has a big stride, so the beginning of the course suited him, where I could just set a gallop and go. That allowed me to slow down at the end with the grob and double ditches, which were really tight. It worked out well.”

Wannahave competed in his first derby last week in the Nexen 1.60m Derby. “The derby last week was quite big. He jumped a really good round but got confused at the bank and the grob,” Ward remembered. “This week there was no 'A' (element) at the grob, so I thought he handled that better. I think he'll actually be really good at these classes with more mileage. He can do these naturals without a problem. If they jump the devil's dyke and the bank, you're halfway home.”

Ward got the ride on Wannahave through his friend Missy Clark, who trains Wannahave and Sandor de la Pomme, another new mount, with John Brennan at their farm, North Run. “I started riding the horses at the end of Florida (in April). Missy is a great friend of mine and we've done some great things over the years, going back to Sapphire and the Harrisons. It's a pleasure for me to work with her,” he related.

Ward described Wannahave as a “big, scopey horse” with “a big jump.” He remarked, “He's a little hard to sit to. But that's a good thing too. He has a very easy stride, you just have to kind of keep it all together. If you let it unravel, that's where you get a pole down.” This was their first FEI-level win together, and Ward was happy to have it happen in a derby competition. “It takes a special character and a brave horse, but I think it's good for the horses. I think it was a good course. It's a good part of the sport,” he said.

Second place finisher Kara Chad was very happy in her best top level finish at Spruce Meadows. The talented young rider, who was a part of the Developing Rider Tour for Canada last year, said she was “a little surprised,” when she found out she was winning.

“I thought I was efficient, but I wasn't running around like a speed class. Then there was McLain, it's hard to beat him. He told me in the line-up (that) I have many years to come, so not to worry about it, and I took that advice,” she smiled. “It was my first derby with him. He has a very big personality and is cocky in some ways, which is what makes him good. Although he's a big horse, he's very controllable and adjustable. I've been working toward getting up to these results. I'm happy that I finally got in there.”

Final Results: $33,000 McDaniel & Associates 1.45m Derby

1. WANNAHAVE: 2003 KWPN gelding by Manhattan x G. Ramiro Z
MCLAIN WARD (USA), The Wannahave Group: 0/104.776

2. ALBERTO II: 2003 Holsteiner gelding by Acorado x Cassini I

KARA CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 0/110.600

3. PLAYER DU QUESNOY: 2003 Selle Francais gelding by Ogano Sitte x Nabab de Reve

CAMERON HANLEY (IRL), Eleonore Paschoude and Yves Bouvier: 0/111.288

4. CANTANDO LYNGRIIS: 2001 Holsteiner stallion by Cassini I x Zarewitsch XX
DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Daniel Bluman: 0/113.240

5. RADIO CITY:  2001 Holsteiner mare by Liatos x Carthago
WILTON PORTER (USA), Gotham Enterprizes: 0/113.892

6. CATHARINA 9: 2004 Mecklenburg mare by Cellestial x Monsum
LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/116.140

7. THE PUGILIST: 2004 Warmblood gelding by Ard Vdi Douglas x Freddies Star

JOS VERLOOY (BEL), Axel Verlooy: 4/112.620

8. COULETTO K JAMES: 1996 Hanoverian gelding by Continue x Zeus

KATHERINE DINAN (USA), Grant Road Partners: 4/115.293

9. FALCO VAN DE CLEHOEVE: 2005 Warmblood gelding by Quickfeuer van Koekshof x Fellini

FRANCOIS MATHY (BEL), Ingrid Normar: 4/115.815

10. COLGATE: 2003 Holsteiner mare by Concorde x Calando I

PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), Pablo Barrios: 4/119.068

Source: Press release from Spruce Meadows Media Services

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