Opening up the evening was the $205,000 Encana Cup 1.60m, and the fastest in the jump-off was Calgary's own Ben Asselin on Makavoy. There were 23 entries in the $205,000 Encana Cup, but only three were able to advance to the jump-off in driving rain. First to return was Christian Ahlmann (GER) on Taloubet Z. They had a rail at fence 15, an oxer off a right-hand rollback, for four faults and finished with a time of 46.73 seconds. Francois Mathy (BEL) and Espadon van de Kranenburg also had four faults, but with a slower time of 55.08 seconds.
Last in, Asselin and Makavoy were efficient through the turns and as they cleared the final oxer, the crowd burst into cheers when the scoreboard flashed #1. They posted a time of 53.94 seconds for the win. "We originally had [planned] a pretty fast track to try to have a clear round, but when I walked up everyone told me that both riders had four faults. I took a bit of a risk going so slow in the jump-off because if I had a rail down, I probably would have been third, but Makavoy was just unbelievable. He didn't want to touch any rails," Asselin explained.
Staying cool as the last in the ring was something Asselin had to accomplish. "I really had to work on keeping myself cool around the entire track. Even coming down to number one, my heart was racing. Coming down to the last fence I really had to stay cool. When I landed from that last fence all those emotions just let go," he revealed.
He said of his partner Makavoy, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Hors La Loi II x Ahorn, "He's quite a little horse, but he has a huge heart. He has a ton of power and has a lot of motor. He's quite sensitive to ride. He gives you a lot of confidence on that size track. He really takes you down to the jumps and always wants to get to the other side of the jumps. It's a really fun horse to ride. He's really quick and he has his own style over the top of the jumps, but he gets himself over them."
Asselin is just 19 years old, and this was his first win in the International Ring. "It's surreal," he said with a huge grin. "I've been dreaming about winning in the International Ring forever, let alone in the 'Masters' Tournament. The caliber of horses and riders is spectacular all week. I really came into this division as a true rookie. I haven't done that many tracks this height. I had no plan on winning anything. I have an incredible horse and he showed me he could do it."
Final Results: $205,000 Encana Cup 1.60m
1. MAKAVOY: 2003 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Hors La Loi II x Ahorn
BEN ASSELIN (CAN), Attache Stables: 0/0/53.94
2. TALOUBET Z: 2000 Dutch Warmblood stallion by Galoubet A S.F. x Polydor
CHRISTIAN AHLMANN (GER), Judy Ann Melchoir and Christian Ahlmann: 0/4/46.73
3. ESPADON VAN DE KRANENBURG: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Kimball x Quito Fleur Z
FRANCOIS MATHY (BEL), Jacques Leterme: 0/4/55.08
4. CORNET D'AMOUR: 2003 Westphalian gelding by Cornet Obolensky x Damiani
DANIEL DEUSSER (GER), Stephex Stables & Double H Farm: 1/77.69
5. DENVER VAN'T GOEMANSHOF: 2003 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Vigo D'Arsouilles x Heartbreaker
OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Stal de Kalvarie: 1/78.25
6. QUISMY DES VAUX HDC: 2004 Selle Francais mare by Dollar de la Pierre x Super de Bourriere
KEVIN STAUT (FRA), Haras des Coudrettes: 4/69.72
7. HALLMARK ELITE: 2000 Zangersheide gelding by Lord Barron Z x Renville
DERMOTT LENNON (IRL), Keonan Stables Ltd: 4/73.01
8. OHLALA: 2003 Swedish Warmblood mare by Orlando x Cardento
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Lauren Hough: 4/73.97
9. SIMON: 1999 KWPN gelding by Mr. Blue x Polydox
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 4/74.24
10. BLUE ANGEL: 2002 AES mare by Luidam x Ascendant
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 4/74.24
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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