Spruce Meadows kicked off its final week of summer competition with the 'Pan American' Tournament CSI 5* on Thursday and a win for Colombia's Daniel Bluman and Apardi in the day's feature $33,500 G&C Farm Cup 1.50m. Ireland's Darragh Kenny also continued his hot streak this summer by winning the first international competition of the day riding Fantasy in the $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m. The 'Pan American' Tournament runs July 10-13, featuring the $400,000 Pan American Cup presented by Rolex on Sunday, July 13.
Uliano Vezzani of Italy set the track for 54 starters in Thursday's G&C Farm Cup, held in the Meadows on the Green with 15 qualifying for the jump-off. Three chose not to jump the short course, leaving 12 to advance with five double clear rounds.
Mexico's Antonio Chedraui was the first rider to clear the jump-off track with La Bamba and set the pace in 41.169 seconds to eventually take third place honors. Four rounds later, Pablo Barrios (VEN) and ZL Group, Inc.'s Zara Leandra took the lead in 38.691 seconds, but they were soon pushed back to second place. Last to go, Daniel Bluman and Ricardo and Alberto Simhon's Apardi sped through the track in 37.953 seconds to take the win. Kent Farrington (USA) and Robin Parsky's Gazelle finished fourth in 41.352 seconds. Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) and Polasko placed fifth with a time of 43.060 seconds.
Bluman started riding Apardi, a nine-year-old KWPN stallion (Corland x Kannan), when the horse was seven years old. The pair won the Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper Final during the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, in 2013. Apardi has since stepped up to the next level and become a competitive horse in Bluman's string.
"From the moment I got him from Colombia, he has always looked like a careful horse," Bluman stated. "He was a little bit difficult. He has a lot of energy and he gets a little bit anxious, but he always tries to be careful no matter what. It has been a long way to get the dressage going well and get his body to feel good and improve the rideability. I have to say that already one year ago when he first came to Spruce he already started showing special things. Right before coming to Spruce last year he won the final in Wellington, and then here at Spruce he jumped very well."
"Through the year as an eight-year-old he jumped in Europe and he was like every young horse, a little up and down, but he has been very good here this year," Bluman said. "When he arrived, unfortunately he got a little bit hurt on the plane coming from Europe, so I couldn't show him the first two weeks, but after that he started and he has been jumping really good. The first week he was clear the first day and then last week he was second in the 1.50m on Sunday, so he has been knocking on the door a little bit. Right now he is at the point where he is ready to start winning classes."
Going in last for the jump-off, Bluman had the opportunity to watch some of the early riders, including the leading round of Pablo Barrios. "I knew Pablo was leading. Pablo is a great friend of mine and a former trainer and I really wanted to beat him," Bluman declared. "We're good buddies, but of course every time you have a little chance or a little opening to beat your trainer, it's nice. It gives you a good feeling. Of course it is very healthy competition between us. It turned out well. This is the first win of the season for me and the first class that I have won here in two years, so I am very happy. I have been getting too many second places."
In the jump-off, Bluman knew exactly where Barrios had left the door open, and he went full out to the final fence. "I got Pablo to the last jump definitely," Bluman affirmed. "I know, because I spoke to Pablo when he came out of the course. He told me that he had been neat, but he knew that he had left an opening for the last jump. I did for sure at least one stride less in the last line. I know I have a super careful horse that at the end I can run as hard as I want, and the moment I let him read the jump, he is going to clear it. When I landed, without looking at the tower, I felt confident that I had him."
Apardi will jump Saturday's $83,000 Investors Group Cup 1.50m to conclude his summer at Spruce Meadows. He will then fly back to Europe to jump as second horse in Valkenswaard and will step up to be Bluman's first horse in the grand prix in Dublin. "We have big hopes for him," Bluman concluded.
Final Results: $33,500 G&C Farm Cup 1.50m
1 APARDI: Dutch Warmblood / S / 9 Corland x Kannan
DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Ricardo & Alberto Simhon: 0/0/37.95
2 ZARA LEANDRA: Dutch Warmblood / M / 10 Metropole x Ahorn
PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), ZL Group Inc: 0/0/38.69
3 LA BAMBA: Swiss Warmblood / M / 9 Lordanos x Chameur
ANTONIO CHEDRAUI (MEX), Antonio Chedraui: 0/0/41.17
4 GAZELLE: Belgian Warmblood / M / 8 Kashmir van Shutterhof x Diva Ter Elsen
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parsky: 0/0/41.35
5 POLASKO: Oldenburg / G / 11 Polytraum x Grannus
NICOLAS PIZARRO SUAREZ (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro Suarez: 0/0/43.06
6 NAVALO DE POHETON: Selle Francais / G / 13 Cumano x Double Espoir
SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc: 0/1/45.70
7 HH CARLOS Z: Zangersheide / G / 12 Chellano Z x Voltaire
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Double H Farm: 0/4/37.64
8 ANTON: Warmblood / G / 10 Marlone x Orville
JAIME AZCARRAGA (MEX), Jaime Azcarraga: 0/4/41.37
9 WKD PEPPERPOT:Irish Sport Horse / M / 12 Heritage Fortunus x Diamonds Aretrumps
SAMEH EL DAHAN (EGY), Joanne Sloan Allen: 0/4/42.06
10 ROSANA DU PARK: Dutch Warmblood / M / 9 Kannan x Ukase
CARLY ANTHONY (USA), Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines: 0/4/43.27
11 ZANDOR: Warmblood / S / 10 Oklund x Ulster
LUIS ALEJANDRO PLACENSIA (MEX), Luis Gerardo Plascencia: 0/8/43.84
12 SPECIAL LUX: Irish Sport Horse / G / 10 Lux x Coille Mor Hill
JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/15/51.30
Source: Press release from Spruce Meadows Media Services
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