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Hugh Graham captures $50,000 Grand Prix at CSI2* Orangeville International

Monday, 19 August 2013

Hugh Graham and Distant Star 3E won the $50,000 CSI2* Zucarlos Grand Prix at the CSI2* Orangeville International Show Jumping Tournament. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography.Canadian Olympian Hugh Graham saved the best for last, winning the $50,000 CSI2* Zucarlos Grand Prix, presented by Kubota Canada & Stewart’s Equipment, on Sunday, August 18, at the CSI2* Orangeville International Show Jumping Tournament in Orangeville, ON.  Held for the second year at the Orangeville Agricultural Society (OAS) Event Centre, the CSI2* Orangeville International is produced by Hayes Co.

Graham of Schomberg, ON, was the last to go, mastering the first round track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela to make it seven for the jump-off.  As the final rider to return for the jump-off, Graham knew exactly what he had to do to win, and the 64-year-old veteran rose to the challenge, shaving almost three seconds off the leading time.

“I thought it was a nice course,” said Graham of the track set in a large grass field.  “Leopoldo got seven clean, which was more than I thought he would get as it was technical enough.  The jump-off track was nice; it had some different options in it.  I was very efficient, and it worked out well for me.  It didn’t hurt that I went last, too.”

Fresh off her recent appearance at the North American Young Riders’ Championship where she was Canada’s top finisher placing eighth overall, Jacqueline Steffens of Harriston, ON, was the first rider to post a clear round over the shortened jump-off track.  Riding Quercus Van Generhese, a 13-year-old bay Belgian Warmblood gelding owned by her family’s Double C Farm, the 19-year-old set the early time to beat at 48.19 seconds.

Two horses later, Roberto Teran and Woklahoma, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, took over top spot after crossing the timers in 46.51 seconds.  As the final challenger, Graham had the final say, taking the win in 43.64 seconds with Distant Star 3E, a horse formerly campaigned by Teran when he rode for KingRidge Stables.

“I knew what I had to do, and I knew what my horse could do,” said Graham of the 14-year-old Canadian Sport Horse mare owned and bred by KingRidge Stables of King, ON.  “It’s a great horse, it’s been in the ribbons every class this year, and this is its third or fourth win.  I’ve been riding it the last couple of years.  We bred it, Roberto showed it for the first few years when he worked for us, and then I took over.  It’s always proved that it wants to be a winner.  It’s quick enough, nice stride, well-broke, handy.  It’s very competitive.”

For Graham, it was especially nice to compete so close to home. “It’s a dream for me,” he smiled.  “All of these shows are right in our neighbourhood.”

The Orangeville Agricultural Society (OAS) Event Centre boasts a grass field, which is becoming rare in show jumping sport as many competition venues are opting for the more easily maintained and weather-friendly all-weather footing. “It’s nice to have a change for sure, and we don’t see grass very often,” noted Graham, who made his Olympic debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.  “It’s nice to compete on grass, it gets you prepared for when you have to jump on grass at venues like Spruce Meadows, and that’s important.  Orangeville is now the only place we have to jump on grass in Ontario.”

Two-time Olympian Jay Hayes, who Co-Chairs the Orangeville International alongside his wife, Shawn, noted, “People enjoyed jumping on this huge surface, the size of the ring is 400’ x 300’, which is the biggest in eastern Canada.  All of the exhibitors really loved Leopoldo’s open courses; galloping on the grass in the huge open field is what it’s all about.  That’s where our sport came from, and that where it has to go.”

Hayes was especially pleased with the final day of competition, noting, “Leopoldo set a very nice track, the sun was shining, our sponsor tent was full, and it was beautiful weather.  Special thanks to Kubota Canada and Stewart’s Equipment, special thanks to Trish Crang and Highland Meadows, and special thanks to the Aziz family and Iron Horse Farm.  Without our sponsors, we couldn’t have sport.”

John Gilliland, General Manager, Sales and Marketing for Kubota Canada, and Rob Allison, National Marketing Manager for Kubota Canada, were on-hand to make the presentation to Graham, joined by Ed Stewart of Stewart’s Equipment, a local Kubota dealership based in Erin, ON.  The $50,000 CSI2* Zucarlos Grand Prix, presented by Kubota Canada & Stewart’s Equipment, is named in memory of the legendary show jumping horse Zucarlos, Hayes’ mount at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Earlier in the week, Teran of Colombia took the top two places in the $25,000 Hayes Co. Open Welcome held Friday, August 16, following a 12-horse jump-off.  Teran guided Woklahoma to victory for the ARK Partners LLC and also finished second riding ADC Chef Z for owner Bob Suriwka.  Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, settled for third with Cantera and fourth with Brooklyn Blues while 2008 Olympic team silver medalist of King City, ON, rounded out the top five riding Vannety B for Silver Bay Holdings.

Karina Aziz of Hamilton, ON, topped a three-horse jump-off to win Saturday’s $10,000 1.40m Highland Meadows Modified Grand Prix riding Fleur Rooster van Betz for Iron Horse Farm.  Ryan Roy of King City, ON, took second with Limbo 124 while Hayes rounded out the top three riding Leondias for owner and class sponsor, Trish Crang.  Graham and In The Money 3E took fourth while Aziz and a second mount, Chacco’s Goldy, placed fifth.

Building on the success of its inaugural event in 2012, the CSI2* Orangeville International attracted top competitors, including numerous Olympians, to the 84-acre OAS Event Center.  Spectators enjoyed the excitement from the ringside ‘Champions Pub’ where Pommies Dry Cider was flowing. Having formerly organized show jumping tournaments in Sutton, Collingwood and Ottawa, the Hayes family’s Hayes Co. celebrated its 29th year by mounting the international show jumping event in its hometown of Orangeville.  Two-time Canadian Olympian Jay Hayes, his wife Shawn, and their three daughters, Lauren, Ainsley and Regan, and son-in-law Johan Letimonier, all call Orangeville home.

Hayes Co. would like to thank all of the sponsors who make the Orangeville International possible through their generous support: Antarés, Best Western Inn & Suites Orangeville, Blackbird, Casillero del Diablo, Cavalier Transportation Services, Champion Shavings, Dutch Masters, Equestrian Factory Outlet, Equitex, Friends of the Tournaments, Glen Echo Nurseries, Hearn Veterinary Services, Henry Equestrian Insurance, Highland Meadows, Highlands National Leasing, Horse Sport, Iron Horse Farm, Kubota Canada, Luke Proulx Farrier Services, Martha W. Jolicoeur/Illustrated Properties, McKee-Pownall, Mill Street, NationWide Auto Warranty, Nobelton Feed Mill, Olive Media, Omega Alpha, Orangeville Citizen, Patrón XO Café, Pommies Dry Cider, Premier Marine, Rock Garden Farms, Rogers TV, Sarkis Equine Design, St. Remy, Stewart’s Equipment, Stonewood Construction Management, the Mitton/Lewtas Family, Thompson, Tooze, McLean &Elkin, and Wentworth Stables.

The CSI2* Orangeville International is pleased to offer a portion of proceeds to the Headwaters Hospital in Orangeville, its charity partner for 2013.

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