Jaclyn Duff of Edmonton celebrated the first FEI victory of her young career by winning the $35,000 CSI2* Sierra Excavating Enterprises Cup on Saturday, May 24, at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON. The $35,000 CSI2* Sierra Excavating Enterprises Cup was the highlight event of the CSI2* Caledon National held May 21 to 25, which marked the second tournament of the season held at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park. Next year, the Park will host the equestrian events for the 2015 Pan American Games.
An international starting field challenged Saturday's feature with riders representing Colombia, Ireland and Russia all figuring in the top 10. In the end, however, a three-way jump-off showcased top up-and-coming Canadian talent. Chris Sorensen, 31, of Caledon, ON, was the first to post a clear round over the clever track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela. Toronto's Jordan Macpherson, 24, followed suit and, as the last to go, Duff, 27, added her name to the jump-off list.
Leading off the tie-breaker, Sorensen and Wriomf, his 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, set the time to beat with a clear round in 39.39 seconds. Always fast, Macpherson bettered the time by crossing the timers in 37.06 but at the expense of a rail down with Piccobello du Val de Geer, a 15-year Belgian Warmblood mare owned by JEM Stables Inc. Duff had the advantage of being the last to go and, riding Stakkarus, left all the jumps in place in a time of 38.37 seconds to score her first victory at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) level.
"Leopoldo designed a great track, it was very technical and time allowed was very tight," explained Duff, a student at the University of Alberta. "I had the advantage of having already gone with my first horse, As Di Azurro, and had two rails and a time fault. I drew last in the order with Stakkarus, which is an awesome spot to be in! I was planning to jump clear and if I had a time fault, that was okay because my horse is new to this level and I'm pretty new as well. I jumped the first three jumps and he felt amazing; I managed to get in under the time allowed and jump clean!"
Duff, who has been training with Canadian Olympic team silver medalist Jill Henselwood in Oxford Mills, ON, for the past two years, continued, "My strategy for the jump-off was to go double clear. My horse is naturally quick. He jumped really well and was super amazing!"
Duff has also been partnered with Stakkarus for two years, having purchased the 10-year-old chestnut Oldenburg stallion during the 2012 Spruce Meadows Summer Series in Calgary, AB, from Brazilian rider Eduardo Menezes.
"He's very quirky," described Duff. "He's a red head! Little things set him off and make him wired and crazy, but that's also one of his best qualities because when you go back for a jump-off, he's so game."
Duff has enjoyed a successful career to date, winning the CET Medal Final at Toronto's Royal Horse Show in 2003 and earning a team silver medal for Alberta at the 2007 North American Young Riders' Championship. In 2012, she was named the Jump Canada National Talent Squad Champion, a means of recognizing riders with the potential to become future members of the Canadian Show Jumping Team. Proving the program's success, Duff has stepped into the international leagues with her victory in the $35,000 CSI2* Sierra Excavating Enterprises Cup. The fact that she did it at the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park only made the win sweeter for Duff.
"It's beautiful; they did an amazing job with it," said Duff of the newly-rebuilt equestrian facility. "The footing is amazing; my horses jumped great both weeks. I can't wait for the Pan Ams to be here!"
While a new face was in the winner's circle for the $35,000 CSI2* Sierra Excavating Enterprises Cup, it was Canadian Equestrian Team veteran and Caledon's own Yann Candele who led the victory gallop following Thursday's $35,000 Alberta Premium Open Welcome. A total of 11 horses found their way to a clear round over Palacios's opening round track with six again jumping clear in the jump-off.
With a reputation for being a true speed demon, Candele skillfully guided Brooklyn Blues to the win for owner Carol Sollak of Wellington, FL. The tiny 10-year-old Oldenburg mare turned in a time of 33.43 seconds that none could touch. Ian Millar, winner of last week's $35,000 CSI2* RAM Equestrian Grand Prix, came closest, clocking in at 35.15 seconds with Baranus while Sorensen took third and fourth with Wriomf and Recadis-B respectively. Henselwood has a star in the making with the nine-year-old stallion Quidam Blue earning fifth position while Calgary's Vanessa Mannix, 24, rounded out the double-clear efforts with Rubens LS La Silla.
For more information on the 2014 Equestrian Management Group competition schedule, including a full listing of hunter, jumper and equitation divisions, please visit www.equiman.com.
$35,000 CSI2* Sierra Excavating Enterprises Cup - Saturday, May 24
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Jaclyn Duff Edmonton, AB Stakkarus 0:0 38.37
2. Chris Sorensen Caledon, ON Wriomf 0:0 39.39
3. Jordan Macpherson Toronto, ON Piccobello du Val de Geer 0:4 37.06
4. Chris Sorensen Caledon, ON Recadis-B 1
5. Roberto Teran Colombia Woklahoma 4
6. Conor Swail Ireland Ariana 4
7. Roberto Teran Colombia Chanel 4
8. Jonathon Millar Perth, ON Contino 14 5
9. Erynn Ballard Tottenham, ON Wennous 5
10. Ljubov Kochetova Russia Wilford 2 8
11. Mac Cone King City, ON Vannety B 9
12. Jacqueline Steffens Harriston, ON Quercus van Generhese 9
$35,000 CSI2* Alberta Premium Open Welcome - Thursday, May 22
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Yann Candele Caledon, ON Brooklyn Blues 0:0 33.43
2. Ian Millar Perth, ON Baranus 0:0 35.15
3. Chris Sorensen Caledon, ON Wriomf 0:0 35.35
4. Chris Sorensen Caledon, ON Recadis-B 0:0 35.82
5. Jill Henselwood Oxford Mills, ON Quidam Blue 0:0 35.83
6. Vanessa Mannix Calgary, AB Rubens LS La Silla 0:0 42.35
7. Conor Swail Ireland Martha Louise 0:4 32.85
8. Jaclyn Duff Edmonton, AB Stakkarus 0:4 34.87
9. Roberto Teran Colombia Chanel 0:4 41.17
10. Lauren Patava Etobicoke, ON Sly 0:4 41.23
11. Jordan Macpherson Toronto, ON Piccobello du Val de Geer 0:8 32.88
12. Jacqueline Steffens Harriston, ON Quercus van Generhese 1
Source: Press release from www.startinggate.ca.
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