The $35,000 PwC Cup 1.50m was held on Thursday with a win for Ireland's Darragh Kenny aboard Oakland Ventures LLC's Picolo. Thirty-eight entries jumped the first round track followed by a seven-horse jump-off with three double clear rounds.
Eric Lamaze (CAN) was first to go over the short course with Artisan Farms LLC's Zigali P S and set the time to beat at a very fast 38.69 seconds, but eventually settled for second place when Kenny and Picolo took the challenge, next to go. They blazed through the course in 37.33 seconds to take the lead. Kevin Babington (IRL) and Shorapur LLC's Shorapur completed the only other double clear round in 40.00 seconds to finish third. Quentin Judge (USA) and Double H Farm's HH Dark de la Hart had the fastest four-fault round in the jump-off in 37.96 seconds for a fourth-place finish.
Kenny and Picolo have been on quite a roll this summer, including a win in Wednesday's $33,500 AON Cup 1.45m as well as two victories in the 'National' Tournament. Although Kenny has many fantastic mounts, he owns Picolo himself through his Oakland Ventures LLC, and has a special appreciation for the talented gelding.
"He's my pet," Kenny smiled. "He's my favorite. He is not a 1.60m horse; he never will be a 1.60m horse, but I gave everything I had to buy him. I got him, and he has never put a foot wrong for me. He goes in the ring every day and tries harder than any horse I know. Today I turned back to the second to last jump in the jump-off and I was at no distance, no anything, and I was like, 'Ok, here you go,' and he was like, 'I got it, it's no problem.' When you have a horse like that, it's an incredible feeling. It is also great because he is my own. That makes it even more special."
Kenny spoke about his winning round in Thursday's competition, explaining that although he won, Picolo was a big help in the jump-off. "The course was quite tough. The time allowed was very tight in the first round," he noted. "I went very early on before the break, so he had a lot of time to rest, which seems to be working for him. It's difficult to keep your concentration for that length of time and go back in, but the horse is an incredible horse. I don't think today was one of my best rides in jump-off rounds, but I think he saved me a lot. I don't think I have ever ridden something so careful that wants to win so much. I stepped him up a little bit today to 1.50m, which isn't a huge problem for him. I have been using him in the 1.45m classes because I know he definitely wins those! He coped super today. I was a little worried about Eric. Zigali is one of his best horses. He went first and he went very fast, so I had a lot to do, but when you have a horse like that, it's easy."
Kenny has had a phenomenal summer and praised his great horses. "I'm very happy! I have been very lucky," he smiled. "All of my horses have been going great. They seem to like it a lot here. Like everyone, confidence is a huge thing. It doesn't matter who you are, from me to Eric Lamaze to somebody in the 1.20m division, it's all about confidence. If you can believe in yourself and believe in the horse, when you win classes, you get more confident, and then you just get on a roll. When you're winning, it's a lot easier to put the bad rounds behind you. It is a massive advantage to have a lot of nice horses. I have eight horses that I'm showing in the FEI division here. It's an incredible opportunity and I think that is the main key to my success, that I have super, super horses."
The $33,500 Suncast Cup 1.45m was the first competition of the day in the International Ring with a win for McLain Ward (USA) and the 10-year-old KWPN gelding Zander (Cantos x Saygon), owned by Ward and Grant Road Partners LLC. The pair was incredibly fast over Leopoldo Palacios' speed track, setting the winning time of 63.61 seconds out of 78 competitors. In total, the course saw 17 clear rounds.
Ward finished almost three seconds faster than second place finisher Will Simpson (USA) aboard Monarch International's Warrant with a time of 66.50 seconds. Nick Dello Joio (USA) and Coker Farm's Contiki finished third in 67.38 seconds.
Ward and Zander have already had a great summer at Spruce Meadows with a win in the $33,500 Westmoreland Cup 1.50m during the 'National' Tournament in June as well as a second place in the $85,000 ATB Financial Cup 1.55M that same week.
Kicking off this week's 'North American' Tournament, Zander jumped in Wednesday night's 1.55m competition, but had some trouble on course that resulted in elimination. Ward chose to step down to the 1.45m track on Thursday to give his horse a positive experience.
"We went at a funny time of the day, and obviously it wasn't a great round," Ward acknowledged. "He was very backed off in that line on the side (of the ring). It was a different kind of test, and I would have handled some things different in my preparation. I went with a small spur; I should have had something bigger. I made a few errors in my prep, but actually, I had a feeling he would come back pretty strong today. I did decide to put him in this class because of it, to try and get him to even out a little bit. The speed class is normally pretty good for that."
Ward had Zander revved up and flying from the start for Thursday's 1.45m round. The first fence was set straight at the side of the ring where they had an issue the night before, but the rider was on it. "It was going up into that same kind of slot that he struggled with yesterday," Ward noted. "Yesterday was a little bit darker when I went, but I wanted him in front of my leg. He had a really good warm-up today. He's the type of horse where you set the pace, and he's careful enough to stay on it like that."
The pair also went 35th out of 78 entries, and Ward knew that he had to set an unbeatable time to maintain the lead to the end. "There were 40 coming behind me. Here, when you have those kind of numbers, you have to keep that in mind," he detailed. "It's not like a jump-off where I typically go with the philosophy, 'beat what's in front of me, the chips will fall where they are.' That's my way of thinking. This is a situation where you have to be aware of what's coming behind you in a class. Forty entries, at this level, if you just beat what's in front of you, you end up in the middle of the pack."
"Zander was great," Ward stated. "He is great at these speed competitions. He is careful, and he has a huge stride. I knew it was a big field, and I knew there were some fast ones coming behind, so I was going to try and set a pace that was a challenge for them, and fortunately it held up."
The 'North American' Tournament continues on Friday with the $33,500 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m and the $50,000 LaFarge Cup 1.50m in the International Ring. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Final Results: $35,000 PwC Cup 1.50m
1 PICOLO: Selle Francais / G / 11 Diamant De Semilly x Alme
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Oakland Ventures LLC: 0/0/37.33
2 ZIGALI PS: Dutch Warmblood / G / 10 Kigali x Palfrenier
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/38.69
3 SHORAPUR: Hanoverian / M / 9 Stakkato Gold x Drosselklang II
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Shorapur LLC: 0/0/40.00
4 HH DARK DE LA HART: Belgian Sport Horse / S / 11 Kashmir van Schuttershof x Nonstop
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm: 0/4/37.96
5 GELEDIMAR: Zangersheide / M / 11 Grosso Z x Lord Z
WILL SIMPSON (USA), Monarch International: 0/4/39.14
6 ROSANA DU PARK: Dutch Warmblood / M / 9 Kannan x Ukase
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC & Torrey Pines: 0/5/48.52
7 AMBOSELLI: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Silverstone x Lancelot
PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), Pablo Barrios: 0/8/44.50
8 QUIDAM BLUE: Hanoverian / S / 9 Quidam's Rubin x Come On
JILL HENSELWOOD (CAN), Ute Brinkmann: 1/75.04
9 PATER NOSTER: Belgian Sport Horse / G / 12 Parco x Heartbreaker
JACLYN DUFF (CAN), Jaclyn Duff: 1/75.81
10 CHAQUI Z: Zangersheide / S / 8 Chacco Blue x Quilana Z
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 1/76.89
11 SAMSON II: Swedish Warmblood / G / 10 Cardento x Bellini
KIRSTEN COE (USA), Lovsta Stuteri: 1/78.39
12 FREESTYLE DE MUZE: Belgian Warmblood / G / 9 Lord Z x Cento
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC: 2/79.34
Final Results: $33,500 Suncast Cup 1.45m
1 ZANDER: Dutch Warmblood / G / 10 Cantos x Saygon
MCLAIN WARD (USA), McLain Ward & Grand Road Parters LLC: 0/63.610
2 WARRANT: Dutch Warmblood / S / 11 Numero Uno x Nimmerdor
WILL SIMPSON (USA), Monarch International: 0/66.501
3 CONTIKI: Swedish Warmblood / G / 8 Contendro x Calido I
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), Coker Farm: 0/67.386
4 PALDATUS: Oldenburg / G / 13 Padarco x Aldatus
ANTONIO MAURER (MEX), Salvador Onate: 0/68.481
5 CHIARA WZ: Zangersheide / M / 14 Carthago Z x Voltaire
KARA CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 0/68.733
6 BELIEVE: Dutch Warmblood / M / 8 Ulcato x Burgraaf
DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Blue Star Investments: 0/69.681
7 LAPACCO: Holstein / G / 15 Lavaletto x Grundyman
WESLEY NEWLANDS (CAN), Weslands Farm: 0/71.048
8 DOBRA DE PORCEYO: Dutch Warmblood / M / 8 Action Breaker x Indorado
SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), Wolfstone Stables & Sales Inc: 0/71.316
9 SIEC LEDGEPOINT: Holstein / G / 13 Lancer II x Capitol I
GABRIELA MERSHAD (USA), Mershad Stables: 0/71.588
10 WAOMI: Dutch Warmblood / M / 11 Lupicor x Boreas
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA), Amalya Investments: 0/71.822
11 ZINNIA: Dutch Warmblood / M / 10 Mermus R x Darco
ANDREW WELLES (USA), Andrew Welles: 0/73.652
12 GENEROSO RM: Warmblood / S / 8 Orame x Bachus
ANTONIO CHEDRAUI JR (MEX), Armando Torrado Martinez: 0/74.016
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media Inc.
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