The $33,500 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m Derby was held in the All Canada Ring in the morning with a win for Ireland's Kevin Babington aboard Goodwins Loyalty. Twenty-eight entries jumped the track set by USA's Anthony D'Ambrosio with ten clear trips in the one round competition. Babington and the ten-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (OBOS Quality 004 x Candle King) jumped the fastest clear round in 105.94 seconds.
ick Dello Joio (USA) and Nathalie de Gunzburg's Fiego van de Zonnenweide stopped the clock in 109.28 seconds for a second place finish. Will Simpson (USA) and Monarch International's Axl-Rose finished a close third in 109.90 seconds.
Sunday's win marked Babington's first victory at Spruce Meadows. This year was his first time competing at the summer series, and he had a fantastic time riding in the last three weeks of competition, concluding with a great finish on Goodwins Loyalty. The mare was sent from England last year for Babington to sell, but had a setback with an injury. She is now getting back into top form and showing a lot of quality.
"I had her jumping really well up until the summer last year and then she had a sprain behind," Babington explained. "I ended up giving her the whole winter off. I just didn't think I would have her quite up and running for Florida, so she ended up having a good break. Maybe even longer than planned, but it worked out. The first two weeks here I was really working on her fitness. I would have loved to have done the big derby last week, but I didn't feel like she was quite up to it, so this was a nice way to finish the circuit up here. I feel like she's up and ready to go for the rest of the summer."
Goodwins Loyalty has had some derby experience previously jumping at the famous Hickstead Derby with Irish rider David Simpson. She was also ridden by Shane Breen of Ireland. For Babington, the challenging obstacles of the derby take him back to his earlier days as a rider. "I was an event rider before I got into show jumping," Babington explained. "I really only got into show jumping sort of halfway serious at 18. I did a little bit of steeple chasing too, so I'm well used to galloping."
That experience played to his advantage on course along with his horse's scope and speed on Sunday. "She has a nice big stride," Babington stated. "When I walked the course, I just thought I could take advantage of staying in a nice rhythm and not chasing her. I was able to do one less stride from jumps one to two. I thought if I could stay on that rhythm it might work out, and it did.."
Sunday's competition concluded Spruce Meadows' Summer Series. The world's top international riders return September 10-14 for the 'Masters' Tournament CSIO 5*. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Final Results: $33,500 Friends of the Meadows Cup Derby 1.45m
1 GOODWINS LOYALTY: Irish Sport Horse / M / 10 OBOS Quality 004 x Candle King
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 0/105.941
2 FIEGO VAN DE ZONNENWEIDE: Belgian Warmblood / G / 9 Quidam de Revel x Darco
NICK DELLO JOIO (USA), Nathalie de Gunzburg: 0/109.288
3 AXL ROSE: Warmblood / G / 14 Ti Amo van het Lambroeck x Forever
WILL SIMPSON (USA), Monarch International: 0/109.909
4 VICKY VAN HET GEINSTEINDE: Belgian Warmblood / M / 16 Skippy II x Lurano
LUIS ALEJANDRO PLACENSIA (MEX), Mario Onate: 0/111.404
5 BARBARO: Oldenburg / G / 8 Balou du Rouet x Carthago
NICOLAS PIZARRO SUAREZ (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro Suarez: 0/111.625
6 WORLDS JUDGEMENT: Dutch Warmblood / M / 11 Judgement x Farmer
LISA CARLSEN (CAN), Alycia Hayes: 0/115.367
7 LAPACCO: Holstein / G / 15 Lavaletto x Grundyman
WESLEY NEWLANDS (CAN), Weslands Farm: 0/115.405
8 NLF FAVORITE: Belgian Warmblood / M / 9 Action Breaker x Indoctro
EIRIN BRUHEIM (NOR), Nordic Lights Farm: 0/119.823
9 WISTFUL: Dutch Warmblood / M / 11 Grand Star x Polydor
TAYLOR ALEXANDER (USA), Alexander LLC: 0/121.209
10 REUS DE LA NUTRIA: Selle Francais / M / 9 Zandor Z x Kannan
ALBERTO SANCHEZ COZAR (ESP), Ricardo Romero: 0/121.818
11 ARIANA: Dutch Warmblood / M / 13 Oklund x Damiro
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan Grange: 4/106.411
12 REVENGE: Swedish Warmblood / G / 13 Quite Easy x Robin Z
SHELLEY FELLERS (USA), Shelley Fellers: 4/108.565
Source: Press release from Spruce Meadows Media Services
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