The 'North American' Tournament continued Friday, and it was Reed Kessler (USA) and Wolf S who took the highlight victory of the day in the $50,000 Lafarge Cup 1.50m over Lauren Tisbo (USA) with Catharina 9. Frances Land (USA) and Vieanne were very fast to win the $33,000 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m as the first ones in the jump-off.
The 'North American' Tournament continues through Sunday, July 7, and features the $200,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday, July 6, and the $140,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby on Sunday, July 7. The $50,000 Lafarge Cup 1.50m started out in darkening skies and continued in driving rain, but the course set by Anthony D'Ambrosio of New York looked to be more of an obstacle. Only two of the 24 entries were clear, and it was deja vu all over again as Reed Kessler and Lauren Tisbo, the two riders from yesterday's jump-off in the $35,000 PwC Cup 1.60m, went against each other in today's final competition. However, this time it was on their newer mounts.
Kessler noted, “I love Anthony's courses. He's my favorite course designer. It's all very smooth, but technical. There wasn't really any moment that was a freebie. I was expecting more (in the jump-off), but then the weather really turned and it was quite dark.”
Kessler and Wolf S, a 10-year-old Warmblood gelding by Numero Uno x Peter Pan owned by Iron Works Partners, drew the unenviable first position in the jump-off again. Kessler was riding for that all-important clear round and she did just that, finishing in 37.08 seconds. Lauren Tisbo and Catharina 9, a nine-year-old Mecklenburg mare by Cellestial x Monsum owned by Tequestrian Farms LLC, were next in. They pulled a rail at jump 10b for four faults in 38.05 seconds and the runner-up place.
Kessler had Thursday's second-place finish in her mind as she entered today's jump-off. “I made that mistake yesterday. I was fast and had an unlucky rail at the first fence. I didn't want to outsmart myself and go blazing and risk having a rail,” she recalled. “I've spent a lot of time working on control with him and haven't stepped into that next phase yet of speed. That's totally the next phase still. I tried to be fast where I knew I could be quick, the first few jumps, and doing eight (strides) into the combination, and then bringing it home clear at the end of the course. Lauren is also on a new horse. It's a fantastic horse and another star in the making. But we were kind of in the same boat, wagering how fast exactly we had to go.” Third place went to Darragh Kerins (IRL) on E Muze Yek. They had one time fault in the first round in 76.77 seconds.
After eight second place finishes during the Spruce Meadows Summer Tournaments, it was a “relief,” for Kessler, who turns 19 next week, to score her first victory. “All of my horses have been jumping so well. I've been pretty consistent. You can't complain too much, being second is great. But eventually it's a hair disheartening that you can't win one!” she remarked. “I was trying to be a good sport about it, but I'm a competitor and I've been competitive since I was a little child on ponies. It was really exciting, especially because he's a new horse for me.”
Another new experience for Kessler was winning on a horse owned by a syndicate, Iron Works Partners. “It's my first syndicate of owners, besides my parents, with Clifford Press and Gary Bisantz. I'm thrilled that I could deliver their first win,” she said.
Kessler started riding Wolf S in January and credited his “immaculate front end.” She added, “He likes to be very close to the jump, closer than any of my other horses. It's sort of surprising how well he jumps from there. He's got a lot of personality. When I first got him, it was kind of in a negative way. He's a fighter and if I can get him to fight for me, that's when he goes best. If I can place him where he wants to be, there's nothing he can't jump.” Kessler called Wolf S “a star” and said while they have been working on his tricky mouth, she feels that today's performance shows his potential. “This is the best he's been over this technical of a track and this tight of a time allowed, so I'm thrilled with him,” she expressed.
Final Results: $50,000 Lafarge Cup 1.50m
1. WOLF S: 2003 Warmblood gelding by Numero Uno x Peter Pan Reed Kessler (USA), Iron Works Partners: 0/0/37.08
2. CATHARINA 9: 2004 Mecklenburg mare by Cellestial x Monsum LAUREN TISBO (USA), Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/4/38.05
3. E MUZE YEK: 2004 Belgian Warmblood gelding by For Pleasure x Carthago DARRAGH KERINS (IRL), Darragh Kerins & Maarten Huygens: 1/76.77
4. COLASKO: 2005 Oldenburg stallion by Coleman x Grannus NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Monica Burrillo Eguia: 2/81.04
5. AMADORA: 2003 KWPN mare by Chin Chin x Indoctro BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 4/74.46
6. DIKTATOR VAN DE BOSLANDHOEVE: 2003 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Capital SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm: 4/74.77
7. PALOUBET: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Baloubet Du Rouet x Voltaire WILTON PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch LLC: 4/75.55
8. ALBERTO II: 2003 Holsteiner gelding by Acorado x Cassini I KARA CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 7/86.98
9. MARTHA LOUISE: 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare by Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 8/72.96
10. FALCO VAN DE CLEHOEVE: 2005 Warmblood gelding by Quickfeuer van Koekshof x Fellini FRANCOIS MATHY (BEL), Ingrid Normar: 8/75.02
Source: Press release from Spruce Meadows Media Services
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