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Mexico’s Manuel Gonzalez and Martialis win the CSI5* 1.50m Sun Life Derby at Spruce Meadows 'North American' 2024

Monday, 08 July 2024
CSI5* Spruce Meadows 'North American' 2024

Photo © Spruce Meadows Media/Tony Lewis. Mexico’s Manuel Gonzalez and Martialis won the CSI5* 1.50m Sun Life Derby at Spruce Meadows. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media/Tony Lewis.



Edited press release from Spruce Meadows



An adrenaline-filled CSI5* 1.50m Sun Life Derby packed the stands at the Spruce Meadows 'North American' 2024 on Sunday afternoon, with Mexico’s Manuel Gonzalez and Martialis (Nabab de Reve x Lord Z) emerging as the only pair to complete the incredibly difficult course with zero faults.

Gonzalez and Martialis successfully navigated 18 obstacles including a steep bank, water jump, and the notoriously challenging Devil’s Dyke.

“It’s an amazing day,” said Gonazalez. "I’m really happy about winning this. I jumped the same Derby two years ago here at Spruce. I finished seventh place. The Devil’s Dyke is really difficult, and the time allowed was also quite short, so I was worried about that.”

Second place went to Vaclav Stanek (CZE) and Jasper (Falaise de Muze x Gelha's VDL Emilion). Stanek won his first-ever five-star competition last month, the CSI5* 1.60m Duncan Ross Grand Prix, during the ‘Continental’, presented by Rolex. His performance since then, at Spruce Meadows alone, before Sunday’s result, has catapulted him from 1813th in the Longines Ranking to 718th.

“Even though I didn’t win today, it’s a dream come true because I always wanted to jump the Derby,” said Stanek, whose country’s flag now proudly adorns the wall of Spruce Meadows’ riders’ pub Time Faults. “It was also the first Derby today for Jasper, so I’m happy with the day today and with the whole show.”

Third place went to Australia’s Katie Laurie and Django II (Lordano x Brilliant Invader). Her delighted family, some visiting from abroad, cheered her on from the stands. “I was super happy with my horse,” Katie told. “He's never jumped the Derby. He's actually never even seen the Devil's Dyke before, so he was great.”

A noticeably younger field of 24 daring riders took to charismatic course designer Leopoldo Palacios’ (VEN) creation, which had a time allowed of 158s. Both Stanek and Laurie finished with four faults, as did Canada’s Isis Landsbergen with Carnaval (Chacco-Blue x Lanadel) who came fourth after finishing over a second longer than Laurie.


CSI5* 1.45m Kubota Cup to Donald Whitaker and Ulania 3

 A relieved Donald Whitaker (GBR) tips his cap following today’s Kubota Cup 1.45m with Ulania 3, telling us afterwards: “I really needed to win that one.”  Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk Donald Whitaker (GBR) won the CSI5* 1.45m Kubota Cup with Ulania 3. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk.

Sunday's triumph in the CSI5* 1.45m Kubota Cup is Donald Whitaker’s first of the entire four-week Spruce Meadows Summer Series — without it, the young member of the famous Whitaker riding clan would have blown his final opportunity for a victory here, leaving Canada empty handed.

“I’m so relieved,” said Whitaker. “Sampson told me if I didn’t win, he wasn’t going to be my friend anymore. But seriously, I had to win it, it was the last class, so if I didn’t win that, I wouldn’t have won anything. It’s been such an unlucky show, to be honest. I knocked a fence down a few times. This mare has actually been clear a few times, but with a time fault. It took its toll a little but I managed to do it on the last day. It’s a big weight off my shoulders, that’s for sure. To win anything, especially at this place, in this arena, that takes a lot.”

Whitaker beat 27 other entrants in the one-round speed event, completing the 13 obstacle, 15 effort course created by Spanish designer Santiago Verela Ullastres, in 76.45s. Second place-finisher Mckayla Langmeier (USA) and Chadina (Conthargos x Narew) were a fraction slower, finishing in 76.88s, while the third place pairing Kyle King (USA) and Sig Chiari (Cristallo II x Landadel) came third at 77.47s.


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