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Juan Carlos Garcia tops Wednesday’s Akita Drilling Cup at Spruce Meadows

Thursday, 07 September 2017
CSIO5* Spruce Meadows 'Masters' 2017

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.
Juan Carlos Garcia with Gitano v Berkenbroeck. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

Juan Carlos Garcia (ITA) kicked off the Spruce Meadows 'Masters' in the very best way, when winning Wednesday's $86,600 Akita Drilling Cup set at 1.60m – riding Gitano v Berkenbroeck (Nabab de Reve x Ti Amo van het Lambroeck).

“This horse is really brave, not spooky at all. He has a lot of power and a good head. Tomorrow he will just do a small class, then the Nations Cup and then we see,” Garcia said after the win.

It turned out to be a very difficult first round with the music-themed combination at no. 8 giving most of the riders a real headache. The poles fell over and over, and there were also some surprising refusals from very experienced horses. Also the time allowed stopped as many as eight riders from entering the jump-off after getting one time penalty. In the end nine – out of the 46 riders – came back for the shortened jump-off course.

“The time was very short, but I heard before coming here that I should expect that. You need a quick horse here,” Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) comment on the time allowed and Garcia added: “The first round was almost like a speed class.”

Luciana Diniz (POR) has opened the show in fantastic form, and for a while it looked like she would win her second class of the day this time riding the 18-year-old Winningmood (Darco x Cassini I). Diniz stopped the clock in 36.83 seconds and it was not until Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) entered the arena that she had to see herself beaten by 0.07 seconds. Von Eckermann’s big jumping Chacanno (Chacco-Blue x Kannan) takes some time in the air, but is fast across the ground – ending 2nd in the end ahead of Diniz.

“When I knew I got the opportunity to go here, after I was 6th in the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen –which is also a very big grass arena – I didn’t do any more shows with Chacanno and tried to get him ready for this show. I felt in Aachen that these kind of arenas suit him, and I think I was right as he felt amazing today,” von Eckermann explained

Garcia was one of the last riders in the jump-off and he managed to shave another 0.25 seconds off von Eckermann’s time to take over the lead and win the class. Fourth place went to Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) with G&C Unicstar de l'Aumone (Ninio de Rox x Timorrak des Isles), while Lauren Hough (USA) ended fifth riding Waterford (Coolcorron Cool Diamond x Julio Mariner xx).

"This is a really nice show and it is a bit different than the shows in Europe," concluded Garcia. "Here they really take care of the sponsors, which I like."


Text and picture © World of Showjumping

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