Finally, after what seems like forever, I made it back to Spruce Meadows on Thursday evening! Although my visit was cut short by what seems like a nasty head cold coming on (I will take cold medicine today), I did manage to take in the 1.50m Prairie Mines & Royalty Cup, and catch some of the warm-up for the 1.60m Spectra Energy Cup. Like always, the grounds were groomed to perfection, and were only out shone by the magnificent horses and riders.
I should preface by saying that I not get to see any of Eric or Tiffany’s new horses, but there is still lots of time for that! I promise lots of pictures and news about them.
A horse that I did get to see in person, a horse that I drooled over every time I saw him during a live feed, was McLain Ward’s Super Trooper de Ness. My thoughts? Wow!! Of course he is gorgeous, but he is also an extremely impressive athlete. I’m really looking forward to watch him contest some of the bigger classes in the coming weeks, this horse is a star! He really reminds me of Antares in the way that he goes; a tremendous amount of power and scope, exactly the type of horse that can win the biggest classes in the world. Although they pulled a rail in the Prairie Mines Cup, they started the week off with a bang, winning Wedensdays 1.45m Enbridge Cup.
Alright, getting back to Thursday’s competitions, the Prairie Mines & Royalty Cup really made the pairs work. Three rounds of jumping were required before the field could be pinned, round one in the morning, followed by round two (top 16) and the jump off (top 8) in the evening. Not only did the horses need scope to get around the fairly big 1.50m course, but they needed stamina if they were to have anything left in the tank come the jump-off. A pair that really stood out was HJU favourite, Katie Dinan and Nougat du Vallet. Having made it into round two, Katie and Nougat flew around the course, easily earning their way into the top 8 for the jump-off. I’m not sure I have ever seen Nougat get tired, he is incredibly peppy and seems to be able to pop off the ground from just about anywhere, showing off his excess energy with crowd pleasing (maybe not so rider pleasing) little bucks.
Second last to go in the jump-off, Katie and Nugget really went for it, taking the inside turns and galloping at the fences, posting a clear in the time of 46.13 seconds. Personally, I thought they had it. They are a very quick pair that, if the rails stay up (and they usually do), are very hard to beat. Also, last to go, Lauren Tisbo, was on a fairly new horse, so I expected her to be slightly conservative. Well, if the jump-off ended at the intermediate marker, Katie would have had it. Lauren’s intermediate time was over a second slower than Katie’s, but when she crossed the finish line, the clock stopped at 45.22!!! Talk about making up time on the later half of the course! I could hear someone yelling “GALLOP” from the in-gate, and well, she did and it worked!
Of course, a huge congratulations to Lauren, but let’s make it extra big since it was her first big win at Spruce Meadows!
So, at this point I was starting to feel sick and didn’t think I could make it through another whole class, so I walked over to the warm-up arena to see what was happening. My apologies for skipping the Spectra Energy Cup, but I will try to make it up to you with some images from the warm-up arena! Also, through the magic of online results, I can tell you that Darragh Kerins won it, Ashlee Bond was second, and Captain Canada was third (yay!).
Keep checking back for continued coverage over the weekend, and I will also be adding photos to the HJU Facebook page, so keep your eyes peeled!
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