As cliche as it sounds, time really does fly. It honestly seems like I was in Vegas yesterday and that the summer series at Spruce Meadows was light years away. Well, the sun is shining, the jumps are set, and the horses are back in Calgary; the 2015 summer series is well underway!
As per usual, the series drew some of the best horses and riders in the world. Ian Millar, Eric Lamaze, Rich Fellers, Kent Farrington, Beezie Madden, and Connor Swail, just to name a few, are all here to battle it out for some serious prize money, ranking points, and overall prestige.
Kicking things off with the ‘National’ tournament, the biggest class of the weekend was Saturday’s $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. With a huge field of 50, the class was split into two phases- one in the morning before the speed class, and the other in the afternoon. Overall, Uliano Vezzani’s course was not horrific, but rather was a nice first GP of the series. There was nothing that stood out as super trappy, nor where there any definite trouble areas on course.
Being Canadian, of course I was pretty excited to see how the home country would do. Finishing the ‘Masters’ with Ian winning the 1.5 million CP International left a pretty exciting feeling in the air. There are pictures of he and Dixson all over the grounds, and really, it’s not something that fans will forget anytime soon. Another pair that keeps getting better and better is Tiffany and Tripple X. It is clear that their partnership is progressing, and I have super high hopes for them (and I know they won’t disappoint).
At the end of the first round, twelve pairs had posted a clear round to make it into the jump-off, including last years winner, Jamie Azcarraga, and three Canadians: Ian Millar, Tiffany Foster, and Yann Candele. Although I wish I could say that we got to hear the Canadian anthem at the end of the day, I am still pretty happy with how things played out. Posting a careful clear, Yann would place fifth, Tiffany would pull a single rail for seventh, and Ian would also just drop one for eighth.
So who won it? Well, it was an American horse race.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Reed is pretty great. Not only is she a gifted rider, but she is a good person. Always smiling, saying hi and waving to fans during the parade, she is a great ambassador for the sport.
On Saturday, Reed and Cylana were on great form. I overheard her dad talking, and he was saying how Spruce Meadows seems to be Cylana’s favourite place to jump. I definitely believe that. They made very easy work of the first round, and came back halfway through the jump-off and went for broke. She rode FAST. I really thought she had it, and after coming second in the CP last fall, I would have loved to see her take the win.
Well, one of her American counterparts had other ideas.
Currently ranked #3 in the world for good reason, Kent Farrington is always a threat in any class that he rides in. Then, pair him with Voyeur, and you know that they are serious contenders. Coming into the jump-off a little later on, Kent started off with a big gallop and then just let it roll. Although he said “Whoa!” a couple of times, you could tell that he was letting Voyeur run, and he certainly had no plans to touch the rails. Making the long gallop down to the last fence I think most of us were holding our breath, but there was no need to worry, they had it.
Now, most of you know that I’m a big fan of Voyeur’s barn mate, Uceko, but I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for him as well. That horse is easily one of the best on the circuit, and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon. I remember watching them at Spruce in 2012 and being interested, so it’s great to see them on top now.
That’s all for now,