Kent Farrington Clinches Victory in the Prestigious ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup Grand Prix
For the second year in a row, the current World #1 rider from the United States, Kent Farrington, jumped to the gold medal in this afternoon’s ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows. This prestigious grand prix, inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth in 1990, has become a momentous event where every show jumping athlete aspires to one day claim victory. For Farrington, the dream has come to fruition not twice but three times now in his incredible career. Riding the amazingly fast and athletic mare Gazelle, owned by both Kent Farrington and Robin Parsky, the level of competition was brought to an outstanding high after a challenging first round brought back the top 12 placed riders each of notable talent, representing eight different nations.
“Today was a very nice course set by Santiago as he usually does and I believe these two round grand prix are usually built with the first round as a qualifier to the second. Then the second he’ll turn the screws a little tighter, the jumps are bigger and the time is quite short so it definitely puts more pressure on the riders. I think you saw the quality of the field today with Lamaze, Weishaupt and myself on the horse that won last year in the final throws. To have the win here on the final week of the Summer Series, on a two-round grand prix with top prize money – I am just thrilled with the horse today.”
The first athlete to set the pace for the jump-off was Philipp Wieshaupt of Germany aboard LB Convall, a 10-year-old Holstein Stallion owned by Ludger Beerbaum Stables. Wieshaupt maneuvered the jump off course as fast as he could in hopes to put the pressure on Canadian great Eric Lamaze and Farrington, two athletes known for their speed. Weishaupt commented, “Having these two athletes behind you, I could not take any chances with my track. My horse is naturally slower, so I tried to put on as much pressure to encourage a mistake, but unfortunately I was the one with the mistake. After the first two rounds I could feel my horse getting tired and I needed to give him a little bit more room to fence three, so it was absolutely my error. But I was second with a rail and I feel I would have still been second on a clear round so I am super happy with my horse.”
Ending with the Bronze medal around his neck was Eric Lamaze (CAN) aboard Fine Lady 5, a 14-year-old Hanoverian mare owned by Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines. With the slightest toe touch on fence number two, Eric would end up with a four fault score in the jump-off with a time just 0.34 seconds behind Weishaupt.
“From going last in the second round to having just the three horse jump off there was a very quick change, so I felt like a ran out of horse a little bit because she was still catching her breath from the second round. I didn’t see Kent or Philipp go but I knew I couldn’t hold back on anything, so I did the 8 strides down the first line and have the unlucky rail. I didn’t know how fast Philipp had gone and I just didn’t have enough, but I’m absolutely thrilled with the horse,” said the Canadian star. Not all was lost for Eric as he made Spruce Meadows history with this placing in the Grand Prix as the first ever athlete to reach the $5 million dollar milestone on the Top 20 All Time Prize Money Winnings tally. Eric said about the milestone, “I’ve had a lot of great horses who’ve brought me great wins but I know I owe a lot of this to Hickstead. Spruce Meadows has been very good to me and my career and I think this is a big honor and I’m incredibly happy to have that title.”
Watch Kent Farrington and Gazelle’s winning round in the ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ Tournament presented by Rolex.
For full results, click here.
Tiffany Foster Holds the Imperial Winning Round Title for Second year in a Row
Canadian National Team Member Tiffany Foster defended her championship title in the Imperial Winning Round 1.50m competition at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ Tournament.
Riding the same mount that won her the Imperial title in 2016, the 11-year-old gelding by Contendro II, Brighton, she once again captured victory in the winning round competition. Still on high from last night’s win in the Pepsi Challenge, Foster kept the momentum going for an all or nothing ride around the shortened track.
Foster commented, “I know this horse so well and after walking the course, I knew the first round would be pretty tricky for him. Normally, in this type of competition, the plan is to go fast to seal your order in the winning round, but I knew my horse well enough that I just need to go clear and get him into the jump off. I knew the jump-off really suited him so after taking it easy in the first round it was obvious I would go in the near the start of the order – which ended up being my main advantage because I had a great plan. If I had the opportunity to see anyone else go I know I would have tried to modify the plan; which, in the end, would have been my downfall.” Tiffany crossed the finish line with a time of which put her and the gorgeous bay gelding ahead of the pack to seal the win by nearly a second.
The second place finisher was American McLain Ward taking his super-fast mount, the 15 year-old Zangersheide gelding, HH Carlos Z, into the winning round with the advantage of the anchor position. Out of the 30 competitors to walk through the clock tower, 11 would perform clear rounds to seal their positions in the second round. Ward piloted HH Carlos to the silver medal position, arriving through the finishing timers 0.74 seconds behind the amazingly talented Brighton.
Another American veteran to finish on the podium was the great Leslie Howard aboard the mare she holds in high regard, Donna Speciale, a 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood by Cavalier. Howard also rode her athletic mare to a double clear score with a time of 41.93 seconds, 1.29 seconds behind Ward.
Watch Tiffany Foster and Brighton’s winning round in the Imperial Winning Round on Saturday at the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ Tournament presented by Rolex.
For full results, click here.