Millar and Dixson Victorious in $33,000 Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m
at 'Canada One' Tournament
Crooks Has Inaugural International Win,
Swail Continues with Consistency
For Immediate Release
Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Calgary, AB – June 28, 2013 – The 'Canada One' Tournament had three feature competitions in the Meadows on the Green today with winners from three different countries. Canada's 10-time Olympian, Ian Millar, took the win in the $33,000 Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m with Dixson. In her first international win at Spruce Meadows, Lauren Crooks (USA) and Navare D'Oriolles were fastest in the $33,000 Westjet Cup 1.45m. Conor Swail of Ireland rode Game Ready to victory in the $33,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m.
The 'Canada One' Tournament wraps up on Sunday with the $100,000 Esso Challenge, the third FEI World Cup qualifier to be held at Spruce Meadows this summer. Admission and parking are complimentary for this week.
The $33,000 Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m had 44 entries, and they competed over a course designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Canada. Five were clear in the first round to advance to the jump-off. First up was Eric Navet (FRA) on Quanto Fino 2. They were clear in a conservative time of 47.420 seconds for third place.
Ireland's Shane Sweetnam brought the winning pace down to 46.701 seconds on Diktator van de Boslandhoeve, which would hold up for second place. Fourth place went to Leslie Howard (USA) on Utah after they had four faults in 43.447 seconds.
Millar and Dixson were next in and they started with speed to the first jump. They finished with no faults in a quick time of 42.999 seconds. Millar said afterward, “Dixson's a naturally fast horse. My idea was to go along as quickly as I could without putting the jumps at too big a risk. It boiled down to a very efficient round. I didn't need to go quite as fast, but you never know with one behind you. You hate to leave it. I wanted to make sure.”
Ian Millar and Dixson. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.
The last horse in was Skylubet with Nicolas Pizarro of Mexico. They had eight faults in 47.801 seconds for fifth place.
Millar has been competing at Spruce Meadows since its inception and he was happy to win with yet another horse in the main ring. This is Dixson's first year competing at Spruce Meadows and his first win. The 10-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding is by Vigo D'Arsouilles x Olisco and owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. “He seems to enjoy Spruce Meadows. He's a grand horse and I have big hopes for him,” Millar said.
He continued, “What Spruce Meadows has done for our sport in Canada is unbelievable. It's helped to make our teams competitive around the world. That's a big deal. It continues to help with the development of the riders. We'd have to travel to Europe and all over the place to get the experience and exposure for our riders and horses. It wouldn't be practical to do. Here we have it right in our own country. I've been a great believer and supporter of Spruce Meadows. It's a real thrill for me to have continued success here.”
Millar said that the level of show jumping at the Spruce Meadows Summer Tournaments has “risen tremendously.” He recalled, “If you go way back, it used to be one week here, then two weeks, and now we have five weeks of jumping. It used to be national and some Americans would come, and now it truly is international with top riders from all over the world. It's just as competitive in many ways as the 'Masters' would be. You're only as good as those you compete against, so to have this opportunity to be pushed by these horse/rider combinations that are so fantastic is just nothing but good for us.”
Ian Millar in his trophy presentation with Mariel Hamou, General Manager of Duncan Ross.
Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Millar was complimentary of Dixson and even drew some parallels to his most famous partner, Big Ben, noting that in the maternal bloodlines, he believes Dixson's grandmother is Big Ben's full sister. “Talk about an interesting thing. Okay, am I imagining things to say there are certain similarities in the character? But there really are,” he expressed.
While Millar terms Dixson as “a very easygoing guy,” he still has a very strong character, and that it takes persuasion and not force to make him successful. “You have to get him to buy into the ideas. You have to sort of sell it to him and convince him as to why he should partner with you on a certain venture. Then he's right with you all the way,” he described.
Millar believes that Dixson has this in common with all top horses. “I believe that if you have to take the wins from a horse, there is a finite number of wins you can take. If a horse gives you those wins, the number that you may receive is infinite,” he commented. “Dixson gives me his efforts. I didn't take anything tonight; he was right in the game with me.”
Final Results: $33,000 Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m
1. DIXSON: 2003 BWP gelding by Vigo d’Arsouilles x Olisco
IAN MILLAR (CAN), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/0/43.00
2. DIKTATOR VAN DE BOSLANDHOEVE: 2003 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Capital
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm: 0/0/46.70
3. QUANTO FINO 2: 2003 Oldenburg gelding by Quick Star x Stutbuch 1
ERIC NAVET (FRA), Vanessa Ahlmann: 0/0/47.42
4. UTAH: 2001 KWPN gelding by Andiamo x Jus De Pomme
LESLIE HOWARD (USA), The Utah Group: 0/4/43.45
5. SKYLUBET: 2002 Oldenburg mare by Baloubet du Rouet x Domino
NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Ricardo Nizri: 0/8/47.80
6. POWERPLAY: 2004 Holsteiner gelding by by Casall x Limbus
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 1/81.39
7. NICE DE PRISSEY: 2001 Selle Francais stallion by Rosire x Amarpour
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 1/81.75
8. IV EVER: 2001 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Now or Never x Indoctro
JILL HENSELWOOD (CAN), Brian Gingras: 1/82.76
9. DARLING: 2004 Westphalian mare by Cornet Obolensky x Gralshuter
AINSLEY VINCE (CAN), The Darling Group: 1/84.29
10. AVENSIS 4: 2001 Westphalian gelding by Arpeggio x Apart
ELIZABETH GINGRAS (CAN), B Gingras Equestrian Ltd: 1/84.90
Crooks Takes First International Win At Spruce Meadows
The finish of the $33,000 Westjet Cup 1.45m could not have been any closer, with only one-thousandth of a second separating first and second place. With the slimmest margin of victory, Lauren Crooks (USA) and Navare D'Oriolles, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Derby Rouge x Le Gregol owned by Beatrice Mack, scored their first international victory at Spruce Meadows.
Crooks was one of eight combinations that made it to the jump-off. She and Navare D'Oriolles set the winning time at 39.833 seconds. Three horses later, Olympic gold medalist Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Wang Chung M2S sped around the shortened course and finished a hair slower in 39.834 seconds. While the results are usually recorded to the hundredth of a second, it was necessary to go to the third decimal point to find the winner.
Lauren Crooks and Navare D'Oriolles. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.
“The jump-off was a little tricky,” Crooks admitted. “There was a tight turn back inside to the wall. I honestly think that's where I made up most of my time. My horse is so brave and he just found that exactly how I wanted it. I was then able to fly to the last jump on another inside turn. He really stepped up to the plate.”
Third place went to Jill Henselwood (CAN) and New Idol Z, who had one time fault in 46.62 seconds. Jordan MacPherson (CAN) and Piccobello du Val de Geer made a great bid for the win in 37.55 seconds, but had a heartbreaking rail at the last jump.
Going into the jump-off knowing she still had five coming after her, including Lamaze, Crooks knew she had to stick to her plan. “I didn't try to think about how fast Eric would be and let it affect my riding,” she remembered. “I just had to go as fast as I could. My horse is so quick in the air and so efficient over the ground, that I really just had to steer him and be as comfortable as I could with that pace. He was wonderful.”
Crooks has been riding Navare D'Oriolles since November. She and her brother Sean recently moved their business, Crooks Show Jumping, back to their hometown of Seattle, WA, from New York and Florida. Navare D'Oriolles was previously ridden by Francis Tress Roig, who competed with him at the Central American Games. More recently, he showed in the junior jumpers with owner Beatrice Mack. He is currently for sale and campaigning with Crooks, who started in the 1.40m division this winter in Florida and finished second in the CSI 2* Thursday event at Thunderbird before Spruce Meadows.
Crooks described him as “so honest and light on his feet.” She added, “He's scopey and you can just sit there and let him do his job. It's wonderful because he's really straightforward.”
Lauren Crooks raises the trophy with Richard Bartrem, Vice President, Communications, Creative Services, &
Community Relations at WestJet. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.
Having arrived at Spruce Meadows a week ago, Crooks has made the most of her time here having won a 1.40m competition yesterday and her first international competition today. She said with a smile, “I've won (at Spruce Meadows) in the past, but yesterday was my first 'Spruce cooler.' Today and yesterday, I've been checking off big milestones for me. I've always looked up to the riders who ride in the International Ring here. It's one of the hardest venues in the world. It's always been a dream of mine to win here and to win in the bigger divisions too. This is just one step that I've checked off.”
When asked if she has ever seen a victory of this margin before, she laughed, “No. I'm just grateful my horse has a long neck and I kicked as hard as I could, I guess!”
Final Results: $33,000 WestJet Cup 1.45m
1. NAVARE D'ORIOLLES: 2001 Selle Francais gelding by Derby Rouge x Le Gregol
LAUREN CROOKS (USA), Beatrice Mack: 0/0/39.833
2. WANG CHUNG M2S: 2003 KWPN stallion by Royal Bravour x Ahorn
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Morningside Stud & Torrey Pines Stable: 0/0/39.834
3. NEW IDOL Z: 2004 Zangersheide mare by Nelson Z x Concorde
JILL HENSELWOOD (CAN), Juniper Farms: 0/1/46.62
4. PICCOBELLO DU VAL DE GEER: 1999 Belgian Warmblood mare by Kannan x Skippy II
JORDAN MACPHERSON (CAN), JEM Stables: 0/4/37.55
5. ELOUISE LE MUSE: 2004 Belgian Warmblood mare by Nabab de Reve x Darco
RICHIE MOLONEY (IRL), Equinimity LLC: 0/4/43.32
6. KA CHING: 2002 Irish Sport Horse gelding by Ricardo Z x Diamond Lad
DOMINIQUE SHONE (CAN), Caroline Shone: 0/5/46.39
7. HH WHISKY ROYALE: 2003 Zangersheide gelding by Wonderful Vant Beugelhof x Kannan
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA), Double H Farm: 0/8/44.19
8. CHRISTINE: 2004 Warmblood mare by Cassini 1 HLP
CAITLIN ZIEGLER (CAN), Artisan Farms LLC: 0/14/55.81
9. ZOJASPER: 2004 Dutch Warmblood stallion by Concorde x Jasper
KIRSTEN COE (USA), Ilan Ferder: 1/77.45
10. ZAVIRA: 2004 Dutch Warmblood mare by Karandasj x Numero Uno
ALEXANDER GRAYTON (CAN), Emily George: 4/71.35
Conor Swail and Game Ready Continue Consistency
With so many entries in the 1.45m today, it was split into two $33,000 competitions. The first of those was the $33,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m and the winner was Conor Swail on Game Ready, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Andiamo x Polydox owned by Susan Grange. They were the fastest clear in 38.41 seconds out of seven in the jump-off and 40 total entries.
Second place went to Brianne Goutal (USA) on Zernike in 38.89 seconds, while Abigail McArdle (USA) and Cosma 20 were third with a time of 42.36 seconds.
Swail recounted, “In the jump-off, Brianne went in just in front of me and I was able to see her. She had a very good round, but he is also a very fast horse. It gave me a good idea of the speed that would be needed. Thankfully I beat her and no one beat me.”
While Game Ready has been showing in the 1.50m division, Swail decided to step him down to the 1.45m. “He obliged nicely and he enjoyed his easier day!” Swail commented.
Game Ready has a unique way of going, and Swail revealed that it took a while for their partnership to click. “I found him challenging,” he said. “The new relationship took a little while. He's quite sensitive and he has his own way. I think it took him a while to get to know me also. It's paying off now. He's been unbelievably consistent since Florida. We're both on the same page now."
Conor Swail and Game Ready. Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Services.
He continued, “He's very careful. I never feel like I'm going to knock many jumps down. I think where he gets his speed (is that) he's a little low. He's good with his body and gets it high enough. It never feels unconventional even though sometimes it looks not so smooth. You have full confidence in him.”
While many find the path to victory in doing less strides than the horse in front of them, Swail thinks that Game Ready is faster because he doesn't leave strides out. In turn, the horse stays confident. “He can do more steps and be faster. He's shifty and very fast to turn. That's where he gets a lot of his speed from,” he explained. “You can be quite safe with him and still be fast. I like my rounds to be repeatable. I like to be able to do that every time, not go and do something silly and hope you get away with it. I always try to keep the confidence high in my horses. We all want to win, but maybe sometimes it's better to be second or third if you keep your horse happy and comfortable.”
Today's win was yet another placing for Swail, who has had an incredible series having placed in 15 of the 19 FEI events offered so far. “It's been unbelievable. It's not normal,” he conceded. “The horses have just been amazing and I'm lucky to have Sue and Ariel Grange and her family giving me the opportunity. It's a good relationship.”
Final Results: $33,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m
1. GAME READY: 2000 KWPN gelding by Andiamo x Polydox
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan Grange: 0/0/38.41
2. ZERNIKE: 2004 KWPN gelding by Sam R 60 x H Topas
BRIANNE GOUTAL (USA), Remarkable Farms LP: 0/0/38.89
3. COSMA 20: 2003 Hanoverian mare by Couleur Rubin x Stakkato
ABIGAIL MCARDLE (USA), David McArdle: 0/0/42.36
4. DUNDEE VD DWERSE HAGEN: 2003 Belgian Sport Horse by Caesar vd Helle x Brownboy
CAMERON HANLEY (IRL), Eleonore Paschoude & Yves Bouvier: 0/0/44.24
5. CANTANDO LYNGRIIS: 2001 Holsteiner stallion by Cassini I x Zarewitsch XX
DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Ilan Ferder & Kirsten Coe: 0/4/40.39
6. POLASKO: 2003 Oldenburg gelding by Polytraum x Grannus
NICOLAS PIZARRO (MEX), Nicolas Pizarro: 0/4/41.81
7. HER COURCHEVAL: 2001 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Camaro M x Cortez
SUSAN HORN (CAN), Kingsfield Farm: 0/21/62.41
8. CALERO: 2003 Holstiner gelding by Calato x Leandro
ALLYSSA HECHT (USA), Neaulani Farms: 1/76.46
9. EVERLYCHIN DE LA POMME: 2004 BWP mare by Malito de Reves x Nabab de Reve
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 4/69.72
10. ZAFIRA: 2004 KWPN mare Nassau x Cappucino van Berkenbroek
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerney: 4/70.27
The 'Canada One' Tournament continues tomorrow with the $25,000 Direct Energy Derby 1.45m in the All Canada Ring and the $50,000 RBC Financial Cup 1.60m in the Meadows on the Green. For full results and more information, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services. They may only be used in relation to this press release and with photo credit.