Dreams come true for Andrew Kocher (USA)
The ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup (1.60m) is the Grand Prix of the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ CSI5*, presented by Rolex. Forty horse/rider combinations qualified to compete in the prestigious event earlier in the week. The field of competition was full of top international athletes looking to have their names added to the historic trophy.
The competition is run over two rounds, the top twelve placed horses after round one advance to round two. If there is a tie for faults after the two rounds, there is a jump off. The tracks for the competition were designed by FEI Course Designer Santiago Varela (ESP), who was looking to test the riders in multiple ways.
Round one was a 570m track consisting of 13 obstacles (16 efforts) that riders attempted to jump clear under the time allowed of 86 seconds. Only four riders were able to deliver clear rounds and carry no penalties into round two.
The round two track tested riders over 490m of track and 11 obstacles (14 efforts) including the challenging double liver pools. Prior to Hardin Towell (USA), the first of the round one clears, John Perez (COL) sat atop the leader board sitting on a combined two faults. Perez’s lead did not last long with Towell finishing on only one time fault picked up in the second round. Andrew Kocher (USA) quickly followed, also finishing on one time fault sending both riders to a jump off.
Towell was first in for the jump off and would finish with four faults and a time of 47.09s. All Kocher had to do was leave all the fences up. Aboard the bay gelding Carollo, Kocher did just that. The pair crossed the finish line with a time of 45.11s winning the 2019 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
“I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s a dream come true, I don’t even know how it happened. This is the biggest (victory) I have ever had” – Andrew Kocher (USA) on winning the 2019 Spruce Meadows ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup.