Day two of the ‘National’ CSI5*, presented by ROLEX, began with the 1.50m AltaGas Cup. An impressive lineup of twenty-four horse and rider combinations took on this course, designed by FEI course designer Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). With 12 obstacles (15 jumping efforts) and a time allowed of 78 seconds, only 7 went clear to qualify for the jump-off.
Bliss Heers (USA), Nayel Nassar (EGY), Matthew Sampson (GBR), Kent Farrington (USA), and Tiffany Foster (CAN), all produced a clear round in the jump-off, leaving it up to the fastest time to place first. In the end, it was the last rider to go who ended up securing the victory with a time of 41.81 seconds—Kent Farrington, and his mount, Austria 2.
Former world #1 ranked rider, Farrington, stepped out from under the clock tower and into the International Ring knowing exactly what he had to do—beat Matthew Sampson’s clear round with a time of 43.22 seconds. He and Austria 2 did just that, turning and burning across the field while also managing to keep all of the rails up.
© Spruce Meadows Media/Mike Sturk
In a thrilling conclusion to the second day of the Spruce Meadows ‘National’, presented by Rolex, Canadian rider Erynn Ballard (CAN) cruised to a first place finish aboard the gelding Jack Van’t Kattenheye in the 1.55m PWC Cup.
Ballard’s hard fought win came after a first round that saw 9 out of thirty-one horse and rider combinations make it to the jump-off. The course, designed by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA), consisted of 12 obstacles (15 jumping efforts) and a time allowed of 78 seconds. After a tough first round that saw many jumping faults, a competitive jump-off ensued. With the likes of Nayel Nassar (EGY), Kyle King (USA), Kent Farrington (USA), and Conor Swail (IRL) returning to battle it out for the top spot, there was no doubt that the winner would need a clean round with a difficult time to beat.
It was Ballard who prevailed with a time of 36.4 seconds, leaving more than 4 seconds between herself and the second place finish by Captain Brian Cournane (IRL).
Not only was this the first win by a Canadian rider of the year at Spruce Meadows, but it was also Ballard’s first individual win in the International Ring.
“What I have realized by being back here, is that the horses need to come here to take the next step in their careers,” Ballard said of being back at Spruce Meadows. “The horses have to come to Spruce Meadows, and I feel like the opportunity to be here for these three weeks is going to put us a step ahead moving into 2022.”