On a sunny autumn morning in Alberta, the first day of the 2021 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ CSI 5* began with the 1.45m TELUS Cup in the International Ring. It was a thrilling start to the week, with thirty horses and riders stepping under the Rolex clock tower to take on the course designed by FEI Course Designer Leopoldo Palacios (VEN).
Featuring 10 obstacles (12 jumping efforts) and a time allowed of 66 seconds, this one round competition saw some incredibly fast times posted by all riders. In the end, it was American Kent Farrington who posted the fastest time with a clean round aboard Austria 2, the 13-year-old Holsteiner mare.
Close behind Farrington’s 55.85 second first place finish was Canadian Hyde Moffat in second place with 57.08 seconds, and Daniel Coyle (IRL) in third place with 58.38 seconds.
Conor Swail (IRL) wins the ATCO Solutions Cup aboard Koss Van HeisteMidday of the first day of the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ brought with it some great competition in the ATCO Solutions Cup. After the thirty-one horse/rider combinations that started in the competition took on the first round, 10 returned for the jump-off.
The course was designed by Leopoldo Palacios (VEN), and featured 11 obstacles with 13 jumping efforts. The jump-off had a tight time allowed of 50 seconds over a 330m track, and it utilized one of the combinations from the first round.
Great rounds were had in the jump-off by Canadian Olympians Eric Lamaze and Mario Deslauriers, as well as from Matthew Sampson (GBR), and Olympian Katie Laurie (AUS). In the end, though, it was Connor Swail of Ireland who took the win with a clear round and a time of 35.05 seconds.
While this is Swail’s first win of the 2021 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, he’s no stranger to the winner’s circle in the International Ring. Last week, during the Spruce Meadows ‘National, presented by Rolex, Swail took first place in the Cardel Homes Jumper Cup aboard Count Me In. The Spruce Meadows 2021 September Series is certainly shaping up to be an impressive run for Swail and his horses.
Nayel Nassar and Darry Lou Take First Place in the CANA Cup
Thursday afternoon saw the conclusion of the first day of the 2021 Spruce Meadows Masters’, with Nayel Nassar (EGY) taking home the CANA Cup championship cooler aboard Darry Lou.
After riders took on the first course, designed by Leopoldo Palacios Jr. (VEN), only 5 returned for the jump-off. With a time allowed of 56 seconds and a 370m track, the pressure was on. With riders such as Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Kyle King (USA) riding for the championship cooler, the athletes knew that it was going to be a competitive jump-off.
Tiffany Foster finished with a clear round and a time of 47.83 seconds, which was good enough too put her into fourth place, and Kyle King placed second with his clear round and 43.06 seconds. The top two placings came down to Lamaze and Nassar, with Nassar edging out Lamaze in the end by only 0.10 seconds.
Nassar’s mount, Darry Lou, is the last horse to have won the coveted CP ‘International’ Grand Prix, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, back in 2019 with his then-rider, Beezie Madden (USA). As Nassar mentioned in the press conference after today’s win, the pressure is certainly on with this horse.
“It’s pretty rare that the horse comes in as the defending champion, but not the rider, so, you know I’m just trying to keep my cool and give him the best ride that I can,” said Nassar. He also spoke of some of the more technical aspects of piloting Darry Lou and told reporters that “it’s all about keeping a level head, and making sure that, you know, you hit all of your bases and do your homework before you send them into a big class.”