An American hammers home the first spike in the Precision Series Trophy at Spruce Meadows.
Kent Farrington and his mount, Uceko, had the luxury of going last in the five horse jump off to take the red rosette and the top prize of $66,000 in the CN Reliability $200,000 Grand Prix on Saturday afternoon at Spruce Meadows.
Farrington's win will surely give him extra confidence as he sets his focus on the two remaining classes being held next week at Spruce that are being used as observation classes by the U.S. selection committee.
All eyes were really on Derly Chin De Muze, one of the two new mounts for Eric Lamaze.
She was the chosen one on Saturday to handle the very demanding course and she rose to the occasion.
I thought she handled all the tough questions in the International Ring beautifully. I have seen Derly compete this past winter in Wellington, Florida, and clear rounds is what she can deliver
And what kind of horse do you want your anchor rider to be on other than one that can deliver clean rounds, as she did during the Nations Cup in Florida this past March.
What this nine-year-old chestnut mare, by the famous stallion For Pleasure, lacks in previous experience she has been making up for since Lamaze took over her reigns.
Lamaze actually had the horse at Spruce when it was a seven year old competing in the metre 1.30 and 1.35 jumper classes, and then its owner, Ashley Fleischhacker, took her to Europe and did some showing.
After the tragic passing of Hickstead, whom Lamaze co-owned with the Fleischhackers, it was decided to give the ride back to Lamaze to see if Derly had what it takes to be a special Grand Prix horse.
In my opinion, she is brave, ride able, careful and demonstrates all the scope in the world to be a great one.
Derly didn't disappoint Lamaze or the thousands watching the live broadcast or those sitting in the stands.
Her effortless first round put Lamaze in the jump-off with Ireland's Darragh Kerins, fellow Irishman Richie Moloney, American Richard Spooner and Kent Farrington.
The Canadian rode sections of the course conservatively and challenged the mare in others to finish up in second place.
Lamaze later commented that he had to be careful since it is still early in her career and he was cautious not to scare the mare by offering too many challenges at once.
He also knew the last to go in the jump off was veteran Farrington, riding his seasoned partner, Uceko, and he would have to be blistering fast to be competitive. So he played it smart and was very happy with coming in second.
This was an observation class for the Canadians being considered for the Olympic team. Besides Lamaze placing second, no other Canadian made it into the ribbon presentation.
Their results were as follows:
Lisa Carlsen 8
Jill Henselwood 9
Jonathan Asselin 12
Yann Candele 8
Tiffany Foster 12
Jenna Thompson 10
Mac Cone 9
Emily George 19