Royal roundup: Americans Madden, Farrington dazzle in Toronto
Rising star Jack Towell takes top spot in Big Ben Challenge
The 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair drew some of the world's top equestrians to Toronto for over a week's worth of competition.
Americans Beezie Madden and Kent Farrington were two of the event's top performers, while rising star Jack Towell shined in the Big Ben Challenge on the final night.
Beezie Madden goes back-to-back
American veteran Beezie Madden rode to victory on back-to-back nights, claiming the top prize in Thursday's Brickenden Trophy aboard Coach and Friday's Weston Canadian Open with Breitling LS.
In a very close jump off on Thursday, the two-time Olympic gold medallist was double clear with a winning time of 30.35 seconds.
Madden set the time to beat early in Friday's competition, going clear again in 50.03. The 53-year-old was nearly two seconds faster than Belgium's Nicola Phillippaerts, who was the runner-up.
"This has been quite a good show for me," Madden said. "The quality here is always good with good jumping, which makes it is difficult to win, so I am thrilled to win two classes."
Farrington takes home a big prize
Kent Farrington got things going for the Americans on Wednesday by capturing the $150,000 prize in the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping event.
The world's top-ranked rider was double clear with his Olympic mount Voyeur, stopping the jump-off timers in 35.51 seconds to edge Ireland's Shane Sweetnam.
"Voyeur is spectacular and has been a career horse for me," Farrington said. "Tonight, he really showed why he's special."
Rising star makes mark in Big Ben Challenge
Jack Towell won the marquee event on Saturday night, riding to victory with Lucifer V, in the Big Ben Challenge.
The 29-year-old American won the eight-rider jump off with a time of 38.37 to close out the competition.
Amy Millar claims Canadian title
Canadian Olympian Amy Millar took her first Canadian show jumping championship title in the opening weekend of the Royal.
Riding her 2016 Rio Olympic Games mount, Heros, Millar went fault free in the second round to climb to the top of leaderboard.
"There are very few things that I get as excited about as the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair," Millar said. "It has been such a big part of my life for so long that I have wanted this for probably the whole time I have been alive. It is so important to me and to Canada. The stands are filled with Canadians who love the sport, and it has always been so prestigious to win."