Toronto, Canada, November 9th, 2011 – Scott Brash, of the United Kingdom, set the tone this evening at the Royal Horse Show with the first clean round of the night, which continued through to the very end, besting a prominent international field to come out on top.
As the first clean round of ten in the evening, Brash led the way in the jump-off posting a fault-free round in a time of 41.95 seconds which could not be matched.
“My horse was a little bit sharp yesterday but tonight he was much more relaxed,” said Brash following the class. “After the jump-off I came out of the ring slightly disappointed in myself. My horse was jumping fantastic and I had walked the last line in seven strides and planned to do seven strides, and I ended up going in eight strides where I could easily have gone in seven. I didn’t think I was going to be fast enough but luckily I was!”
Irish eyes will surely be smiling as Conor Swail and Dermott Lennon took second and third respectively. Swail rode Lansdowne to a fault-free jump-off time of 42.4 seconds, mere fractions behind the leader. “He’s not a particularly fast horse in the jump-off,” remarked Swail. “He has a big stride though, and I was of two minds on how fast to go. I knew there were some fast riders to come behind me. I thought if I had a nice, smooth round, I could maybe try and catch Scott. I’m very pleased.”
The 2011 Canadian Show Jumping Champion, Yann Candele of Schomberg, Ontario, was the highest placed Canadian, finishing in fourth with Susan Grange’s Game Ready.
Many presentations were featured in the Horse Show this evening but none was more anticipated than the tribute to Hickstead, the Olympic mount of Eric Lamaze, who tragically passed away last weekend at a competition in Verona, Italy.
Fans wearing black ‘Hickstead’ armbands packed the stands to watch a video montage which reviewed career highlights and the story of the pair.
Earlier in the day, Lamaze held a press-conference to allow media to ask questions, before removing himself from the public eye for the rest of the competition. He emphasized his decision to come and compete at the Royal Horse Show, so soon after the tragedy, was to honour the legacy of his partner, and to let the Canadian fans pay tribute to their national hero.
“I am here for the Canadian public and I am here to honour Hickstead; that’s why I came,” explained Lamaze. “Hickstead was a special horse that was exciting to watch, and he loved a loud crowd. Being such an international horse, Hickstead didn’t get a lot of time to come to Canada. The people who are going to come to the Royal will get a last chance to remember him. If I would have stayed back in Europe and not come here because I wasn’t feeling great about riding, I don’t think he would have gotten the recognition that he has received already and is about to get. I am here to remember Hickstead.”
The CDI 3* Dressage presented by Dominion Regalia began this afternoon with the Grand Prix, where Ashley Holzer looks to maintain her near-domination of the series with her new horse, Breaking Dawn. Holzer is well on the way - taking this afternoon’s Grand Prix with an overall score of 69.319%. Victoria Winter finished in second with Proton and Gary VanderPloeg took third with Degas. Dressage culminates with the CDI3* Freestyle to Music tomorrow evening, presented by Dominion Regalia.
The International riders will have the opportunity to compete throughout the rest of the week in matinee and evening competitions including the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open and the sold-out $75,000 Ricoh Big Ben Challenge. All of the weekday matinee performances are FREE with general admission to the Fair. Tomorrow evening’s performance offers an exciting double-bill featuring International show jumping as well as the $40,000 CDI 3*** FEI Grand Prix Dressage Freestyle to Music competition, where Ashley Holzer will appear to defend her 2009 & 2010 titles. The complete timetable is available at www.royalfair.org.
About the Royal Horse Show and Royal Agricultural Winter Fair ~ A family tradition since 1922, the Royal Horse Show brings world-class horses and riders from Canada, the U.S. and overseas, including Olympic and World champions, to Toronto each November to compete for more than $780,000 in prize money and prestigious Titles. Over 1,000 horses of all shapes and sizes participate in show jumping, dressage, indoor eventing, driving, coaching and so much more, over the ten-days of competition. Special features such as the Spirit of the Horse Ring, EquiMania!, the Farmer’s Market, Trade-Fair Shopping, educational and agricultural events & competition round out this family tradition. Since its debut, the Royal has been a highlight of the Toronto fall social calendar, visited by Royalty, politicians, farmers and horse-enthusiasts for generations. For more information, “The Royal Online” LIVE webcasting, complete schedule, results and to purchase tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.
$100,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix
RIDER / HOMETOWN / HORSE / FAULTS : TIME
1. Scott Brash / Peebles, Scotland / Bon Ami / 0 : 41.95
2. Conor Swail / Malahide, Dublin / Lasdowne / 0 : 42.4
3. Dermott Lennon / Banbridge, Ireland / Hallmark Elite / 0 : 44.19
4. Yann Candele / Schomberg, ON / Game Ready / 4 : 40.19
5. McLain Ward / Brewster, NY / Rothchild / 4 : 40.23
$40,000 FEI Dressage CDI3* Grand Prix Phase presented by Dominion Regalia
RIDER / HOMETOWN / HORSE / PERCENTAGE
1. Ashley Holzer / Bronx, NY / Breaking Dawn / 69.319%
2. Victoria Winter / Toronto, ON / Proton / 65.809%
3. Gary VanderPloeg / King City, ON / Degas / 65.426%
4. Jacqui Brooks / Mount Albert, ON / Gran Gesto / 65.170%
5. Evi Strasser / Ste. Adele, QC / Action Tyme / 64.468%
Photos: Great Britain’s Scott Brash with Bon Ami was victorious in the $100,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix at Toronto’s Royal Horse Show this evening. © Michelle Dunn; Ireland’s Conor Swail took the runner-up position in the $100,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix at Toronto’s 89th Royal Horse Show this evening. © Ben Radvanyi; Last night’s winner, Dermott Lennon of Ireland, finished third in tonight’s $100,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix with Hallmark Elite. © Michelle Dunn