Wellington, Florida – Canada finished second in the $75,000 FEI Nations’ Cup, Presented by G&C Farm, held Friday night, March 4, during the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL.
The Canadian Team comprised of Yann Candele of Nobleton, ON, Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, and father and son, Ian and Jonathon Millar, of Perth, ON, had a total score of 16 faults to place second among eight nations. The United States won with a final score of eight faults, while three countries, Australia, Great Britain, and Ireland, incurred 37 faults to tie for third place.
At the end of the first round, the United States led with four faults, followed closely by Canada, the two-time defending champion, with eight faults. In the first round, Canada’s lead-off rider, Jonathon Millar, had a rail down riding Contino 14 while Candele and Pitareusa incurred eight faults, which would prove to be the drop score. Ian Millar and Star Power had a rail at the double combination at fence three while Lamaze piloted Sidoline van de Centaur to a clear round.
Using a format that sees only three riders return from each team for the second round, with all three scores to count, everything was on line for both the Americans and the Canadians. In the second round, Jonathon Millar opened with a perfect performance, followed by Ian Millar who again faulted at the double combination at fence three. Lamaze also incurred a rail, his coming at fence 10b.
The pressure was on the Americans, but when anchor rider Beezie Madden turned in a fault-free performance with Coral Reef Via Volo, it was a home side victory for the United States.
“I thought our team did exceptionally well,” said Canadian Show Jumping Team chef d’equipe, Terrance Millar, of Canada’s second place finish. “Jonathon Millar did a wonderful job, as did all of our riders, and showed great poise to lead us off. We were battling some giants. On paper, the Americans looked like as good a team as you would put together anywhere in the world, and they didn’t disappoint.”
“Finally, we beat our neighbours to the north by a squeak!” said United States chef d’equipe, George Morris.
Canada’s anchor rider and reigning Olympic Champion, Lamaze, added that, “The U.S. fielded a team that could win anywhere in the world. All of our horses jumped well, and it’s always great to ride with Team Millar!”
Speaking of the format where only three riders return for the second round, Terrance Millar noted, “Without question, having three riders in the second round with no drop score is the absolute best format for exciting sport!”
The camaraderie between teams, and the vibrant cheering sections for each country, is part of what makes the only Nations’ Cup held in the United States unique. On this occasion, over 8,100 show jumping fans turned out to watch the United States claim victory in the annual $75,000 FEI Nations’ Cup, Presented by G&C Farm.
Photo: The Canadian Show Jumping Team placed second in the $75,000 FEI Nations’ Cup, Presented by G&C Farm, in Wellington, Florida. The Canadian Team members on the right-hand side, from left to right: Yann Candele, Eric Lamaze, chef d’equipe Terrance Millar, Ian Millar and Jonathon Millar. Photo Credit – © Sportfot