Ian Millar Harnesses Star Power to Win $90,000 RAM Equestrian Grand Prix

Palgrave, Ontario --- Ian Millar of Perth, ON, and Star Power won the $90,000 RAM Equestrian Grand Prix held Sunday, August 7, during the CSI2* Summer Festival at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON.

Course designer Guilherme Jorge of Brazil set a first round track that produced nine clear rounds from a starting field of 19 horses, setting the stage for an exciting jump-off.  The first to challenge was Colombia’s Daniel Bluman, 21, and Sancha La Silla, the winners of Friday’s $35,000 CSI2* Henry Equestrian Plan Open Welcome.  The pair raced around the shortened jump-off track, and while their time of 32.43 seconds would be the fastest of the jump-off, a rail down at the final fence eventually left them in fifth place.

Hugh Graham of Schomberg, ON, was the next rider into the ring with Distant Star 3E, a Canadian Sport Horse mare bred and owned by KingRidge Stables of King City, ON.  They were able to leave all the rails in place in a time of 33.34 to move into the lead.  Amy Millar of Perth, ON, gave it her best shot with Top Gun but failed to catch the leading time when she posted a 35.76 while Margie Gayford of Sharon, ON, also left all the rails in place riding Calando Z for owner Paddy Ann Burns, but was well off the pace with a conservative time 39.51 seconds.

Millar then entered the ring with Star Power, a 10-year-old Dutch-bred gelding owned by Team Works.  The pair sailed around the course, leaving all the rails in place in a time of 33.01 seconds to take over the lead from Graham.  There was only one rider left to go, and when Roberto Teran of Colombia and Denver dropped a rail at the second fence, Millar had the victory, as well as $27,000 in prize money, all sewn up.

“It turned into a fast jump-off and Star Power has just been waiting to go fast, so it was a great personal victory today for he and I,” said Millar, who placed fifth on Friday after jumping double clear with Star Power in the $35,000 CSI2* Henry Equestrian Plan Open Welcome.

Of the course, Millar noted, “I thought after Friday when 12 were clear, Guilherme might dial the course up a bit more than he actually did.  It was a good track for sure, and the jump-off was definitely the test.”

Going eighth in the order in the nine-horse jump-off was a definite advantage for Millar.

“That was a big deal because the current leader was Hugh Graham and I knew exactly what he had done, and it was clear what I had to do to shave some time off,” said Millar, 64, who with nine Olympic appearances, is tied for the world record.  “Anytime you’ve got these big jump-off’s, the order of go becomes critical.”

Millar has been partnered with Star Power for the past year and a half, and says, “He’s come a long way.  He was beautifully brought along in Italy to the point where he was at when I got him, which was the national level, but it is a major step up from national to international, and he has made that transition beautifully.  He has been right on his game ever since, and keeps getting more sophisticated all the time.”

With an eye towards this year’s Pan American Games, taking place in October in Guadalajara, Mexico, Millar has the luxury of having two top mounts in contention for the Canadian Team – Star Power and In Style, his 2008 Olympic team silver medal partner who incurred four faults in the $90,000 RAM Equestrian Grand Prix.

Millar was not the only family member to enjoy victory during the CSI2* Summer Festival at the Caledon Equestrian Park.  His son, Jonathon, won Saturday’s $10,000 Champion Shavings Modified Grand Prix riding Cantero Z for owner Iron Horse Farm, and also placed fifth with his new acquisition, Calvin Klein, owned by Millar Brooke Farm.  Erynn Ballard of Tottenham, ON, took second with her veteran campaigner, Robin van Roosendael, while Toronto’s Tatiana Dzavik was third with Winnette.  Jonathon Millar’s younger sister, Amy Millar, placed fourth with Quidam 13, owned by Millar Brooke Farm and DK USA Sporthorses.

Hosting 16 events annually, the Caledon Equestrian Park will close out its 2011 season with the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament held September 21 to 25.  Highlights of the five-day show jumping tournament include the $100,000 Caledon Cup, presented by Aviva Elite, Peel Maryborough, and RAM Equestrian, as well as the National Finals for the Jump Canada Young Horse Series.

Set against the backdrop of the Niagara Escarpment, the Caledon Equestrian Park has hosted numerous Olympic, World Championship and Pan American Games selection trials for Canada’s show jumping and dressage teams.  For more information, including full results, please visit www.equiman.com.

$90,000 CSI2* RAM Equestrian Grand Prix – Sunday, August 7, 2011
Rider    Hometown    Horse     Faults     Time
1.   Ian Millar    Perth, ON   Star Power     0:0     33.01
2.   Hugh Graham   Schomberg, ON   Distant Star 3E   0:0   33.34
3.   Amy Millar   Perth, ON   Top Gun    0:0   35.76
4.   Margie Gayford     Sharon, ON    Calando Z    0:0   39.51
5.   Daniel Bluman    Colombia    Sancha La Silla   0:4   32.43
6.   Jill Henselwood    Oxford Mills, ON   IV Ever  0:4   33.92
7.   Roberto Teran   Colombia    Denver   0:4    34.60
8.   Lauren Hunkin   Kemptville, ON   Larry 0146    0:4   41.26
9.   Yann Candele   Caledon, ON  Game Ready    0:8   34.52
10.  Ljubov Kochetova    Russia   Lapsus du Lavoir    1

Photos:  Ian Millar and Star Power won the $90,000 RAM Equestrian Grand Prix on Sunday, August 7, at the CSI2* Summer Festival in Palgrave, ON; Jonathon Millar and Cantero Z won the $10,000 Champion Shavings Modified Grand Prix held Saturday, August 6, during the CSI2* Summer Festival in Palgrave, ON. Photo Credits – ShootPhoto.ca