Ian Millar Pulls One-Two Punch to Win $118,000 Grand Prix

Ottawa, Ontario – Nine-time Olympian Ian Millar proved he still has what it takes, taking first and second place in the $118,000 Angelstone Productions Grand Prix, Presented by Brookstreet, on Saturday night at the CSI2* National Capital Show Jumping Tournament in Ottawa, ON.

The second richest Grand Prix event in eastern Canada, the $118,000 Angelstone Productions Grand Prix, Presented by Brookstreet, followed by a live performance by Blue Rodeo, capped off the two-week international show jumping tournament in front of 8,566 spectators.

A total of 27 challengers lined up to tackle the course set by Catsy Cruz. The international course designer from Monterrey, Mexico, was hoping for five clear rounds, and that is exactly what she got. Millar qualified two mounts for the jump-off, Star Power and Dryden, and was joined by 21-year-old David Arcand, American Lisa Deslauriers, and the winner of Thursday’s $32,000 Brookstreet/CompetitiveJumpers.com Open Welcome, Angela Covert-Lawrence.

Arcand of Montreal, QC, was the first rider back for the jump-off with Santos Utopia, but two rails down in a time of 32.42 seconds would leave him in fifth place.  Millar went for a slow and steady clear round with the nine-year-old Star Power, leaving all the rails in place and stopping the clock at 35.18 seconds to take over the lead.

Lisa Deslauriers of New York, NY, had managed to jump clear in the first round, despite almost parting ways with her mount, Diablo, and completing the course with only one stirrup. In the jump-off, the pair also jumped clear, but was just off Millar’s pace, clocking in at 35.67 seconds.

Millar was up again, this time with Susan Grange’s Dryden, another nine-year-old. Knowing he already held the lead, the 63-year-old show jumping veteran took more risks, turning in yet another faultless performance in a time of 33.43.

It was all up to Angela Covert-Lawrence of St. Lazare, QC. Riding Unica, her 13-year-old mare, Covert-Lawrence was blistering fast, but unfortunately two rails came down, ending their hopes for repeat of Thursday’s winning performance.

That left Millar, better known as ‘Captain Canada’ to his fans, in first and second place with a total of $57,500 in prize money. Deslauriers took home $14,000 for third, Covert-Lawrence claimed $12,000 for fourth, and Arcand won $9,000 for fifth place.  “Now I can buy shoes for my granddaughter,” joked Millar, whose daughter, Amy, who placed ninth in the competition, welcomed Lily into the world three months ago.

Of the competition, Millar said, “It was fairly serious jumping today, and it was hard to jump the jumps clean, let alone go fast. You had to find the balance between leaving the jumps up, and speed. I wasn’t slow, but I sure wasn’t blistering fast, and I was a sitting duck. The ladies torqued it up a little bit, and one wasn’t fast enough and Angie was certainly fast enough, but had her fault. That is the key, finding the balance.”

With two horses in the jump-off, Millar did not think that one had a distinct advantage over the other.

“One is as fast as the other I would say, they are both young horses just coming along. It was more about where they were plugged in in the order. What I wanted was to get one clear round in the bank, so that put the heat on the rest a little bit. And then I just had all my options going. In the jump-off, there is a lot of strategy. I knew I had the leading time, so if I torqued it up a little bit with Dryden, not only would I have a faster time of course, but I would put the pressure on that last horse. By putting the pressure on the last horse, maybe she makes a mistake.”

Millar’s strategy worked, and Covert-Lawrence dropped two rails.  “It is always hard in the jump-off to gauge where you are in relation to the others, but my horse is really fast,” said Covert-Lawrence of her jump-off performance. “I had the fastest time; and in fact I had a second to spare. That second I should have taken in the corner going to fence eight and maybe I would have left it up, but that’s show jumping.”

Covert-Lawrence finished the week with a win in Thursday’s $32,000 Brookstreet/CompetitiveJumpers.com Open Welcome riding Utan, a second place finish in the $15,000 ATCO Jumping Derby with Candidate du Marquet, and a fourth place finish in the feature event, the $118,000 Angelstone Productions Grand Prix, Presented by Brookstreet.  “Overall, I can’t complain,” she said. “I have had one of the best weeks of my show jumping career.”

Following the Grand Prix, Staggered Crossing took the stage, followed by Canadian performing artists, Blue Rodeo. Combining Grand Prix show jumping with a live music concert is the innovative concept of Angelstone Productions, also the Grand Prix’s title sponsor.

For more information on the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments, please visit www.hayesco.ca.

$118,000 Angelstone Productions Grand Prix, Presented by Brookstreet

1. Ian Millar Perth, ON Dryden 0:0 33.43
2. Ian Millar Perth, ON Star Power 0:0 35.18
3. Lisa Deslauriers New York, NY Diablo 0:0 35.67
4. Angela Covert-Lawrence St. Lazare, QC Unica 0:8 31.82
5. David Arcand Montreal, QC Santos Utopia 0:8 32.42
6. Roberto Teran Colombia Distant Star 3E 4
7. Jonathon Millar Perth, ON Always Cullohill 4
8. Katie McVean New Zealand Delphi 4
9. Amy Millar Perth, ON Costa Rica Z 4
10. Mario Deslauriers New York, NY Vicomte D 8
11. Ainsley Vince Milton, ON Frieda 8
12. Sarah Johnstone Toronto, ON Starlet 8

Photo:  Nine-time Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, and Dryden won the $118,000 Angelstone Productions Grand Prix, Presented by Brookstreet, on Saturday, August 21, at the National Capital Show Jumping Tournament in Ottawa, ON. Photo Credit – Yavuz