Ottawa, Ontario – Ian Millar of Perth, ON, proved why he is a nine-time Olympian, taking first and second in the $75,000 CSI2* Brookstreet Grand Prix to end the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments’ two-week run at the Nepean National Equestrian Park in Ottawa, ON.
Heavy rains moved through the area just prior to the competition on Sunday, August 21. As a result, seven riders elected not to start their horses on the grass field. Of the 16 that attempted the demanding track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, only three horses jumped clear. Fortunately for Millar, two of those horses belonged to him.
Only the second rider on course, Millar produced the first clear round with Dryden, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Susan and Ariel Grange that Millar had ridden to victory in last year’s edition of the Brookstreet Grand Prix. Sarah Johnstone of Aurora, ON, then guided Leonidas, a 14-year-old Hannoverian gelding owned by Trish Crang, home fault-free to guarantee a jump-off for the large crowd that had braved the weather to witness world-class show jumping. The final horse on course, Star Power, a 10-year-old Dutch-bred horse owned by Team Works, also jumped clear, giving Millar two shots at the title.
The veteran faced off against the rookie, with the 64-year-old Olympic silver medalist taking on the 20-year-old newcomer to international competition. Millar was the first rider to tackle the shortened jump-off track, producing another clear round with Dryden in a time of 55.46 seconds to put the pressure firmly on Johnstone’s shoulders. Although they shaved more than four full seconds off of Millar’s time, Johnstone and Leonidas dropped a rail at the third fence, ensuring that Millar would successfully defend his title. The only question that remained was with which horse.
Millar returned to the ring with Star Power, a horse he has been riding for the past year and a half. Once again, all the rails stayed in place as Millar sailed around the course on Star Power, galloping through the timers in 54.90 seconds to take the victory.
“I might have had some difficulty if Sarah hadn’t faulted because her horse is faster than my two at this stage,” said Millar, who pocketed $39,000 when the $75,000 in prize money was distributed among the top 12 finishers.
In fact, Johnstone and Leonidas had beaten Millar and Dryden twice during this year’s National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments. In both the $10,000 Modified Grand Prix on Saturday, August 13, and the $25,000 Hayes Co. Grand Prix on Sunday, August 14, Johnstone emerged the winner while Millar settled for second.
“He got his revenge today,” said Johnstone ruefully. “I wanted to be clean and efficient. I cut the corner a little too much and it cost me the rail. ‘Leo’ has been phenomenal; he tried his heart out.”
Both riders agreed that the weather played a role in the competition, but unanimously praised the grass grand prix field for holding up to the rain.
“The footing was good enough for sure, although it was a factor in the competition,” said Millar. “A lot of venues couldn’t take that rain, but this field is so state-of-the-art that it is able to handle it.”
While Johnstone is heading to the University of Guelph this fall, Millar is looking ahead to the 2011 Pan American Games taking place in October in Guadalajara, Mexico. Star Power would be his top choice for Mexico, should Millar be named to the Canadian Equestrian Team by the selection committee.
It is also possible that Millar could find himself riding alongside one of his children at either this year’s Pan American Games or next year’s Olympics. His daughter, Amy, 34, had four faults riding Top Gun in the $75,000 Brookstreet Grand Prix to place fourth while Jonathon, 36, had one rail plus a time fault to finish sixth with Cantero Z. Canadian Equestrian Team veteran Hugh Graham, 62, of Schomberg, ON, placed fifth with four faults riding Distant Star 3E for owner and breeder, KingRidge Stables.
The National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments took place from August 10 to 14 and August 17 to 21 at the Nepean National Equestrian Park in the heart of Ottawa. The $75,000 Brookstreet Grand Prix was sanctioned as a CSI2* competition by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
For more information on the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments, including full results, please visit www.hayesco.ca.
$75,000 CSI2* Brookstreet Grand Prix – Sunday, August 21, 2011
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Ian Millar Perth, ON Star Power 0:0 54.90
2. Ian Millar Perth, ON Dryden 0:0 55.46
3. Sarah Johnstone Aurora, ON Leonidas 0:4 51.26
4. Amy Millar Perth, ON Top Gun 4
5. Hugh Graham Schomberg, ON Distant Star 3E 4
6. Jonathon Millar Perth, ON Cantero Z 5
7. Angela Covert-Lawrence St. Lazare, QC Utan 8
8. Angela Covert-Lawrence St. Lazare, QC Unica van de Roshoeve 8
9. Karen Sparks Ottawa, ON Ferraro K 9
10. Germaine Edelmann United States Carotino 9
11. Hugh Graham Schomberg, ON Executive Privilege 3E 12
12. Lauren Hunkin Kemptville, ON Larry 0146 12
Photo: Ian Millar of Perth, ON, rode Star Power to victory in the $75,000 CSI2* Brookstreet Grand Prix on Sunday, August 21, to conclude the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments in Ottawa, ON. Photo Credit – RedRibbonPhotography.com