The $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup Winning Round 1.50m had just 22 entries, but the exciting format brought back the top 10 to compete for speed in the second round. Going last in the class, Jaime Azcarraga knew exactly what he needed to accomplish, and he sped to victory in 45.77 seconds. He was chasing a time of 46.00 seconds set by Conor Swail (IRL) and Martha Louise, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. Third place went to Ambosell I and Pablo Barrios (VEN), who stopped the clock in 46.31 seconds.
“I was able to see [Conor] because he went right in front of me. I was lucky to be behind because he was running really fast and I had to catch him,” Azcarraga said.
Azcarraga is a familiar face at Spruce Meadows, having first come to compete in 1985, and he has won through four decades. He was the winner of this class in 2008 on Forastero and is known for riding the famous stallions Chin Chin and Presley Boy. Azcarraga found Matador, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Indoctro x Corland, as a seven-year-old and has brought him along in preparation for top competitions. This is the horse's second international competition.
“He really likes to do the job,” Azcarraga said of Matador. “He was very good on Wednesday, so I tried to ride him good, and he did the job. It feels good to work with the horses. Every horse is different and some take more time to develop. Matador is 12 years old now, and I think he's ready.”
As an amateur rider, Azcarraga splits his time between riding “every day” in Mexico and running his family's business. Azcarraga recalled, “I'm very happy to be here again. It's tough to win here at Spruce Meadows. I was telling Norman Dello Joio, that to come from Mexico with the level we have, to jump here in the five-star is really shocking, to come here and see the fences. I try to come in the summers and do some trips for international shows. I have to take care of the business in Mexico, so it's not so easy to go out and compete. But if you come here, you always keep the level. In the summer it's a good place to stay in front.”
It was a great return to the International Ring for Swail, who severed his Achilles tendon riding Ariana at the Royal Winter Fair this past November. He has been off for more than six months.
“One of most difficult things is the mental side of it, where you have to wait for such a long time. When I got the injury, I was unaware of how big an injury it was. It's a big ligament to damage for a show jumping rider,” he explained. “I have to say though, I got through it fine. It's just a matter of getting healthy and being able to do the job. It's fabulous to be back.”
Swail is very happy to be back in the ring and in the victory gallop. He said, “I thought today I was going to get in that winner's circle. Ariana was third the other day and she was leading for a long time, and I thought that would have been nice. The horses are nice and fresh. I'm a little rusty still, so hopefully there is more to come. I'm delighted with how [Martha Louise] went today; she jumped a fabulous round. It was very fast. I'm happy to be second. It wasn't our day today, but hopefully it's just around the corner.”
Final Results: $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup Winning Round 1.50m
- MATADOR: Dutch Warmblood / S / 12 Indoctro x Corland JAIME AZCARRAGA (MEX), Jaime Azcarraga: 0/0/45.77
- MARTHA LOUISE: Swedish Warmblood / M / 10 Maloubet de Pleville x Wolfgang CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 0/0/46.00
- AMBOSELLI: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Silverstone x Lancelot PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), Pablo Barrios: 4/0/46.31
- FANANKA A: Belgian Warmblood / M / 9 Chin Chin x Kannan EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Hollow Creek Farm: 4/0/46.31
- SANS SOUCI Z: Zangersheide / G / 11 Surrealist vh Paradijs x Voltaire DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Caroline Lloyd: 4/0/46.52
- SOUTHWIND VDL: Dutch Warmblood / G / 15 Baloubet de Rouet x Ahorn TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 1/0/47.17
- ANDRETTI: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Orame x Ahorn SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), South Beach Stable: 5/0/50.39
- ALFIE Warmblood / G / 9 Luidam x Quat Sous EDUARDO SANCHEZ NAVARRO (MEX), Eduardo Sanchez Navarro: 4/4/47.18
- ZERLY: Dutch Warmblood / M / 10 Querlybet Hero x Carthago CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 4/4/50.89
- CALVIN KLEIN: Swedish Warmblood / G / 10 Cardento x Feliciano JONATHON MILLAR (CAN), Millar Brooke Farm: 1/4/54.14
- LILLYFEE: Holstein / M / 11 Limbus x Carthago SUSAN HORN (CAN), Kingsfield Farm: 5/76.54
- CARTIER: Oldenburg / G / 9 Cartoon x Sheyenne de Baugy SALVADOR ONATE (MEX), Mario Onate: 5/78.04
Tomorrow's schedule brings the highlight of the week, the $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by ROLEX. Phase I begins at 9 a.m. MST, and Phase II will kick off at 2 p.m. MST. In between, the $60,000 Transcanada Parcours de Chasse speed class will run.
For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.