Blainville, QC - The impressive $60,000 World Cup Qualifier was snagged by Québec rider Francois Lamontagne and his young horse Anton. The pair topped the class finishing the jump-off in a double-clear 37.06 seconds. Lamontagne was given a cooler, champagne, and rosette along with the large percentage of the prize money for his amazing finish. Earning the second place honors was Ljubov Kochetova (RUS) and Aslan who also completed both courses fault-free.
Linda Allen designed the large, technical course for today's World Cup Qualifier, which was held in the Grand Prix Ring at the Blainville Equestrian Park. The first round included 16 jumping efforts, which featured a triple bar, a liverpool, an oxer-vertical double combination, and a vertical-oxer-vertical triple combination. The most difficult obstacle proved to be the double combination, which was very technical and caused six riders to accrue faults.
Four riders were able to complete the first round without fault and advanced to jump-off. They began over the very large triple bar and made a bending line to a single vertical. They then had a long gallop to another single vertical before making a sharp right turn to the last to fences in the triple combination. Finally, riders made a sharp right turn to a single vertical and then galloped home over a single oxer.
Ljubov Kochetova was the first the first rider to complete a first round effort with Aslan and the first to tackle the jump-off course. The pair had a consistent gallop throughout the course and Aslan made an incredible effort over each fence. They galloped through the timers in 38.59 seconds to set the pace and eventually earn the second place prize.
"Today's course was very good for the class," noted Kochetova. "It was technically difficult and it was long so you needed a very strong horse. The ring at Blainville is very large and the course designer used the whole area."
Kochetoca added, "I enjoy jumping Aslan because and he is the best horse for me. Our next step will be aiming for the 2012 Olympic Games."
Next in the ring to show over the short course was hometown hero Francois Lamontagne and his stellar mount Anton. The duo picked up a quick pace to the first fence and never held back. As they nimbly made their way over each of the obstacles the pair lengthened their gallop to the final fence and soared over it with ease. They stopped the clock at 37.06 seconds to take over the lead and eventually win the class.
"The course for today was big and I was not sure how my horse would do because we do not have much experience at this level," commented Lamontagne. "He is a smaller horse and he doesn't have the biggest stride. He goes with his heart and if you really want it he's going to give it to you."
Ainsley Vince qualified for the jump-off aboard Frieda and her pace kept up with Lamontagne as she made her way through the course. Unfortunately, the pair's quick gallop to the final fence proved to be costly as they took the back rail off the oxer. The duo broke the beam at 36.33 seconds for the third place honors.
Lauren Hunkin and Larry 0146 were the final pair to move on to the jump-off, despite a very hard rub over one of the verticals during the first round. The duo was making an excellent effort to catch Lamontagne but they had a difficult time coming into the double combination and it caused them to stop at the "B" portion. Larry 0146 was thrown off his game and also had a rail at the final fence for eight jumping faults and nine time faults, earning the fourth place award and sealing Lamontagne's victory.
"For the jump-off, I wanted to be clear and sharp enough that the other riders had to chase me," explained Lamontagne after the victory gallop. "I know Ljubov from this winter so I know what she is able to do, she is able to win. Lauren is very fast and usually faster than me, and Ainsley Vince has a lot of experience. I knew that I was the underdog going into this."
Lamontagne began showing Anton in the 1.15m classes three years ago and he has worked hard to bring him to this level. Next week plans to compete at the International Bromont Horse Show and he hopes to compete in more FEI classes. "I think I am able to compete at that level with this horse, but at the same time I do not want to go too fast and put too much pressure on my horse."
The young rider is a Quebec native and is thrilled to have a victory in his hometown. "It's really special for me to win here because there are a lot of people that know me," he smiled. "I spend many weeks here in the summer, it's my backyard."
Today marked the final day of competition at Jumping Blainville and it produced a large number of spectators as they came to view the world-class competition and the Concourse D'Elegance car show. The exciting hometown victory for Francois Lamontagne and Anton in the $60,0000 World Cup Qualifier proved to be the perfect ending to the wonderful week of competition.
For more information about Jumping Blainville please visit www.classiqueblainville.com.
$60,000 World Cup Qualifier
1 Anton Francois Lamontagne Francois Lamontagne 15000 97.63 0 0 0 37.06 0 0 0
2 Aslan Ljubov Kochetova Ljubov Kochetova 12000 95.87 0 0 0 38.59 0 0 0
3 Frieda KMA Group Ainsley Vince 9000 94.05 0 0 0 36.33 0 4 4
4 Larry 0146 Synergy Farm Lauren Hunkin 7200 93.18 0 0 0 48.60 9 17 8
5 Solerina Frances O'Regan Conor O'Regan 5400 87.47 4 0 4
6 Carolla Z Elizabeth Currie Yann Candele 4800 88.28 4 0 4
7 Kilkenny Randall Z Sophie Morner Kirsten Coe 3600 95.54 4 0 4
8 Iveena S Nellie Foosaner Nellie Foosaner 3000 96.37 4 0 4
Photo Credit: Francois Lamontagne and Anton win $60,000 World Cup at Jumping Blainville. Photo © 2010 Lindsay McCall for PMG.
Photo Credit: Ljubov Kochetova and Aslan win second in $60,000 World Cup at Jumping Blainville. Photo © 2010 Lindsay McCall for PMG.
Photo Credit: Concours Dé Delegance. Photo © 2010 Lindsay McCall for PMG.