Calgary, AB, Canada – The coveted $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup was featured on Saturday afternoon during the ‘North American’ Tournament CSI5*, presented by Rolex, at Spruce Meadows. Jumping clear through three rounds of competition, USA’s Kent Farrington and Gazelle emerged victorious over Elizabeth Gingras (CAN) and Zilversprings in second, and Eric Lamaze (CAN) aboard Check Picobello Z third.
Course designer Santiago Varela (ESP) set a challenging first round track for the competitors in Saturday’s $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup. The competition took place over two rounds with a jump-off if necessary.
The first round was a speed track against the clock, which saw 39 entries in total. The top twelve competitors from the first round then returned for round two in reverse order of penalties. Seven entries jumped clear over the first round course, and six of those also cleared the second round track to necessitate a jump-off.
Heading into the third and final tiebreaking round over a shortened course, Jonathan McCrea (USA) was first to go aboard Candy Tribble’s Aristoteles V. The pair completed another clear round in the jump-off to eventually finish fourth with a time of 45.52 seconds. Hardin Towell (USA) and Jennifer Gates’ Lucifer V had one rail down in the jump-off in 45.33 seconds to place sixth.
Next to go, Kent Farrington and Gazelle raced through the timers in an unbeatable time of 40.59 seconds. Tiffany Foster (CAN) and her own and Artisan Farms LLC’s Southwind VDL followed with the fifth place time of 46.04 seconds. Eric Lamaze then jumped the third place time of 43.98 seconds riding Artisan Farms and Torrey Pines Stable’s Check Picobello Z. Last to go, Elizabeth Gingras and Zilversprings galloped into second place in 42.63 seconds.
Farrington and Gazelle have had an impressive summer that includes also winning the $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, during last week’s competition at Spruce Meadows.
A ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro) owned by Farrington and Robin Parksy, Gazelle never tired through three demanding rounds of competition for this week’s win. Commenting on her stamina, Farrington stated, “That horse has really come on strong. One of her strengths is that she has a lot of blood and a lot of energy, so she kind of gets better as she goes.
“I don’t want to say I am totally surprised because I always thought she was a very good horse,” Farrington said of Gazelle’s recent success.
“I got her when she was seven and I have been bringing her along now for the last few years. She has had her ups and downs like all of them. You never know what they are going to be in the end. She hit a little bit of a rough patch when I put her in some bigger classes and she got overly careful and was struggling a little bit, so I dropped her back down at the end of Florida, did some smaller classes and built her back up. I always had hopes that she would be where she is today, so I am very pleased.”
Course designer Santiago Varela had the difficult task of setting three different tracks for Saturday’s coveted competition, which has seen wins from some of the best in the sport. Farrington first won the event in 2014 aboard Voyeur, and spoke of this year’s courses.
“I thought he (Santiago) had a measured first round,” Farrington detailed. “It was difficult, with a short time allowed that put a lot of pressure on people, and probably caused some rails that they normally would not have. He only ended up with seven clear and a couple with time faults. That is usually the right number so that you still have a chance for a jump-off. I’m not sure, but I think that was his plan. The second round was a little more straightforward with a difficult line at the end. That was sort of the big test of the competition with the double liverpools. That is always difficult to jump, and still there were enough clear, and a great competition in the jump-off.”
Farrington went third over the short course with three fast riders still to come. Explaining his strategy, the rider stated, “I am not one that really plays it safe. I like to try to win and I do not think you win as much if you are playing by trying not to lose. I usually have my own plan of what I think is within the horse’s ability, and I try to work within those limits, and make the most of that track for what my horse can do.
“I never think that my time will hold up until the competition is finished,” Farrington added. “I am not that confident, because I think that is when you get caught, but I thought I put a lot of pressure on everybody else to really have to try.”
Elizabeth Gingras definitely had to try for her second place finish with Zilversprings, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Silverstone x Emilion) that she has had for three years. “I have been watching Conor Swail, and Kent, and Eric all tour, and they are all so fast,” Gingras remarked. “I just went as fast as I am capable of at this point in my career, and hopefully I will just keep watching them and get as fast as them, or maybe even faster.
“Obviously I am really thrilled,” Gingras said of her result. “My horse was absolutely amazing. I am just so happy to have him back again. We had a little hiccup for a while, so I have been building him all tour, and to end on this note is really great. He is very special to me.”
Santiago Varela spoke about the result following Saturday’s competition, congratulating the riders and thanking Spruce Meadows. “I think it was a very good competition,” Varela stated. “We tried to put the pressure more in the first round than the second one to keep the horses fresh to be in the jump-off, and at the end it was a very great jump-off, and I am really happy. I would like to thank the committee for giving me the opportunity to be here. It is very nice to have the possibility to build here at this special show.”
Varela’s next stop is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, as a Technical Delegate. Farrington is also on his way to the Olympics, as he was recently named to the U.S. Show Jumping Team with Amalaya Investments’ Voyeur.
Until then, Farrington goes to the World Equestrian Festival at CHIO Aachen in Germany. Gazelle and Uceko both fly there to compete next week. They will then have a short break before heading to their next stop in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, at the beginning of August.
For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Final Results: $500,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup
1. GAZELLE: 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare by Kashmir van Schuttershof x Indoctro KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Robin Parksy & Kent Farrington: 0/76.75 – 0/59.94 – 0/40.59
2. ZILVERSPRINGS: 2004 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Silverstone x Emilion ELIZABETH GINGRAS (CAN), B. Gingras Equestrian Ltd: 0/74.99 – 0/59.91 – 0/42.63
3. CHECK PICOBELLO Z: 2006 Zangersheide gelding by Cardento x Orlando ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC & Torrey Pines: 0/75.39 – 0/59.09 – 0/43.98
4. ARISTOTELES V: 2005 KWPN stallion by Padinus x Lux JONATHAN MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 0/77.91 – 0/61.32 – 0/45.52
5. SOUTHWIND VDL: 1999 KWPN gelding by Baloubet du Rouet x Ahorn TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/76.73 – 0/60.79 – 0/46.04
6. LUCIFER V: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Lord Pezi x Garndeur JACK HARDIN TOWELL (USA), Jennifer Gates LLC: 0/77.04 – 0/60.89 – 4/45.33
7. BALARINA 3: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Balou de Rouet x Sandro Song ANTONIO MAURER (MEX), Mario Onate: 1/78.84 – 0/64.09
8. BABEL: 2007 CCDM Warmblood gelding by Billy du Lys x High Flyer PATRICIO PASQUEL (MEX), Patricio Pasquel: 4/75.62 – 0/59.87
9. HH CISKE VAN OVERIS: 2002 Belgian Warmblood mare by Celano x Darco MAGGIE MCALARY (USA), Double H Farm: 0/76.73 – 4/61.92
10. GRAFTON: 2006 Selle Francais gelding by Calvaro x Vondeen CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 1/78.30 – 4/59.99
11. UTOPIA: 2001 Dutch Warmblood mare by Ircolando x Notaris JOHN PEREZ (COL), John Perez: 4/75.44 – 4/61.38
12. CHIVAS Z: 1999 Zangersheide gelding by Cumano x Lord Gotthard RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Little Valley Farms: 4/76.19 – 6/71.80