Calgary, AB, Canada – September 9, 2015 – The 2015 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament CSIO 5* got underway on Wednesday celebrating 40 years of outstanding competition at one of the world’s most iconic venues. Top international horses and riders convened for opening day, which featured a win for McLain Ward (USA) aboard HH Carlos Z in the $35,000 TELUS Cup 1.50m.
The $35,000 TELUS Cup 1.50m was the first competition held on Wednesday to kick things off at the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament. Course designer Leopoldo Palacios saw 53 starters, with 19 clear rounds and 17 entries that chose to return for the jump-off. McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z were the winners in a speedy time of 39.46 seconds over Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Artisan Farms LLC’s Fine Lady 5, who finished second in a time of 39.77.
Hardin Towell (USA) placed third aboard Jennifer Gates’ Lucifer V in 40.70 seconds, and Beezie Madden earned fourth place honors with a time of 40.96 riding Abigail Wexner’s Breitling LS. HH Carlos Z has had an incredible season, including three CSI 5* wins during this year’s Summer Series at Spruce Meadows. The 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire) then had a short break before returning to win a $100,000 Grand Prix in Saugerties, New York, at the beginning of August. He competed once more last week before making the trip back to Calgary.
“Carlos is always a little winning machine. I was really pleased with him; he handled it well,” Ward said of his opening victory. “He had a nice rest in August and feels fresh and ready to go. He loves this ring. He is a little, careful horse and you would think this ring would intimidate him, but he seems to really like it.”
To those who know Ward well, some may have noticed that the rider was not in his usual attire Wednesday. Ward flew to Calgary from Newark, New Jersey, and his luggage had yet to arrive in the morning. Thanks to Rodrigo Pessoa (BEL) and Ben Asselin (CAN), the rider was able to piece together an outfit for the day.
“The clothing was a bit of a problem,” Ward noted. “I am a little funny about my clothes; they are all pretty tailored. I was stressing a little bit this morning, but luckily a few riders lent me their wardrobes and I had my own boots, so everything went fine.” It went more than just fine as HH Carlos Z sped through the course fault-free for the win. The little horse is always a professional, and he was game no matter what his rider was wearing.
Commenting on his jump-off round, Ward detailed, “I didn’t see Eric, but I know what he can do with that horse and I knew that he went into the lead. Carlos is just an incredibly fast horse and very careful. I thought jumps one, two, three and four were very fast. I actually made a bit of a mistake to jump number five in the jump-off. I added up late and it was not the right choice, but Carlos helped me out and the turn showed up good. Those rollbacks are always a little bit to chance on grass; the horses slip sometimes, but the ground held nicely for him. It was by a sliver, but we’ll take it.”
As the ‘Masters’ Tournament continues, Ward has his sights set on the $1.5 Million CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, where he plants to compete young mount HH Azur. Ward is pre-qualified thanks to winning the individual gold medal in July’s Pan American Games and feels good heading into the weekend.
“I am always confident in my horses and my team behind me,” he stated. “We are aiming HH Azur to the grand prix. She had a nice schooling round today with some time faults, but she felt great. She will do one more competition before the big event. I have the luxury of being pre-qualified, which is a huge bonus. I believe she can win, but at the same time she is a nine-year-old horse and you have to have good perspective about that.”
The ‘Masters’ Tournament continues on Thursday featuring the $35,000 ATCO Structures & Logistics Cup 1.50m followed by the $126,000 CANA Cup 1.60m. For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Final Results: $35,000 TELUS Cup 1.50m
1. $8,750 HH CARLOS Z Zangersheide / G / 13 Chellano Z x Voltaire MCLAIN WARD (USA) BREWSTER, NY Double H Farm: 0/0/39.46
2. $7,000 FINE LADY 5 Hanoverian / M / 12 Forsyth x Hauptstutbuch ERIC LAMAZE (CAN) SCHOMBERG, ON Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/39.77
3. $5,250 LUCIFER V Westphalian / G / 9 Lord Pezi x Grandeur JACK HARDIN TOWELL JR. (USA) CAMDEN, SC Jennifer Gates: 0/0/40.70
4. $3,500 BREITLING LS Warmblood / S / 9 Quintero x Accord II BEEZIE MADDEN (USA) CAZENOVIA, NY Abigail Wexner: 0/0/40.96
5. $2,450 EQUIPHARMA DAX VAN DABDIJHOEVE Belgian Sport Horse / G / 12 Desir du Chateau x Clinton PIETER DEVOS (BEL) BEKKEVOORT Stal Devos DV: 0/0/41.43
6. $1,925 GAME BOY D Belgian Sport Horse / G / 9 Winningmood Van De Arenberg x Pavarotti V De Helle OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS (BEL) MEEUWEN-GRUITRODE Ludo Philippaerts: 0/0/41.50
7. $1,400 NIPPON D ELLE Selle Francais / S / 14 Scherif D Elle x Narcos II ROGER-YVES BOST (FRA) BARBIZON Scea Haras D Elle et Equiblue: 0/0/41.70
8. $1,050 QODY DE ST AUBERT Warmblood / S / 11 Fidji du Fleury x Damoiseau DOr ROBERT BREUL (FRA) FRANCE Yves Vilain & Domaine des Gonets: 0/0/41.87
9. $1,050 BABALOU 41 Oldenburg / M / 10 Balou de Rouet x Silvio I TODD MINIKUS (USA) LOXAHATCHEE, FL Two Swans Farm: 0/0/42.24
10. $875 LILLI German Warmblood / M / 11 Lefevre x Diamir GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA) NEW YORK, NY Gotham Enterprizes, LLC: 0/0/47.14
11. $875 SAXO DE LA COUR Selle Francais / G / 9 Dollar de la Pierre x Jelisco B CEDRIC ANGOT (FRA) GAMBAIS Sandrine Schuwer: 0/0/48.14
12. $875 HELLO FOREVER Oldenburg / G / 9 For Pleasure x Nimmerador SCOTT BRASH (GBR) GREAT BRITAIN Lord and Lady Harris & Lady P Kirkham: 0/4/41.12