Calgary, AB, Canada –The WestJet Cup 1.45m was the first FEI competition held in the Meadows on the Green Friday afternoon with an exciting first international victory at Spruce Meadows for Mexico’s Patricio Pasquel. The rider guided his nine-year-old homebred gelding, Babel (Billy du Lys x High Flyer), to victory in a nine-horse jump-off out of 77 first round starters.
Six entries jumped double clear over Alan Wade’s (IRL) short course, but it was Pasquel and Babel who took the winning prize with the fastest time of 37.54 seconds. USA’s Lucy Deslauriers clocked the second place time of 37.73 riding Lisa Deslauriers’ Hester.
Hardin Towell (USA) and Jennifer Gates’ Emilie de Diamant AS placed third in 38.87 seconds. Taizo Sugitani (JPN) guided Yvonne Barrow’s Avenzio to fourth place honors in 39.73 seconds. Molly Ashe (USA) and Louisburg Farm’s Pjotter van de Zonnehove finished fifth in 40.23 seconds, and Conor Swail (IRL) clocked the sixth place time of 40.65 seconds riding Ilan Ferder and Tal Milstein’s Cenzo.
Pasquel has been knocking on the door of Spruce Meadows’s international competition with several second place finishes and was very happy that he was finally able to get the win on Friday. He had the help of Nikolaj Hein Ruus and Norman Dello Joio on the ground, as well as a great team that got his horses ready for the competition.
“I am a businessman, so riding is my hobby,” Pasquel stated. “I was in a board meeting yesterday until 4 p.m. in Mexico City and then I got to Calgary at 3 o’clock in the morning. I had a long flight, but I have a great crew, and they had the horses ready. It is all about the team. There is a lot of work going on behind the riders that nobody sees. I really appreciate all of the people that help me.”
Speaking of his winning mount Babel, Pasquel noted, “It is an interesting story. I bred Babel myself at my ranch in Mexico. I have had this horse his whole life, and it is funny because when he was a three-year-old, he was a big, horrible horse. He is a bit crooked and I wanted to give him away, but I decided to keep him. Then he was four-year-old champion of Mexico, and then five-year-old champion of Mexico, then six-year-old champion and seven-year-old champion, and now he is winning all of the classes. I think I have won over 110 first place ribbons with this horse. He is amazing; it is really a nice story to tell.”
Pasquel qualified two mounts for Friday’s jump-off, going first in the order with Careyes, who ended the competition in seventh place overall with one rail down over the short course.
“Of course that always helps to have two horses in the jump-off because I was in the ring with that horse first and it gave me a little advantage,” Pasquel detailed. “My first horse jumped really well. I wanted to go faster with that one, but I had number two down, so I had to just wander around. Then I went in again and I said, ‘Babel wants to win today,’ and I gave it a shot.”
The Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, continues on Saturday with its feature event, the $375,000 Pan American Cup, presented by Rolex, as well as the CIBC Cup.
For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Final Results: WestJet Cup 1.45m
1 BABEL Warmblood / G / 9 / Billy du Lys x High Flyer PATRICIO PASQUEL (MEX) Patricio Pasquel: 0/0/37.54
2 HESTER Belgian Warmblood / G / 11/ Wandor Van De Mispelaere x Palestro Vd Begijnakker LUCY DESLAURIERS (USA) Lisa Deslauriers: 0/0/37.73
3 EMILIE DE DIAMANT AS Belgian Sport Horse / M / 12 / Diamant de Semilly x Flipper d Elle JACK HARDIN TOWELL JR. (USA) JKG LLC: 0/0/38.87
4 AVENZIO Dutch Warmblood / G / 17 / Animo x Erdball TAIZO SUGITANI (JPN) Yvonne Barrow: 0/0/39.73
5 PJOTTER VAN DE ZONNEHOEVE Dutch Warmblood / G / 15 / Plato x Gmillion MOLLY ASHE (USA) Louisburg Farm: 0/0/40.23
6 CENZO Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 / Harley VDL x Cavalier CONOR SWAIL (IRL) Ilan Ferder & Tal Milstein: 0/0/40.65
7 CAREYES Oldenburg / G / 12 / Converter x Landgold PATRICIO PASQUEL (MEX) Patricio Pasquel: 0/4/39.95
8 PLUME DE LA ROQUE Selle Francais / M / 13 / Kannan x Adelfos BEN ASSELIN (CAN) Attache Stables: 0/4/40.13
9 CONTIKI Swedish Warmblood / G / 10 / Contendro x Calido I NICK DELLO JOIO (USA) Coker Farm: 0/16/64.58
10 UCEKO Dutch Warmblood / G / 15 / Celano x Koriander KENT FARRINGTON (USA) RCG Farm: 1/71.29
11 VENENO Oldenburg / G / 8 / Chacco Blue x Baloubet du Rouet LIUBOV KOCHETOVA (RUS) Liubov Kochetova: 1/71.55
12 WANNICK WH Dutch Warmblood / S / 13 / Heartbreaker x Joost CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA) Candy Tribble: 1/71.92