Ottawa, Ontario – For the second day in a row, Sarah Johnstone and Leonidas were the big winners at the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments. The pair captured the $25,000 Hayes Co. Grand Prix on Sunday, August 14, at the Nepean National Equestrian Park in Ottawa, ON.
Hot off Saturday’s victory in the $10,000 Peel Maryborough Mutual Insurance Company/Henry Equestrian Insurance Brokers Ltd. Modified Grand Prix, Johnstone of Aurora, ON, and Leonidas returned to the grass grand prix field where they faced off against 15 other horse-rider combinations. Five jumped clear over Catsy Cruz’s course to advance to the all-deciding jump-off round.
First back, Margie Gayford of Sharon, ON, went slow and steady, guiding Calando Z, an 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding owned by Paddy Ann Burns, to a clear round in a time of 49.89 seconds.
Toronto’s Jordan MacPherson, 21, attempted to repeat her winning performance from Friday’s $10,000 NationWide Open Welcome with Piccobello, but three rails down left her fifth in the final standings.
Angela Covert-Lawrence of St. Lazare, QC, and Utan, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by The Eastwood Group, had a rail down mid-way through the jump-off course before crossing the timers in 46.99 seconds. They finished fourth overall. Covert-Lawrence rode two horses in the Grand Prix, and also placed eighth riding Unica after having the final fence down in the first round.
Saturday’s big winners returned to the ring in the hopes of another victory. Johnstone and Leonidas repeated their faultless performance and posted a time of 43.09 to move into the lead with only one rider left to challenge.
That final challenger, however, was nine-time Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON. The 64-year-old veteran set out to beat 20-year-old Johnstone. A hard rub at the second last fence had the crowd gasping, but the rail stayed in place as Millar guided Dryden, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Susan Grange, home with a clear round. The time was close, but not fast enough, as 43.19 seconds left Millar and Dryden in second place for the second day in a row.
And for the second day in a row, Johnstone and Leonidas took the win. “It was awesome, he was unbelievable,” said Johnstone, who has never won two major competitions back-to-back, let alone with the same horse. “You know you have to keep the rails up with Ian coming behind you. ‘Leo’ was on his game, and I felt confident. I had to go for it.”
Johnstone, who trains with National Capital Show Jumping Tournament organizer Jay Hayes, has been riding Leonidas since she was 16. “He is a complete character,” Johnstone said fondly of the 14-year-old Hannoverian gelding owned by Trish Crang. “He is quirky, but he is a tonne of fun. He gives it his all.”
Johnstone, who will begin studying at the University of Guelph this fall, will continue competing during week two of the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments. Following a two-day break, competition resumes at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, August 17.
The second week of competition, running August 17 to 21, will see two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela setting the tracks in the grand prix field. Highlights include the $10,000 Ottawa Rental & Supply Ltd. Open Welcome on Friday, August 19, and the thrilling $10,000 ATCO Jumping Derby on Saturday, August 20. The grand finale is Sunday’s $75,000 CSI** Brookstreet Grand Prix, sanctioned by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
Approximately 500 horses will compete over the two weeks of competition at the Nepean National Equestrian Park, conveniently located at the 417 Queensway and Moodie Drive.
For more information on the National Capital Show Jumping Tournament, please visit www.hayesco.ca.
$25,000 Hayes Co. Grand Prix – Sunday, August 14
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Sarah Johnstone Aurora, ON Leonidas 0:0 43.09
2. Ian Millar Perth, ON Dryden 0:0 43.19
3. Margie Gayford Sharon, ON Calando Z 0:0 49.89
4. Angela Covert-Lawrence St. Lazare, QC Utan 0:4 46.99
5. Jordan MacPherson Toronto, ON Piccobello du val de Geer 0:12 46.06
6. Amy Millar Perth, ON Top Gun 4
7. Jill Henselwood Oxford Mills, ON IV Ever 4
8. Angela Covert-Lawrence St. Lazare, QC Unica van de Roshoeve 4
9. Michele Hinrichs Brantford, ON Patronuss 8
10. Miranda Travers-Cavill Claremont, ON Legende de B’Neville 9
Photo: Sarah Johnstone and Leonidas won the $25,000 Hayes Co. Grand Prix on Sunday, August 14, at the National Capital Show Jumping Tournaments in Ottawa, ON. Photo Credit – RedRibbonPhotography.com