Calgary, AB, Canada- Leading into the biggest day of his career with the chance to make history in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Scott Brash (GBR) picked up a confidence boosting win in the $126,000 Suncor Energy Cup on Saturday at the ‘Masters’. Held in a winning round format over a 1.50m course set by Venezuela’s Leopoldo Palacios, 28 entries started in round one. The top ten competitors were then invited to return for the winning round, in which they begin again with zero penalties. The combination that has the fewest faults in the fastest time in the winning round is the winner.
As he makes his bid for history with top mount Hello Sanctos, Brash also brought nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding Hello Forever (For Pleasure x Nimmerdor) to compete this week. The pair completed the fastest of six clear trips in 40.73 seconds in the winning round to take top honors and the first place prize of $41,580.
Great Britain also finished second as Guy Wiliams jumped clear in 41.03 seconds aboard Casper de Muze in the second phase of competition. USA’s Hardin Towell took third place honors riding Jennifer Gates’ Lucifer V through the timers in 41.99 seconds, and France’s Jerome Hurel placed fourth in 43.21 seconds riding S.A.R.L. Ar Tropig’s Ohm de Ponthual.
Brash has only ridden Hello Forever for about eight months, but the duo has already formed a fantastic partnership that includes wins on the Global Champions Tour in Miami and Valkenswaard. Brash explained that Forever has been a bit inconsistent throughout the year, however, and he brought the horse to Spruce Meadows specifically for the experience in a large grass arena. The nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding (For Pleasure x Nimmerador) is owned by Lord and Lady Harris and Lady P Kirkham and was purchased from Stuart Harvey in England.
“Stuart produced him really well on the national circuit and then we took him over and he did a couple of the indoor winter shows,” Brash detailed. “He won a good class in Miami, but in a sand ring. Then when he went into the big grass rings, he got a little inconsistent, so it is great to finish off with a win here on a big grass arena for this year.”
“I think he is going to be a really good horse and I am very excited for him,” Brash continued. “He used to be afraid of these big rings, so I thought it was best to bring him to these types of shows to get him used to them. Hopefully he will be coming here one year to jump the grand prix or the Nations’ Cup, so it is great that he has been here now and he has that experience under his belt. I must say, he has gotten better ever day here. I do have really high hopes for him. I think he is going to be very good for the future.”
Speaking of his round in Saturday’s competition, Brash explained that Hello Forever jumped the 1.60m track on Friday and had a bit of bad luck, so he chose to drop the horse down a level and give him a good final day.
“He jumped a big course yesterday and I thought it would be nice for him to drop down and have another trip around the arena,” Brash explained. “I felt confident today because he jumped so well yesterday and he jumped a really good first round today. I knew it was going to be a fast jump-off, and he is a fast horse, so we set off and luckily the rest did not catch us.”
The ‘Masters’ Tournament concludes on Sunday with the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex, where all eyes will be on Britain’s star duo. Brash rode Hello Sanctos on Saturday and declared that the horse felt good and ready to go. “It will be nice to get on with it now and go and do our job,” he said of the anticipation.
The world’s number one rider now also has an extra boost of confidence from a win before the big day. Brash laughed, “I don’t think it can do any harm anyway! It is great to get a win under our belt. Everyone wants to win at Spruce Meadows, so first of all it is nice to get a win and it does give you a bit of confidence that what you are doing is right.” The $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex, will begin at 12 noon.
For a complete tournament schedule and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.
Final Results: $126,000 Suncor Energy Cup 1.50m (Winning Round)
1. $41,580 HELLO FOREVER Oldenburg / G / 9 For Pleasure x Nimmerador SCOTT BRASH (GBR) GREAT BRITAIN Lord and Lady Harris & Lady P Kirkham: 0/0/40.73
2. $25,200 CASPER DE MUZE Belgian Warmblood / G / 13 Triomphe de Muze x Corsaire de Vauban GUY WILLIAMS (GBR) KENT Guy Williams: 0/0/41.03
3. $18,900 LUCIFER V Westphalian / G / 9 Lord Pezi x Grandeur JACK HARDIN TOWELL JR. (USA) CAMDEN, SC Jennifer Gates: 0/0/41.99
4. $12,600 OHM DE PONTHUAL Selle Francais / S / 13 Voltaire x Calypso D Herbiers JEROME HUREL (FRA) PARIS S.A.R.L. AR TROPIG: 0/0/43.21
5. $7,560 QODY DE ST AUBERT Warmblood / S / 11 Fidji du Fleury x Damoiseau DOr ROBERT BREUL (FRA) FRANCE Yves Vilain & Domaine des Gonets: 1/0/44.24
6. $5,670 RUBY DE LA FOSSE Selle Francais / G / 10 Cabdula du Tillard x Bocage de Longane ALEXIS BORRIN (FRA) VILLENEUVE DASCQ Pascal Borrin: 0/0/45.79
7. $3,780 COUP DE CHANCE Belgian Sport Horse / G / 9 Cardento x Darco ELIZABETH GINGRAS (CAN) EDMONTON, AB B Gingras Equestrian Ltd: 0/4/41.42
8. $3,150 NIPPON D ELLE Selle Francais / S / 14 Scherif D Elle x Narcos II ROGER-YVES BOST (FRA) BARBIZON Scea Haras D Elle et Equiblue: 0/4/42.95
9. $2,520 SPARTACUS TM Hanoverian / S / 12 Stakkato x Granus HENK VAN DE POL (NED) WAALRE H. NIJHOF: 0/4/43.54
10. $2,520 GAME BOY D Belgian Sport Horse / G / 9 Winningmood Van De Arenberg x Pavarotti V De Helle OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS (BEL) MEEUWEN-GRUITRODE Ludo Philippaerts: 0/4/43.85
11. $1,260 VICTOR Dutch Warmblood / G / 13 Elmshorn x Grandeur TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN) SCHOMBERG, ON Torrey Pines & Artisan Farms: 1/72.79
12. $1,260 DUTCH AMOURETTA Dutch Warmblood / M / 10 Dutch Capitol x Wellington BRENDA RIDDELL (CAN) CALGARY, AB Silverstar Farms: 1/74.07