Calgary, AB, Canada – June 6, 2014 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny continued a stellar week at the ‘National’ Tournament, presented by ROLEX, when he won the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m with Picolo. Jaime Azcarraga (MEX) and Matador were victorious in the $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup 1.50m Winning Round class.
The ‘National’ Tournament, presented by ROLEX, is the first of five tournaments in the Summer Series and runs through Sunday, June 8. The highlight of the week is Saturday’s $400,000 RBC Grand Prix presented by ROLEX. Also on Saturday is the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse, while the 210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby is on Sunday, June 8.
For his second International Ring win ever, Darragh Kenny set an early unbeatable pace with Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo. The 11-horse jump-off in the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m was stacked full of big names like Spooner, Foster, Lamaze, and Ward, but Kenny and Picolo completed the jump-off course in their usual smooth fashion in 38.90 seconds. They were 1.3 seconds faster than Richard Spooner (USA) and Amparo Z, owned by Legacy Stables LLC (40.23 seconds). Third place went to Mac Cone (CAN) on Vannety B. They finished in 40.80 seconds.
“I knew there were a lot of people in the jump-off that were very fast,” Kenny acknowledged. “I had to go early in the jump-off. He’s a very capable horse; he’s very fast. I thought I’d just go for it and leave the door closed. Lucky enough, that worked out for me.”
Kenny was full of praise for Picolo, who is an 11-year-old gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Alme. “He just wins and wins and wins and tries so hard,” he said. “When you get a horse that wants to do that much for you, it’s incredible.”
This is only the second year that Kenny has shown at Spruce Meadows; last year he came with more clients and only had one horse for the major classes. “Now I’m lucky, I have a couple of very good owners and some really nice horses, and I get to do this at the level I want to do it at,” he said.
In just three days, Kenny has had 13 top three finishes across four competition rings on eight different horses. When asked if he thought he would have a week like this, he replied, “No, I didn’t. I know I have some good horses and some very competitive horses, but you have the best riders in the world here. To try and beat them is very, very difficult. It’s extremely difficult to win here. To do that, I’m very lucky. It’s all about what you’re riding. You can do the best you can, but if you’re riding something that doesn’t want to win, you have no chance.”
Kenny praised the facility of Spruce Meadows, with the variety of classes, competition rings, and support available. “It’s incredible that we have these sponsors and the chance to jump for this prize money in this ring. The feeling when you win here is unbelievable. To win twice in one week (in the International Ring), I’m very happy with that,” he smiled.
He continued, “It’s probably the most amazing facility in the world for show jumping. I love jumping on grass. I grew up in Ireland and always jumped on grass. To have the footing that they have here is absolutely brilliant. They have so many rings, and you can do so many things here.”
Final Results: $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m
1 PICOLO: Warmblood / G / 11 Diamant De Semilly x Alme
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Oakland Ventures LLC: 0/0/38.90
2 AMPARO Z: Zangersheide / G / 11 Andiamo Z x Calido I
RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Legacy Stables LLC: 0/0/40.23
3 VANNETY B: Belgian Sport Horse / M / 9 Obsession B x Jokinal de Bornival
MAC CONE (CAN), Silver Bay Holdings Inc: 0/0/40.80
4 BRIGHTON KWPN / G / 8 Contender II x Quick Star
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/40.82
5 CHECK PICOBELLO Z: Zangersheide / G / 8 Cardento x Orlando
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/45.60
6 DULIEN VAN DE SMEETS: Belgian Warmblood / M / 11 Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Unknown
MCLAIN WARD (USA), McLain Ward: 0/4/40.27
7 LA BAMBA: Swiss Warmblood / M / 9 Lordanos x Chameur
ANTONIO CHEDRAUI (MEX), Antonio Chedrau: 0/4/42.35
8 ALPHA VDL: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Corland x Emilion
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Eva Castegren: 0/4/43.20
9 BROOKLYN BLUES: Warmblood / M / 10 Balou du Rouet x Fruhlingsball
YANN CANDELE (CAN), Carol A. Sollak: 0/4/44.50
10 WILCO: Dutch Warmblood / G / 11 Nabab de Reve x Fedor
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Double H Farm: 0/4/45.78
11 JOHNNY BOY: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Unknown x Unknown
SANTIAGO LAMBRE (MEX), Santiago Lambre: 0/8/40.83
12 QUIDAM BLUE: Hanoverian / S / 9 Quidam’s Rubin x Come On
JILL HENSELWOOD (CAN), Ute Brinkmann: 1/79.16
Azcarraga Tips Swail in Winning Round
The $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup Winning Round 1.50m had just 22 entries, but the exciting format brought back the top 10 to compete for speed in the second round. Going last in the class, Azcarraga knew exactly what he needed to accomplish, and he sped to victory in 45.77 seconds. He was chasing a time of 46.00 seconds set by Conor Swail (IRL) and Martha Louise, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. Third place went to Ambosell I and Pablo Barrios (VEN), who stopped the clock in 46.31 seconds.
“I was able to see [Conor] because he went right in front of me. I was lucky to be behind because he was running really fast and I had to catch him,” Azcarraga said.
Azcarraga is a familiar face at Spruce Meadows, having first come to compete in 1985, and he has won through four decades. He was the winner of this class in 2008 on Forastero and is known for riding the famous stallions Chin Chin and Presley Boy. Azcarraga found Matador, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Indoctro x Corland, as a seven-year-old and has brought him along in preparation for top competitions. This is the horse’s second international competition.
“He really likes to do the job,” Azcarraga said of Matador. “He was very good on Wednesday, so I tried to ride him good, and he did the job. It feels good to work with the horses. Every horse is different and some take more time to develop. Matador is 12 years old now, and I think he’s ready.”
As an amateur rider, Azcarraga splits his time between riding “every day” in Mexico and running his family’s business. Azcarraga recalled, “I’m very happy to be here again. It’s tough to win here at Spruce Meadows. I was telling Norman Dello Joio, that to come from Mexico with the level we have, to jump here in the five-star is really shocking, to come here and see the fences. I try to come in the summers and do some trips for international shows. I have to take care of the business in Mexico, so it’s not so easy to go out and compete. But if you come here, you always keep the level. In the summer it’s a good place to stay in front.”
It was a great return to the International Ring for Swail, who severed his Achilles tendon riding Ariana at the Royal Winter Fair this past November. He has been off for more than six months.
“One of most difficult things is the mental side of it, where you have to wait for such a long time. When I got the injury, I was unaware of how big an injury it was. It’s a big ligament to damage for a show jumping rider,” he explained. “I have to say though, I got through it fine. It’s just a matter of getting healthy and being able to do the job. It’s fabulous to be back.”
Swail is very happy to be back in the ring and in the victory gallop. He said, “I thought today I was going to get in that winner’s circle. Ariana was third the other day and she was leading for a long time, and I thought that would have been nice. The horses are nice and fresh. I’m a little rusty still, so hopefully there is more to come. I’m delighted with how [Martha Louise] went today; she jumped a fabulous round. It was very fast. I’m happy to be second. It wasn’t our day today, but hopefully it’s just around the corner.”
Final Results: $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup Winning Round 1.50m
1 MATADOR: Dutch Warmblood / S / 12 Indoctro x Corland
JAIME AZCARRAGA (MEX), Jaime Azcarraga: 0/0/45.77
2 MARTHA LOUISE: Swedish Warmblood / M / 10 Maloubet de Pleville x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 0/0/46.00
3 AMBOSELLI: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Silverstone x Lancelot
PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), Pablo Barrios: 4/0/46.31
4 FANANKA A: Belgian Warmblood / M / 9 Chin Chin x Kannan
EMANUEL ANDRADE (VEN), Hollow Creek Farm: 4/0/46.31
5 SANS SOUCI Z: Zangersheide / G / 11 Surrealist vh Paradijs x Voltaire
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Caroline Lloyd: 4/0/46.52
6 SOUTHWIND VDL: Dutch Warmblood / G / 15 Baloubet de Rouet x Ahorn
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 1/0/47.17
7 ANDRETTI: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Orame x Ahorn
SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), South Beach Stable: 5/0/50.39
8 ALFIE Warmblood / G / 9 Luidam x Quat Sous
EDUARDO SANCHEZ NAVARRO (MEX), Eduardo Sanchez Navarro: 4/4/47.18
9 ZERLY: Dutch Warmblood / M / 10 Querlybet Hero x Carthago
CHRISTINE MCCREA (USA), Candy Tribble: 4/4/50.89
10 CALVIN KLEIN: Swedish Warmblood / G / 10 Cardento x Feliciano
JONATHON MILLAR (CAN), Millar Brooke Farm: 1/4/54.14
11 LILLYFEE: Holstein / M / 11 Limbus x Carthago
SUSAN HORN (CAN), Kingsfield Farm: 5/76.54
12 CARTIER: Oldenburg / G / 9 Cartoon x Sheyenne de Baugy
SALVADOR ONATE (MEX), Mario Onate: 5/78.04
Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.