Calgary, Alberta—July 2
Pedro Veniss of Brazil topped an international field of 40 athletes to claim the Pan American Cup CSIO**** at Spruce Meadows. Veniss and Quabri De Lisle topped a three-horse jump-off for the title.
“I knew it was a difficult and technical track and there would not be too many clear rounds,” Veniss said. “Quabri is a special horse and he is very good at Spruce Meadows. We have had good success here since our first visit in 2015.”
Veniss won the Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva, one of the legs of the Rolex Grand Slam, in December, so he’s set his sights on preparing for and winning the next leg of the Rolex Grand Slam, the Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen, in mid-July. Veniss felt the Spruce Meadows summer series would be the perfect preparation for his top mount, the 13 year-old Selle Francais Stallion, Quabri de Lisle.
The first competitor to achieve a clear score card in Round 1 was U.S. rider Peter Lutz aboard Robin De Ponthual, a 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding. They repeated their faultless score in the jump-off, arriving at the finish line with a time of 53.97 seconds. “I was first to go in the jump-off and I knew I wanted to go clear. I felt that is the best thing to do in that situation to put pressure on the two. Going first, you don’t have the advantage to see some of the lines so I think there was definitely one less stride to the last jump that I didn’t do. So you definitely can learn a lot from watching, but our horse went great and I was so happy with the double clear. I thought it was just a great outcome for us.”
Finishing with an impressive podium finish was first-time competitor to Spruce Meadows, Fernando Martinez aboard Cor Bakker, a 10-year-old warmblood gelding by Colandro. Martinez finished with just 4 faults in the jump-off but the quickest time of the day in 50.28 seconds. “My horse is naturally very quick on the ground, and after watching Peter I saw the option to leave out a stride to the last fence,” said Martinez. “I really just wanted to make it smooth. I didn’t think I was that much faster with the time—my plan in the jump-off with these top riders was to just to do my best and go smooth and get a nice time and see what happens.”
Course Designer Peter Grant of Canada was thrilled with the level of competition produced over his courses this week. “I was quite happy with the course today,” Grant said. “I thought there was good rhythm and flow—I think the lines all jumped as I expected them to. The group in today’s Grand Prix was by far the strongest I have built for.
“I would have liked to see perhaps one or two more in the jump-off, but the biggest thing for me is that even the riders who left the ring on 4 or 8 faults, their horses left the ring looking confident about themselves—as much as I like to test the skill of the riders I also like to show off the athletic ability of the horses so I felt that it was really one of my better courses today.”