After a week of qualifying and three rounds of competition, it was the aptly named Coronado, piloted by Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, who emerged victorious Saturday in the $752,000 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows (Alberta).
Thirty-five riders qualified throughout the week for the opportunity to step foot through the Clock Tower and take a piece of the purse. Under the competition format, the top 12 riders in the first round would advance to the second round, and from there, any tied on a winning score would jump off.
After the first round, seven pairs were clear and five others had 4 faults that carried to next round. The 12 athletes, representing seven nations, returned for the second round of competition over the 1.60-meter track in order or reverse merit. Four of them jumped double-clear—Sergio Alvarez Moya (Spain), Nassar, Mario Deslauriers (Canada) and Capt. Brian Cournane (United States)—setting the stage for a jump-off.
Alvarez Moya was first into the ring and put the pressure on the rest of his competitors by posting his third clear round of the day with a time of 38.27 seconds. Nassar, who has been riding Coronado, a 14-year-old Holsteiner gelding (San Patrignano Cassini—N-Accorada, Acord II) he owns with Evergate Stables, for two years, used the gelding’s speed and scope to his advantage. They galloped through the finish line 2.5 seconds faster, stopping the clocks at 35.58 seconds. Deslauriers and Cournane each had a rail to finish third and fourth, respectively.
Watch Nassar’s winning jump-off round, courtesy of Spruce Meadows: