He became European champion with the Swiss national team ten days ago and already looked a bit pissed off at his individual medal win last Sunday. But Steve Jaradat did not give up. He took a plane to Canada, where he had just won a Rolex Grand Prix Spruce Meadows with his twelve-year-old son SF fertilized Vignard de Cerici (by Open Up Semilly). Kent Farrington was second with Gazelle (by Kashmir van Heet Schutterhof) and McLean Ward came in third with Kasper van Heit Hellhof (by Emerald).
Canada’s Spruce Meadows is ready to race the Rolex Grand Prix two years later, under the watchful eye of the streaming crowd once again. The competition lasts two rounds and usually ends with a jump. First, there is the fishing course, where today 31 groups began. The top twelve may return in reverse order of performance for the second round. It is not against the clock. If necessary, you will follow a jump to determine the winner.
Australia scores early
The first start is a positive surprise. Australian Milky Way Warm-blooded Oaks (via Clearway) could be started by Australian Hillary Scott. She’s still instantly visible on the massive track with the 14-year-old gray. She had previously said that she was a brave horse and was very happy with her clear ride. This turned out to be true, because the groups that followed didn’t usually come close to a clear round. Some groups immediately cleared the top three obstacles and saluted halfway (correctly), while others missed the big waters, like Will Simpson with Chacco P (by Chacco-Blue). The second round was also clear for Australia. As the ninth starter, lightning-fast Rowan Willis with his chestnut Blue Movie (by Chacco-Blue) had to drive hard, but the result was totally worth it. This is not the biggest horse, but she jumps with a big heart and is also very fast.
Daniel Coyle landed in the triple strip with Carlisle of Oak Grove (by Casal) and immediately got a foot in the water. The Irish gave up and that was probably for the best. The triple line wide followed by the open water, the high wooden obstacle on five jumps, then the combination of six jump jumps is the killer. The seventeenth principle is 21-year-old Natalie Dean. The American is almost there when she unnecessarily rushes to the last hurdle with Cocolina (by Conthargos). It wasn’t necessary and it cost a bar, so as a four-barreled she would have to wait to see if she could move on to the second round. Local champion Eric Lamaze is also in trouble with tough after-water questions. His stallion Dieu Merci van T&L (via Toulon) stops first at the first of the group and then passes the second. End of exercise for the Canadian.
Flawless for Deslauriers
To the delight of the audience, veteran Canadian Mario Desloriers cleared the track. His Bardolina 2 (by Clarimo) should have stretched a bit on the set after the boards went downhill, but he doesn’t seem to have any real trouble with giant obstacles. Countryman Erin Ballard, apart from an early block of the wall, keeps it on four fouls with KWPN’er Gakhir (by Spartacus).
No Beezie Madden
The last club in the first round is the most interesting on paper. The twenty-fifth rookie is Scott Brach who hits a beam with Hello Vincent (by Consul de Vie) on a steep bike jump in the middle of the road. It follows Beezie Madden who won the last edition of the event in 2019. She’s riding a different horse than then, a Breitling LS (by Quintero). Things also go wrong for the American on the water and later plank. She decided to stop because with eight penalty points, her title defense opportunities were missed. The horse you won in 2019 will enter the ring next. Dari Lou (by Tangelo vd Zuuthoeve) is now ridden by Egyptian Nile Nassar, after Jennifer Gates rode the horse briefly at the end of last year. The KWPN blond stallion gets its first tough group. Despite hitting big on the last hurdle, the duo are still at four fouls. Kent Farrington and his legendary deer (by Kashmir van Heit Schutterhof) were also drowning in the water. The rest pass well and also go to the second round.
A bit of luck on a halfway brown steep jump, but with plenty of rhythm and technique Steve Jordant and Vinard de Cercei were clear in fourth. Ultimate rookie McLain Ward took a closer look at the race track and crossed the tricky lines perfectly. Not only does his horse Kasper van het Hellehof (by Emerald) reach the top on one of the last bulls, but the American can also move on to the second round. All four revisions and errors make it to the first round: twelve combinations in total. Penalty points and time remain.
Among the obstacles at Spruce Meadows are old Olympic hurdles. Round one featured a jump from Rio and one from Sydney. Round two features eleven obstacles, including a Greek bull and the colorful Great Wall of China. The second round is not against the clock, and the obstacles are up to 1 meter 70. Erin Ballard is the first to enter the ring with ten-year-old Ghakhir in front of her home crowd. After three jumping fouls, she called on that ten-year-old to quit. McLain Ward needs to work hard, especially on Liverpool’s early set of hurdles. But he’s still visible this round and he’s fourth overall.
Gazelle in classic shape
Dare Lou had an early foul and a keel also fell on the massive bull, shutting out the triple fork. Eight penalties for Nile Nassar. 21-year-old Mexican Carlos Hank Guerrero gets 9 extra penalty points with H5 Just the Music (by Tornedo FCS). Scott Brach and Hello Vincent see a narrow, steep gold jump and end up with a total of eight penalty points. Gazelle jumps well in the second round. Hitting big on the three forks has no consequences: a clear second lap results in a total of four for Kent Farrington. The sympathetic Marie Kokolina of Oldenburg and her young rider Natalie Dean have two beams in the second round, thanks to two massive eruptions. Her compatriot Will Simpson also has to add eight penalty points to four from the first round.
bad luck for australia
33-year-old Australian Hilary Scott lives in the Netherlands. With her gray mare, the Milky Way, she rode very clearly in the first round, but the duo suffer a contact failure on the white group of Liverpool and the horse rejects. On the second try, the mare goes, but hits a beam. Another bar and errors have been added three times. Scott crosses the finish line with 11 penalties, a bit frustrating, but she can be proud. Steve Guerdat has to do everything in his power to make the Venard de Cerisy perfect for huge obstacles and the Swiss succeed brilliantly. Clear weakness, with two sets to go. Playing from second to last, superstar Mario Desloriers almost misses a sharp, tight jump after his mare drifted all the way to the right at the previous fence. He worked it out, but then still got two penises. Rowan Willis was the fastest in the clear rounds and is the last to start. The little Blue Movie gets off to a gritty start but gets a tape at the third hurdle and another at a fork in the road. Willis and his little fox cross the finish line with eight penalty points. With that said, the jump jump is canceled and Steve Gerdat wins. Willis IV, Deslorier V.
Guerdat starts trying Grand Slam
Guerdat won a ‘regular’ 5* Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows in June 2019 with the same horse, but this extra-large version was not yet on his list of accomplishments. The Swiss can now try to win a Rolex Grand Slam: winning two more Rolex races in the space of twelve months. He might be able to start next weekend in Aachen, if he still has a usable horse after the last few weeks… It’s worth it, because whoever succeeds will get a $1 million reward. Venard de Cerisy has already earned parts of it this year and, aside from today’s prize money, there was also the €100,000 that the brown rider jumped together at the Grand Prix in Windsor in July.
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