Palgrave, Ontario – With three chances at victory, Yann Candele of Caledon, ON, was the odds on favourite to win the $35,000 Caledon Cup Phase 2 on Saturday, September 22, at the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament (CSJT). The five-day international show jumping competition runs through September 23 at the Caledon Equestrian Park in Palgrave, ON, recently named the official equestrian venue of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.
The starting field for the second phase of competition in the Caledon Cup was narrowed down to 25 contenders for Saturday’s $35,000 Caledon Cup Phase 2, presented by Aviva Elite/Peel Maryborough. Of those, 10 jumped clear over the track set by two-time Olympic course designer Leopoldo Palacios to advance to the jump-off, including Candele with all three of his entered mounts.
Candele’s first jump-off contender, Ariana, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, was clear in a time of 35.09 seconds to take over the lead from Francois Lamontagne of St. Eustache, QC. Lamontagne, 28, who will make his Nations’ Cup debut riding for Canada in Buenos Aires in November, had set the early pace with a time of 35.43 with Undergroud des Hauts Droit, an eight-year-old Belgian Sport Horse owned by Ferme Lamontagne.
When Candele returned to the grand prix arena, he beat his own time to move to the top of the leader board with Game Ready, having stopped the clock in 34.52 seconds.
Ainsley Vince of Burlington, ON, gave it her best effort by posting the fastest time, 34.21 seconds, but a rail down at the second fence left her in fifth place with Darling, an eight-year-old grey Westphalian mare she began riding earlier this season for The Darling Group.
The final horse on course belonged to Candele, giving him the opportunity to take the top three spots in the final standings. When Carlotta Singular had a rail down at the final fence, sixth place was the final result for the pair, who had served as the traveling alternates for the Canadian Show Jumping Team at the 2012 London Olympic Games. A win with Game Ready, second place with Ariana, and sixth with Carlotta Singular gave Candele the three top placings in the final standings for owner Susan Grange of Lothlorien Farm in Cheltenham, ON.
“It is a huge advantage to have three horses in the jump-off, and I was lucky to go fifth, eighth and tenth in the order,” said Candele. “I was able to watch the first few horses go, and then Ariana was faster than everyone else to take over the lead. With Game Ready, I tried to be a little tighter on the turns than I had been with Ariana, and that put us into the lead again. I was a little scared when I saw Ainsley go, but then she had a rail down. When I went last with Carlotta, I already knew I was first and second with Game Ready and Ariana, and was a little more relaxed.”
On Thursday, Candele won the $15,000 Caledon Cup Phase 1 with Carlotta Singular while Game Ready settled for second. On Saturday, it was Game Ready’s turn to step into the spotlight. Candele has been riding the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding for the past five seasons.
“Game Ready has been such an amazing horse for me,” said Candele, 41, who moved to Canada from his native France in 1999. “Carlotta is our number one horse so he’s been in her shadow a little bit, and I’m so pleased that he could win such a nice class. He is such a competitor. He has a special place in our hearts.”
With their win on Saturday, Candele and Game Ready take over top spot in the standings for the Caledon Cup following two of three phases of competition. As is proving to be the case in Palgrave, Candele is his own toughest competition, sitting second with Carlotta Singular. The $100,000 Caledon Cup, presented by Aviva Elite, Peel Maryborough, and RAM Equestrian, will be awarded on Sunday following the $50,000 RAM Equestrian Caledon Cup.
In addition to showcasing some of the best horses in the country, the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament is held for the benefit of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. During a special presentation held before Saturday’s $35,000 Caledon Cup Phase 2, Hannah Smith, 10, of Cardston, AB, had her wish for a horse granted. 2008 Olympic team silver medalists Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, ON, and Mac Cone of King City, ON, made the presentation.
Also in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation, the Family Village will be open on Sunday and will feature entertaining and educational interactive displays and attractions, including Sciensational SSnakes and Birds of Prey. The Foxbury Farm Horseless Horse Show is also returning this year, allowing children to jump kid-sized obstacles on foot in a competition of their own.
For more information on the Canadian Show Jumping Tournament, including full results, please visit www.equiman.com.