Andres Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111. (Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Service).
The final competition on Wednesday was the $34,000 PwC Cup 1.50m with a speedy win for Andres Rodriguez (VAN) and Arao Enterprises LLC’s Fifty Fifty 111. Juan Pablo Gaspar Albanez (MEX) and Felipe Gaspar’s Puertas So What were first to go and laid down a blazing fast time of 66.215 seconds that held on through 33 competitors for second place. Halfway through the order, Rodriguez and Fifty Fifty 111 stole the show with their winning time of 66.096 seconds.
Rodriguez and the ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Action Breaker x Major de la Cour) also won on opening day of week one’s ‘National’ Tournament and the rider was thrilled with his horse’s consistency.
“It is amazing (to win again), Rodriguez smiled. “This is the first day of one of the biggest competitions of the summer and it is amazing to win the same competition that I won four weeks ago. This is the third time the mare has been out this summer, and she has won two competitions and she also got a good ribbon in the derby, so it feels great.”
“She is getting a bit more accurate,” Rodriguez said of Fifty’s development this summer. “To have a horse that can come in the ring and win two out of three times, it is a great horse.”
“There were a lot of great horses in that competition today,” Rodriguez continued. “We had HH Carlos Z, we had Rosana du Park, some amazing horses and riders. When Juan Pablo Gaspar went in the beginning, I thought that he had won the class. We needed to take some risks to try to get his time. Then after I saw McLain (Ward) and Eric (Lamaze) going after Juan Pablo, and not being able to catch him, I knew we had to go all in. I missed one distance to the coin jump. I was thinking of doing eight strides, but I landed on the outside, so I did nine strides. Then I was trying towards the end to get the time back. I got a little bit of a flying distance to the one oxer at the end. That was a big risk, but I think that is where I got the time.”
“I knew coming in that if someone beat Juan Pablo, it was not going to be by much,” Rodriguez said of his narrow margin of victory. “He did not leave much in the ring. He did all of the distances the right way and he was in the right rhythm. It is very impressive for a kid to come here and just lay something down like that. For him to go first, not really knowing how the class was going to turn up, and put in a round like that was really good.”
Santiago Varela set some excellent tracks on Wednesday that were not only great for the horses and riders, but also great for the crowds that turned up to watch the competition while celebrating Canada Day.
“The courses today were really good,” Rodriguez acknowledged. “I thought the 1.55m was an amazing course. There were some big jumps, but everything rode very smooth, and I think both 1.50m courses were very good. I think the crowd liked it. The rounds were fast, and people were really trying. That is what a course designer is always trying to get; they want to entertain the crowd and get a good competition, and I think he achieved that today.”
The ‘North American’ Tournament continues on Thursday featuring the $85,000 Progress Energy Cup 1.55m, $34,000 Sun Life Financial ‘Reach for the Sun’ 1.50m, and the $34,000 Suncast Cup 1.50m.
Final Results: $34,000 PwC Cup 1.50m
1. $8,500 FIFTY FIFTY 111 Belgian Warmblood / M / 10 Action Breaker x Major de la Cour
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN) WELLINGTON, FL Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/66.096
2. $6,800 PUERTAS SO WHAT Dutch Warmblood / G / 11 Quattro x Iroko
JUAN PABLO GASPAR ALBANEZ (MEX) ZAPOPAN, JALISCO Felipe Gaspar: 0/66.215
3. $5,100 CHARIELLE Oldenburg / M / 9 Chacco Blue x Argentinus
RODRIGO LAMBRE (BRA) MONTERREY Mario Onate: 0/67.196
4. $3,400 H&M QUENZO DE LA ROQUE Selle Francais / G / 11 Kannan x Jasmin
NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL) GRUITRODE Ludo Philippaerts: 0/67.374
5. $2,380 ROSANA DU PARK Schwaben / M / 10 Kannan x Ukase
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN) SCHOMBERG, ON Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/67.420
6. $1,870 EREGAST VANT KIEZELHOF Belgian Warmblood / G / 11 Thunder van de Zuuthoeve x Latano
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL) WELLINGTON, FL Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 0/70.125
7. $1,360 CADE Belgian Warmblood / G / 13 Heartbreaker x Darco
ABIGAIL MCARDLE (USA) WELLINGTON, FL David McArdle: 0/70.555
8. $1,020 CAT BALOU Warmblood / G / 8 Cassini II x Lacantus
MOLLY ASHE (USA) WELLINGTON, FL Louisburg Farm: 0/70.889
9. $1,020 CAT BALOU Hanoverian / M / 10 Converter x Acord II
TAMIE PHILLIPS (CAN) STRATHMORE AB Tamie Phillips: 0/71.697
10. $850 BRIGHTON / G / 9 Contendro II x Quick Star
TIFFANY FOSTER (CAN) SCHOMBERG, ON Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/73.167
11. $850 CUBA LIBRE Irish Sport Horse / G / 13 Bolivar x Puissance
REBECCA MCGOLDRICK (CAN) WEST TISBURY, MA Rebecca McGoldrick: 0/75.374
12. $850 ATLANTIS T Dutch Warmblood / G / 10 Padinus x Guidam
BRIAN MORTON (CAN) LANGLEY, BC Grafton Farm: 0/76.026
Source: Spruce Meadows Media Service