Mario Deslauriers and Scout de la Cense. (Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Service).
A total of 76 entries jumped the first round of the $34,000 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m on Friday, with 19 qualifying for the jump-off and 17 continuing on. The short course saw only five double clear rounds in a very fast race against the clock that put Mario Deslauriers (USA) in the winner’s circle.
Eduardo Menezes (BRA) set the challenging pace in 43.53 seconds aboard his mare, Catalina, and held the top spot through most of the jump-off. It was Deslauriers, however, who stole the lead for his first win in the International Ring since 2012. He completed the fastest clear round in a time of 42.35 seconds riding Lisa Deslauriers’ Scout de la Cense. Nicola Philippaerts placed third in 44.66 seconds with Ludo Philippaerts’ H&M Harley vd Bisschop.
Originally from Quebec, Deslauriers switched to U.S. citizenship six years ago. Regardless of nationality, a win at Spruce Meadows was still very special to the rider.
“This place has come such a long way; it is amazing. I came here when I was 14 the first time,” he noted. “It is always a good feeling (to win here). We have had several young horses the last few years while trying to rebuild our team. We skipped Spruce the last two years and now I am here with my daughter that is 15 and also showed in this competition today. My wife is also here riding. It is fun to be here with the whole family.”
During the ‘National’ Tournament’s Omega Alpha Cup in June, it was Menezes who won and Deslauriers who finished second in a two-horse jump-off in the All Canada Ring with Catalina and Scout de la Cense, but this time Deslauriers made sure he was faster.
“It was the same horses, but Eduardo beat me by four seconds!” Deslauriers detailed. “I said, ‘Where did you go?’ I thought I went pretty fast, but the All Canada Ring is a bit of a slope. This field is flatter and I really went today. The other day in All Canada I went, but not like this. Today, I really went for it.”
“It was a good track for me,” Deslauriers explained. “My is horse 17.2 hands and he has a very big step, so I knew I could do all the strides. If I got the turn right at the wall, I knew there were seven strides there for me and also seven strides to the last jump. Everybody else was doing eight and eight, and they were all slipping around the wall, but mine did not slip. I got a great turn and he did the job today. I knew I hit every fence right. I was really pushing everywhere. I knew I did not leave too much out there.”
Nine-year-old Scout de la Cense is a Selle Francais gelding by Easy Boy x Crazyhorse of Coco. He is one of several promising young horses that Deslauriers is developing, and the rider was happy to get a big win with the horse, especially at Spruce Meadows.
“It is one of the only places in the world that you come for a summer tour and it is really exciting when you come in the ring, even if there are not that many people,” he stated. “It is a great place to show. I have won here when there were 50,000 people, and you still have that in the back of your mind. It is always good. For show jumping, it is one of the best places in the world.”
The ‘North American’ Tournament continues on Saturday featuring the $400,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup as well as the $85,000 TD Cup.
Final Results: $34,000 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m
1. $8,500 SCOUT DE LA CENSE Selle Francais / G / 9 Easy Boy x Crazyhorse of Coco MARIO DESLAURIERS (USA) NEW YORK, NY Lisa Deslauriers: 0/0/42.35
2. $6,800 CATALINA Warmblood / M / 8 Chacco Blue x Converter EDUARDO MENEZES (BRA) CARLSBAD, CA Eduardo Menezes: 0/0/43.53
3. $5,100 H&M HARLEY VD BISSCHOP Belgian Warmblood / G / 8 Dulf Van Den Bisschop x Coronado NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL) GRUITRODE Ludo Philippaerts: 0/0/44.66
4. $3,400 JOLIE LE COER S Oldenburg / M / 9 Joliot x Quattro B LAURENZ BUHL (GER) HESSEN Gotham Enterprizes, LLC: 0/0/45.46
5. $2,380 CLAPTON Danish Warmblood / S / 10 Clinton I x Triumph KARRIE RUFER (USA) SACRAMENTO, CA Morning Star Sport Horses: 0/0/45.81
6. $1,870 CORCEGA LA SILLA Holstein / M / 11 Casall la Silla x Candillo ANTONIO CHEDRAUI (MEX) MEXICO DF Antonio Chedraui: 0/4/43.72
7. $1,360 ZAPRILIA M Dutch Warmblood / S / 11 Chin Chin x Silvio I RICHARD SPOONER (USA) AGUA DULCE, CA Maxine & Robert Jack: 0/4/44.48
8. $1,020 KS STAKKI Hanoverian / M / 10 Stakkato Gold x Silvio I REED KESSLER (USA) LEXINGTON, KY Kessler Show Stables: 0/4/44.67
9. $1,020 CELINA Oldenburg / M / 8 Ccentadel x Stellina RAY TEXEL (USA) SANTA ROSA, CA Jack O Neill: 0/4/45.90
10. $850 BARBARO Oldenburg / G / 9 Balou du Rouet x Carthago NICOLAS PIZARRO SUAREZ (MEX) MEXICO CITY Nicolas Pizarro Suarez: 0/4/47.66
11. $850 CAROLIEN VH SCHEEFKASTEEL Belgian Sport Horse / M / 13 Perhaps VH Molenvondel x Quito de Baussy VANESSA MANNIX (CAN) CALGARY, AB Vanessa Mannix: 0/4/49.96
12. $850 ASB CONQUISTADOR Belgian Warmblood / S / 14 Clinton x Heartbreaker ERIC NAVET (FRA) ENCINITAS, CA Signe Ostby: 0/8/45.96
Source: Spruce Meadows Media Service