Quentin Judge and HH Whisky Royale. (Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Service).
Continuing through Sunday, July 5, the ‘North American’ Tournament boasts $1.3 million in prize money across 14 FEI events throughout the week. Highlights include the $400,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday and the $210,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby on Sunday.
Spain’s Santiago Varela is the course designer in the International Ring for ‘North American’ competition. Varela began Wednesday morning with 55 entries in the $50,000 Aon Cup 1.55m and a win for Quentin Judge aboard Double H Farm’s HH Whisky Royale, a ten-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Wonderful van’t Beugelhof x Kannan). The pair topped a ten-horse jump-off with the fastest of four double clear rounds.
Reed Kessler (USA) was the first rider to clear the short course, finishing in a time of 42.36 seconds riding Kessler Show Stables’ Cylana to eventually place third. Meagan Nusz (USA) jumped the fourth place round with Amalaya Investments’ SRI Aladdin in 42.85 seconds. Judge then jumped into the lead aboard HH Whisky Royale in 41.41 seconds. Last to go, Hardin Towell (USA) took the second place prize with his time of 41.69 seconds riding Jennifer Gates’ Emilie de Diamant AS.
Wednesday’s win marks the second time that Judge has won the first competition in a CSI 5* tournament this summer. He also topped the first 1.55m competition of June’s ‘National’ Tournament aboard HH Copin van de Broy.
“I have been really lucky to win the first classes at these two tournaments,” Judge noted. “My horses really like this ring, so I just try to make a good plan for each week and put the right horses in the right competitions.”
Wednesday’s win also marks a significant moment in Judge’s partnership with HH Whisky Royale, who he has been riding for several years.
“This is definitely his biggest win,” Judge remarked. “This is only his third 1.55m. He was really good the first week here, finishing clear and with four faults in two 1.55m competitions. Now after two weeks off, he came right in and jumped this. It is really special for us because this is a horse that we have had a long time. He is a horse that maybe some people did not believe in when he was young because he was so big and so gawky, but he has really come a long way.”
Speaking of Whisky Royale’s powerful jumping style, Judge noted, “He is a huge horse and he has such a big stride. He kicks really hard over the jumps and it definitely took me a while to get used to that, but he gives you a very good feeling as a rider because you know you will pretty much never have a back rail down.”
HH Whisky Royale will jump again in Thursday’s $85,000 Progress Energy Cup 1.55m as Judge looks to continue his success throughout the ‘North American’ Tournament.
Final Results: $50,000 Aon Cup 1.55m
1. $16,500 HH WHISKY ROYALE Zangersheide / G / 10 Wonderful Vant Beugelhof x Kannan
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA) WELLINGTON, FL Double H Farm: 0/0/41.41
2. $10,000 EMILIE DE DIAMANT AS Belgian Sport Horse / M / 11 Diamant de Semilly x Flipper d Elle
JACK HARDIN TOWELL JR. (USA) CAMDEN, SC Jennifer Gates: 0/0/41.69
3. $7,500 CYLANA Belgian Warmblood / M / 13 Skippy II x Darco
REED KESSLER (USA) LEXINGTON, KY Kessler Show Stables: 0/0/42.36
4. $5,000 SRI ALADDIN Dutch Warmblood / G / 10 Quasimodo z x Burggraaf
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA) HOUSTON, TX Amalya Investments: 0/0/42.85
5. $3,000 ASD FARFALA / G / 12 Unknown x Unknown
JOSE MANUEL IBANEZ (CHI) NUNOA Americo Simonetti: 0/4/44.68
6. $2,250 BABALOU 41 Oldenburg / M / 10 Balou de Rouet x Silvio I
TODD MINIKUS (USA) LOXAHATCHEE, FL Two Swans Farm: 0/4/46.56
7. $1,500 FLOWER Belgian Warmblood / M / 10 Bon Ami x Randel Z
NINA FAGERSTROM (FIN) CUMERLAND, ON Finca Horses Inc: 0/4/47.52
8. $1,250 CABALLITO Oldenburg / G / 13 Contendro x Argentinus
ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN) WELLINGTON, FL Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/8/42.60
9. $1,000 ZAMIRO 16 Brandenburg / G / 15 Zenturio x Landstreicher
KARA CHAD (CAN) CALGARY, AB Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 0/12/44.76
10. $1,000 SHOWGIRL Selle Francais / M / 15 Gold de Becourt x Elf III
YANN CANDELE (CAN) CALEDON, ON Watermark Group: 0/Elim.
11. $500 POLINSKA DES ISLES Selle Francais / M / 12 Diamant de Semilly x Valespoir Malabry FRANCOIS MATHY (BEL) BELGIUM Team Harmony & Francois Mathy: 1/80.36
12. $500 DIXSON Belgian Warmblood / G / 12 Vigo D Arsouilles x Olisco
IAN MILLAR (CAN) PERTH, ON Susan & Ariel Grange: 1/80.44
Source: Spruce Meadows Media Service