Quentin Judge accepts the Roadtrek Motorhomes Cup from Joe Morales, Director of Sales Administration & Events, Roadtrek Motorhomes. (Photo © Spruce Meadows Media Service).
Spruce Meadows kicked off its ‘National’ Tournament CSI 5*, presented by Rolex, on Wednesday with a full day of show jumping at the world-renowned venue in Calgary. The first day of competition saw wins for Quentin Judge (USA) and HH Copin van de Broy in the $34,000 Roadtrek Motorhomes Cup 1.55m, Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Rosana du Park in the $34,000 Back On Track 1.50m, and Andres Rodriguez (VEN) with Fifty Fifty 111 in the $34,000 Bantrel Cup 1.50m.
The ‘National’ Tournament is the first in five weeks of competition during this year’s Summer Series at Spruce Meadows. Riders will vie for nearly $1.2 million in prize money throughout the week, with competition concluding on Sunday, June 7. The highlight event will be the $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by Rolex, on Saturday, June 6. Other features include the $85,000 ATB Financial Cup on Thursday, the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse on Saturday, and the $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby on Sunday.
The course designer in the International Ring for the ‘National’ Tournament is Uliano Vezzani of Italy. Vezanni began Wednesday’s competition with the $34,000 Roadtrek Motorhomes Cup 1.55m and a win for Quentin Judge aboard Double H Farm’s HH Copin van de Broy. Judge and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion (Darco x Brownboy) topped a 15-horse jump-off out of 65 original starters. They completed the fastest of eight double clear efforts in 37.77 seconds.
Eric Lamaze and Artisan Farms LLC’s Powerplay set the pace to beat in 38.59 seconds, eventually ending second. Rich Fellers (USA) and Harry and Molly Chapman’s Flexible landed in third place with their time of 39.24 seconds.
“I was surprised we won to be honest because I saw Eric go and I thought he was pretty fast,” Judge remarked. “My original plan was not to try to win. I wanted to be in the top four or five to get qualified for Saturday’s grand prix, but McLain Ward who trains me said, ‘Go,’ so I did. My horse felt really good and really schooled all the way around.”
Egypt’s Sameh el Dahan completed the fastest jump-off round in 37.71 seconds just before Judge entered the ring, but a rail at the last fence put the rider in ninth place overall. Judge was able to watch his round, however, and knew what he had to do.
“I saw Sameh go and I saw that he was really fast to the last line, but I am a little superstitious, so I did not watch him do the last jump,” Judge admitted. “I knew Eric did eight strides from jump one to two. I saw everyone else do nine and I knew that my horse has a similar stride as Powerplay and could also do eight. From there I just tried to be quick to the Roadtrek oxer and back to the coins oxer and the last line. Then I just let him gallop to the last jump. I knew if I was neat enough I could really trust him to the last jump and it worked out.”
Judge started riding HH Copin van de Broy, just before Spruce Meadows last summer and felt good heading into this first competition knowing they already had experience in the International Ring together.
“I feel like our partnership has come a long way,” he acknowledged. “We got along pretty well from the beginning, but Spruce Meadows last year was really my first big international tournament with him, so I know him the best at this venue. The horse obviously likes it here, so I know that day one I can ask him to go and do his job.”
With a win under his belt, Judge has his sights set on Saturday’s grand prix and also looks forward to defending his title in the $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby, which he won last year aboard HH Dark de la Hart.
“This win gives me a big confidence boost,” Judge noted. “We all come here to Spruce Meadows trying to be guns loaded and ready to be competitive going into the first week. It gives me confidence that the plan I made coming up to this was right and my horses are ready to go. Having one win earlier in the week takes a little of the weight off my shoulders to be able to concentrate on the weekend.”
Final Results: $34,000 Roadtrek Motorhomes Cup 1.55m
1. $8,500 HH COPIN VAN DE BROY Belgian Warmblood / S / 13 Darco x Brown Boy
QUENTIN JUDGE (USA) WELLINGTON, FL Double H Farm: 0/0/37.77
2. $6,800 POWER PLAY Holstein / G / 11 Casall x Limbus
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN) SCHOMBERG, ON Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/0/38.59
3. $5,100 FLEXIBLE Irish bred / S / 19 Cruising x Safari
RICH FELLERS (USA) SHERWOOD, OR Harry & Mollie Chapman: 0/0/39.24
4. $3,400 CZARDAS 30 Hanoverian / S / 12 Contendro x Grannus
KIRSTEN COE (USA) ROYAL PALM BEACH, FL Ilan Ferder: 0/0/39.40
5. $2,380 FOREVER D ARCO TER LINDEN Belgian Warmblood / S / 10 Darco x Tenor Manciais NICOLA PHILIPPAERTS (BEL) GRUITRODE Ludo Philippaerts & Frans Lens: 0/0/39.49
6. $1,870 FIRST CHOICE 15 Warmblood / G / 12 Unknown x Unknown
YANN CANDELE (CAN) CALEDON, ON Watermark Group: 0/0/39.75
7. $1,360 QUILEBO DU TILLARD Selle Francais / G / 11 For Pleasure x Quat Sous
ENRIQUE GONZALEZ (MEX) COL TETELPAN Enrique Gonzalez: 0/0/41.91
8. $1,020 FLAMING STAR Irish Sport Horse / G / 16 Fairman x Unknown
CHARLIE JACOBS (USA) BOSTON, MA CMJ Sporthorse LLC: 0/0/43.71
9. $1,020 SUMAS ZORRO Irish Sport Horse / M / 11 Ard Vdl Douglas x Unknown
SAMEH EL DAHAN (EGY) BALLYCLARE Sycamore Horse Farm: 0/4/37.71
10. $850 CHALLENGE Z Zangersheide / G / 10 Carthago x Cordelme Z
MARIO APPEL (BRA) SAO PAULO Mario Appel: 0/4/40.09
11. $850 DYNAMO Belgian Warmblood / G / 12 Skippy II x Veritas
MEAGAN NUSZ (USA) HOUSTON, TX Amalya Investments: 0/4/40.48
12. $850 FOR FREEDOM Z Zangersheide / G / 10 For Pleasure x Baloubet de Rouet KEEAN WHITE (CAN) ROCKWOOD, ON Angelstone Partners: 0/4/40.61
Source: Spruce Meadows Media Service