Steve Guerdat (SUI) hoist the champions trophy with Lorenzo DeCicco, Vice President, TELUS Business Solutions.
Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren’s Happiness were the first winners of the week in Calgary, opening Wednesday’s competition with a victory in the Telus Cup 1.50m jump-off. For Guerdat’s first-ever victory in Spruce Meadows’ famed International Ring, the rider topped an eight-horse jump-off out of 74 first round starters.
With six double clear over the short course, USA’s Hardin Towell and Jennifer Gates’ SF Ariantha set the pace in 36.86 seconds to eventually finish third. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Chacco Kid followed with a very fast time of 36.75 seconds, but settled for second place. Cian O’Connor (IRL) and Callisto jumped into fourth place with a time of 37.28 seconds. Patricio Pasquel (MEX) followed with the sixth place time of 38.24 seconds aboard Candela. Nigel Coupe (GBR) then secured fifth place honors with his time of 38.16 seconds riding Jubilee III. Last to go, Steve Guerdat and Albfuehren’s Happiness stole the lead with a time of 35.71 seconds.
Happiness, a 10-year-old Danish Warmblood mare (Heartbeat x Lambrusco ASK) owned by Hofgut Albführen GmbH, began with Guerdat as an eight-year-old in 2014 and has become very competitive this year.
“I have built her up slowly,” Guerdat explained. “She did not have so much experience when she came to me as an eight-year-old. Then as a nine-year-old I tried to step her up because she had to learn the job and this year she has been good. She has won some 2* and 3* grand prixs and placed in some 1.50m competitions. That is a good height for her – bigger is more difficult for her – but at 1.50m she is very competitive and very fast. She can go fast every day.”
Speaking of Wednesday’s competition, Guerdat noted, “It was a nice course. We had so many starters, so just eight coming back was quite good. Then I was last to go (in the jump-off), which is always the best spot. I knew, more or less, what I had to do and she is always a very naturally fast horse. There were not many places where you could leave strides out, so it was actually a perfect jump-off for her, and I did not have to really rush anything. She is so fast off the ground that it was just enough to beat Eric.”
As the 2012 Olympic champion and back-to-back FEI World Cup Finals winner (2015 and 2016), among many other accolades, Wednesday’s victory was Guerdat’s first at Spruce Meadows.
“Most of the time I had two horses here – one for the Nations’ Cup and one for the Grand Prix – so I was always saving them through the week to be successful in those two main classes,” Guerdat explained. “Those first two or three days were always quite long because I never really had a horse to play the game. This year was different. I just had one first horse to bring that is going to do the Nations’ Cup and the Grand Prix, so I brought another one that was competitive for the other classes.
“This is one of my favorite venues,” Guerdat added. “I love to show here because of this ring, because of its fences, and because of its courses. It is quite tough here because we are not used to jumping fences like this and it always takes a few days to get in the rhythm. This is one date that I do not want to miss for anything. Every year, Calgary is one of the big yellow marks on my calendar of the most important places to go. I want to be good here every year and I am trying to achieve my goal.”
Final Results: Telus Cup 1.50m
1 ALBFUEHREN’S HAPPINESS Danish Warmblood / M / 10 / Heartbeat x Lambrusco ASK
STEVE GUERDAT (SUI) Hofgut Albuefuhren Gmbh: 0/0/35.71
2 CHACCO KID Oldenburg / G / 10 / Chacco Blue x Come On
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN) Chacco Kid Group: 0/0/36.75
3 SF ARIANTHA Dutch Warmblood / M / 11 / Corland x Emillion
JACK HARDIN TOWELL JR. (USA) JKG LLC: 0/0/36.86
4 CALLISTO Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 / Quasimodo Z x Jekmal de Bernival
CIAN O CONNOR (IRL) Ian O Grady, Philippe de Balander & Ronnoco Jump: 0/0/37.28
5 JUBILEE III / M / 12 / Wolken Tanz II x Wanduss
NIGEL COUPE (GBR) John O Halloran: 0/0/38.16
6 CANDELA Oldenburg / M / 11 / Cornet Obolensky x Dinard L
PATRICIO PASQUEL (MEX) Patricio Pasquel: 0/0/38.24
7 FINE STAR VANT ASSCHAUT Mexican Sport Horse / G / 11 / Nonstop x Feinschmitt ivd Richter ALEJANDRO MILLS (MEX) Armando Acevedo: 0/4/38.71
8 LACAN 2 Oldenburg / S / 13 / Lando x Contender
PATRICK STUHLMEYER (GER) Bernfried Erdmann: 0/5/42.10
9 BELLINDA Dutch Warmblood / M / 10 / Namelus R x Hors La Loi II
KARA CHAD (CAN) Stone Ridge: 1/68.38
10 OHM DE PONTHUAL Selle Francais / S / 14 / Voltaire x Calypso D Herbiers
JEROME HUREL (FRA) S.A.R.L. AR Tropig: 1/68.56
11 COCQ A DOODLE Dutch Warmblood / M / 9 / Nolan R x Niagra
ANDREW RAMSAY (USA) The Doodle Group: 1/69.05
12 HEROS Belgian Warmblood / G / 9 / Canadian River x Clinton I
AMY MILLAR (CAN) Ammo Investments: 1/69.12
Text and Photos by Spruce Meadows Media Services