The Masters tournament at Spruce Meadows always attracts show jumpings top talent. But this year? This year the start list is straight up bananas.
Some nine of the world’s top ten riders made the trip to Calgary, Alberta to contest the CSIO5* event. That’s Kent Farrington (USA), Lorenzo De Luca (ITL), McLain Ward (USA), Kevin Staut (FRA), Scott Brash (GBR), Christian Ahlmann (GER), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), Gregory Wathelet (BEL) and Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP) if you’re not keep track.
Joining them for the second leg of the Grand Slam series are Olympic champions Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Eric Lamaze (CAN); living legend Ian Millar (CAN); Olympians Beezie Madden (USA), Luciana Diniz (POR), Lauren Hough (USA) and Puis Schwizer (SUI); European bronze medalist Cian O’Connor (IRL); Grand Slam contender Pedro Veniss (BRA); PLUS, Philipp Weishaupt (GER), Marco Kutshcher (GER), Conor Swail (IRL), Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and some 40 odd more international riders.
It’s a veritable who’s who of show jumping. Which means Sunday’s CP International Grand Prix is going to be an all. out. brawl.
Just qualifying is a feat. Only 50 horse and rider pairs will earn the right to contest in the CDN$3 Million class. Yesterday, world number one Kent Farrington scratched the task off his to do list with a victory in the Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.60m class.
Of the 37 starters, Farrington (USA) piloted Gazelle to victory over 22-year-old Lillie Keenan and third place finisher, Switzerland’s Puis Schwizer, who also sealed their qualification for Sunday’s Grand Prix.
“It was nice to get the qualification out of the way to now focus on the next one,” said Farrington.
Today is the final chance to qualify for the CP Grand Prix. Tune in to CBC today at 2pm PT for the BMO Nations Cup!