If there was a rider to watch in Thursday’s $30,000 CI Assante Wealth Management Open Welcome at Ottawa Summer Tournament 2, it was Hyde Moffatt (CAN). The Ontario-based rider brought forward five mounts in the class, placing the odds squarely in his favor.
While just one of his mounts would qualify for the jump-off, ultimately, that’s all he would need.
Moffatt took an impressive win aboard Grafton, Ariel Grange’s 15-year-old Selle Francais stallion, with whom Moffatt has been partnered for the last three years. The chestnut showed off his quality over Joey Rycroft’s (CAN) course, and in a three-horse jump-off, the pair secured a comfortable victory. The winning time was 39.67 seconds; Ali Ramsay (CAN) and Bonita vh Keizershof Z finished second (41.84 seconds), with Christine Wiggins (CAN) and Cabaliero 2 third (45.45). All three combinations produced double-clear efforts on the day.
“Knowing [Grafton] as well as I do, it certainly makes thing easier,” Moffatt said. “He feels so comfortable on the grass. He’s a grass-loving horse, and he’s always liked this venue.”
Rycroft’s first round track provided a stiff test for riders. Ramsay executed the first clear round, more than halfway through the 22-strong lineup. When Moffatt and Grafton replicated the feat, it was undoubtedly the smoothest looking performance. That remained Moffatt’s goal in the jump-off. Never breaking rhythm, the duo left out two strides up the first line of the shortened course and never looked back.
“[Grafton] jumps best at speed when ridden smoothly,” he said. “I was just trying to maintain the canter and be as smooth as possible. He’s not one that enjoys a rough or broken-up ride. I try to be as smooth as possible, and it all just showed up.”
Ottawa Summer Tournaments marked Moffatt’s first competition in Canada following a winter stint in Wellington, FL, for the Winter Equestrian Festival. He plans to return to the U.S. to compete in Saugerties, NY, after Ottawa’s events conclude, before looking toward the Spruce Meadows circuit in Calgary. Like Ottawa, Spruce’s competition will be held on grass.
“[Wesley Clover Parks] is such a fantastic venue. The management goes out of their way to make it a pleasure to come to Ottawa, and it’s a favorite stop on our tour,” Moffatt said. “There are so few opportunities to jump on the grass. Without quality horse shows like this, there’s not much of a sport.”
Moffatt also sang the praises of his horse.
“He is possibly the world’s great horse when it comes to his character,” he said. “He’s a stallion, but you’d never know it. He’s so kind, and he’s never intentionally put a foot wrong. I have the great pleasure of riding him. He’s right up there with the nicest horses I’ve ever worked with.”
The second week of the Ottawa Summer Tournaments concludes Sunday with the $75,000 RBC Grand Prix. Watch it on HN LIVE! and Horse Network Facebook Live at 4pm ET, brought to you by Terlin Construction.