We are back at Caledon Equestrian Park the $86,000 Grand Prix – Caledon Cup Phase 3. The weather is extremely hot and could play a role in the outcome of this class. There are 30 entries coming forward from the first two phases and all will compete.
It needs to be restated that we are so fortunate to have a facility that can host this type of event. We have are really good outdoor grand prix ring that is complemented by an indoor ring on the same grounds.
This event has three phases with the second being held indoors. Phase 2 was held on Friday night in the indoor ring and we witnessed a very good class with a jump off that needed a little tweeking. The starting field today is a very good local group of competitors and should give us an excellent event. We have a mix of good young riders and Olympic veterans. The speed class that was held on Thursday was under national rules and Phase 2 and 3 will be under FEI rules. The class today has prize money of $86,000 and the class on Friday had $35,000. The speed class value was $10,000. Our course designer is Oscar Soberon and has come to us from Dallas TX.
The class today will have one round with a jump off. The class will feature 13 numbered obstacles with 16 efforts. On the course we will see one triple combination, one double combination, one short rail vertical, the pan am railway wall, one regular wall and an OPEN Liverpool. I used caps for the Liverpool because to use the Liverpool in the open form is almost gone from course design. I had a long conversation about this jump a couple of days ago and discussed this disappearance. We decided that most course designers felt that in this form it was too easy to jump clean. It is my opinion that used in the proper context it could be a useful tool in course design. In our walk will we see how it worked out. There is no water (My opinion. There was no reason not to show the water in this important event in the speed class with a pole and open water today). The TA is set at 85 seconds and will not be changed.
There is a decent crowd on hand but it is really hot and some would have stayed at home and not challenged the heat. With my hat on my head and sunglasses in place it is time for the walk of the $86.000 Phase 3 Caledon Cup presented by HEP/Aviva/Edge Mutual.
#1 vertical 1.40m or 4.6ft comes on the right rein and away from the in-gate and was never faulted on the day.
#2 oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.9/5ft comes on the continuing right rein with no given distance and was pushed from the top cups four times.
#3 oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.9/5ft comes on the left rein and at the far end of the ring and created one refusal but no rails.
#4 wall 1.45m or 4.9ft comes on the left bend and one block fell to the ground below.
#5a oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.9/5ft comes from #4 in straight line with a distance of 22m or 72ft. #5a was never faulted and I believe the reason for this was because there was no test with the distance from #4 to #5a. Five strides was there all day.
#5b vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #5a with a distance of 8m or 26.3ft and was also never faulted. The same reason is also that the distance was a little too easy. It is unusual for any combination to be ridden without faults. It is not that I believe that any combination should be more difficult than any other test on the course but I am pointing out that it is unusual in the class today.
#6 oxer 1.45/1.20m or 4.9/3.9ft comes from #5b on the left turn and no given distance and gave us one refusal and four rails were introduced to mother earth.
#7a vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #6 on a full turn right and was never punished on the day.
#7b vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #7a with a distance of 11.20m or 36.6ft and ended the day for two riders.
#7c oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.9/5ft with a distance of 7.90m or 25.9ft from #7b and also received two rejections from the top cups.
#8 triple bar 1.45/1.70m or 4.9/5.6ft comes from #7c on the left rein and no given distance was faulted one time.
#9 OPEN Liverpool 1.45m or 4.9ft comes on the left bending rein with a distance of 27m or 88.6ft. I am happy to say that this was a good test on the day and we saw two refusals and four rails splash down. Used properly this is a good grand prix obstacle.
#10 Pan Am railway wall 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #9 in a straight line with a distance of 14.8m or 48.6ft and here we saw one railway car fall into the valley below.
#11 oxer 1.45/1.50m or 4.9/5ft comes from #10 on the right rein and fell from grace five times.
#12 vertical 1.45m or 4.9ft comes from #11 in a straight line with a distance of 19.10m or 62.6ft and touched down one time.
#13 oxer 1.45/1.60m or 4.9/5.3ft comes from #12 with a bending right rein with a distance of 33.50m or 109ft. This was the last fence in the first round and made sure that four riders did not make the jump off.
The final tally of the first round will give us 13 clean rounds. There was one round of one time fault (the TA was not a serious factor). There were five rounds of four faults and two with eight. The rest were already in the showers. There were no falls and no eliminations but there was one VW. In the indoor jump off class on Friday faults at the verticals were two to one over oxers and today the opposite was the case with oxers two to one over the verticals. What these stats show I am not sure, but I really like them and will continue to use them each walk from now on. The use of the OPEN Liverpool was enlightening and if used in the proper manner maybe we will see a resurgence of this obstacle.
One question is out there and that would be: was the course too soft and was 13 too many clean? In comparison with other walks this year the spreads were definitely a little soft but caused most of the faults today. The TA was fair and not aggressive. My opinion is that the technical aspects of the course were for the most part missing and I say that in regards to the distances in the straight lines and the combinations. I enjoyed this class and was not disappointed with the results. There was a really good jump off and showed me that Oscar saw the shortfall of the jump off on Friday night and greatly improved his work in that regard for the class today. That is the sign of a good young course designer.
One more week at the national level and the outdoor season for us comes to an end. The format for this competition is second to none in this part of Canada and look forward to next year. In signing off, I would like to mention the work of national course designer Tommy Feigel (Ottawa) who was designing in the jumper annex this week and gave us some of the best designs of the year with his use of creative courses and finally some realistic use of time allowed in the lower level classes. We need to see more of Tommy Feigel next year.
Until next week I am Dave Ballard.