Daniel Bluman of Colombia opened international show jumping competition with a win in the $20,000 International Jumper Power and Speed on Tuesday, November 10, at the Royal Horse Show, held as part of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in downtown Toronto, ON.
Show jumping talent representing six nations – Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Ireland, the United States, and New Zealand – arrived in Toronto for five days of fierce international competition. Bluman and Conconcreto Believe, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare (Ukato x Burggraaf) owned by Blue Star Investments, Alberto Simhon and Abraham Chehebar, topped a 19-horse starting field to score the first victory of the week. The pair turned in a time of 32.09 seconds for the win over a track set by British course designer Richard Jeffery.
“The first class of the week is usually a friendly one, but still has a very good purse,” said Bluman, 25. “If you have a horse that is naturally fast, you can let them go a little bit. That was the case with Believe; she is very careful and very, very fast. I saw the people go before me and they weren’t going crazy so I thought I wouldn’t intervene too much. It paid off, and I am happy to start with a win.”
Bluman is competing at the Royal Horse Show for the fourth time, and said, “I love Toronto. This show is a very prestigious indoor event here in North America, and I am always delighted to be invited to take part in the competition.”
Before Bluman clinched the victory, Reed Kessler of the United States had held the lead. She and Charity 33, owned by Kessler Show Stables, would eventually finish second with a time of 33.46 seconds while Ireland’s Conor Swail and Cita, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, took third place in a time of 34.42 seconds. Ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, and the appropriately named Heros took fourth in 34.76 seconds for owners AMMO Investments. Dermott Lennon of Ireland rounded out the top five aboard Fleur IV, owned by Canada’s Rebecca McGoldrick, in 35.24 seconds.
Having already scored one victory, Bluman has his sights set on Wednesday night’s feature event, the $125,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Toronto. The Royal Horse Show® was selected as one of only four Canadian events to be part of the newly formed Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League.
“This is a great new format,” said Bluman of the change. “Before, there were too many World Cup qualifiers, making it difficult for the riders to jump in all of them. I think it’s great to have fewer events with more prize money and bring the level up. You can see that this week; there are only 24 riders here, but if you look at those 24, you have the big guns here. Longines has been a great supporter of equestrian sport and we, as riders, are very thankful for that.”
The Royal Horse Show marks Bluman’s fifth Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League appearance so far this season. His goal is to qualify for the 2016 Longines FEI World Cup™ Final to be held from March 23 to 28 in Gothenburg, Sweden.
“I’m in a qualifying spot, but it’s not over and I need to add more points,” said Bluman. “The idea is to go to World Cup Final this year. I’ve been building a string of horses for a very long time and finally now I have enough to go.”
Bluman plans to ride Conconcreto Believe in Wednesday night’s qualifier, explaining, “The characteristics of this venue fit her well and if the course is what I expect it will be, I think I could get a good ribbon.”
$35,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome
The $35,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome was held Tuesday evening, and saw the final rider of the night come home with the win. Having settled for third earlier in the day, Swail tripped the timers in the fastest time, 58.17 seconds, to take the victory riding Martha Louise for owners Susan and Ariel Grange of Cheltenham, ON. Roberto Teran of Colombia placed second with a time of 59.30 riding Woklahoma for the ARK Partners LLC while Laura Kraut of the United States took third with a considerably slower time of 64.02 riding Andretti S for Stars & Stripes.
$25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby
The $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby, also held Tuesday evening, saw a win for Darcy Hayes riding Say When for owner Danielle Trudell Baran. The pair was awarded the Paddy Ann Burns Trophy in recognition of the achievement.
Erynn Ballard and Valentino Now, owned by MVB Group, accepted the Lorna Jean Guthrie Challenge Trophy, awarded to the high point horse following both the $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby held Monday evening and the $25,000 Knightwood Hunter Derby. Ballard and Valentino Now won Monday night’s $15,000 Braeburn Farms Hunter Derby before placing second in Tuesday’s featured competition.
For more information on the Royal Horse Show, visit www.royalfair.org/horse-show. To purchase Royal Horse Show tickets, visit Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.ca/venueartist/131553/986584.
$20,000 International Jumper Power and Speed
1. Daniel Bluman, Conconcreto Believe (COL) 32.09
2. Reed Kessler, Charity 33 (USA) 33.46
3. Conor Swail, Cita (IRL) 34.42
4. Ian Millar, Heros (CAN) 34.76
5. Dermott Lennon, Fleur IV (IRL) 35.24
6. Leslie Howard, Backstory (USA) 35.88
7. Beezie Madden, Breitling LS (USA) 37.57
8. Mac Cone, Gasper van den Doorn (CAN) 37.94
9. Laura Kraut, Deauville S (USA) 38.85
10. Lisa Carlsen, Parette (CAN) 39.52
$35,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome
1. Conor Swail, Martha Louise (IRL) 0/58.17
2. Roberto Teran, Woklahoma (COL) 0/59.30
3. Laura Kraut, Andretti S (USA) 0/64.02
4. Reed Kessler, Cylana (USA) 0/65.46
5. Jonathon Millar, Baranus (CAN) 0/67.34
6. Charlie Jacobs, Cassinja S (USA) 0/71.43
7. Leslie Howard, Gentille van Spieveld (USA) 0/72.46
8. Erynn Ballard, Appy Cara (CAN) 0/73.32
9. Callan Solem, DL Wizard (USA) 0/75.61
10. Sharn Wordley, Barnetta (NZL) 1/78.87