Nick_Skelton_and_Arko.JPGCalgary, AB – Two grueling rounds of competition, a master course designer and $1 million in prize money, all describe today’s CN International Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows.  It was an exciting day of sport with 39 of the world’s best horse/rider combinations competing for the ultimate prize in show jumping.

British veteran rider Nick Skelton was able to navigate Leopoldo Palacios’ (VEN) courses with only one time fault over two rounds.  The three time CN International winner Nick Skelton (GBR) and his great stallion Arko III landed atop the leader board to earn an unprecedented fourth CN International Grand Prix championship.

It wasn’t meant to be for Canada’s Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Lamaze as heart break could be heard across the stands after he had a rail on the last fence.  Settling with a fifth place finish Lamaze remained positive, “Yeah, it hurts a little bit but I’m so thrilled with the last month.  I guess we just ran out of luck,” said Lamaze.  The loss cost Lamaze a total of $775,000 in bonus money he would have earned by winning a third leg of the CN Precision Series.

It was meant to be Skelton’s day, riding a horse he credits with the return of his career, “This is the greatest CN International for me.  I think Arko has always been a special horse for me,” said Skelton after his win.  The champion noted that this would likely be the last year for Arko III who is fourteen.  “This is the last year you’ll see him here, which is a pity because he’s jumping better than ever,” commented the champion.

CN International top 10 of 39 entries –

1-  Nick Skelton – GBR – Arko III

2- Jos Lansink – BEL – Cavalor Cumano

3- Richard Spooner – USA – Cristallo

4- Jaime Azcarraga – MEX – Presley Boy

5- Eric Lamaze – CAN – Hickstead

6- Tim Gredley – GBR – Omelli

7- Roger-Yves Bost – FRA – Ideal de la Loge

8- Todd Minikus – USA – Pavarotti

9 – Ben Maher – GBR – Robin Hood W

10 – Cian O’Connor – IRL – Rancorrado