Hugh Graham of Schomberg, ON, played the starring role on Friday night at the Caledon Equestrian Park, winning the $35,000 Caledon Cup – Phase Two at the CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament running September 20 to 24 in Caledon, ON.
Graham, 68, was one of eight riders to successfully negotiate Mexican course designer Oscar Soberon’s first-round track for the $35,000 Caledon Cup – Phase Two, presented by HEP, Aviva Insurance, and Edge Mutual Insurance, and set in the Caledon Equestrian Park’s expansive indoor arena. Kelly Soleau-Millar of the United States also produced a clear round riding Donna Vanderwoude-Dyment’s Cacharel, but one time fault for exceeding the 78-second time allowed kept her out of the jump-off.
Soleau-Millar’s sister-in-law, Amy Millar, 40, of Perth, ON, was the first to return for the tie-breaking round with her 2016 Rio Olympic mount, Heros. Having won both the $35,000 CSI2* Open Welcome and the $50,000 CSI2* Grand Prix one month earlier during the CSI2* Caledon Premier II show jumping tournament, Millar and the ten-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Canadian River x Clinton) owned by AMMO Investments were favoured for another victory. The pair opened the jump-off with a clear round in a time of 42.80 seconds, laying down the gauntlet for those who followed.
Three rides later, Graham entered the ring with Knock Out 3E, an 11-year-old Canadian Sport Horse gelding (Jamestown x Class Action) owned and bred by King Ridge Stables of King, ON. True to form, Graham took every risk and galloped down to the final oxer as the crowd cheered him on, sailing over and stopping the timers in 41.59 seconds to move into the lead.
As the last rider to challenge the jump-off, it was up to ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, 70, of Perth, ON, to determine the final placings. Riding his veteran partner Dixson, a 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding (Vigo d’Arsouilles x Olisco) owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, Millar pulled out all the stops in an effort to claim the win, but crossed the timers in 42.89 seconds for a third-place finish. Victory went to Graham, while Amy Millar finished as the runner-up.
Graham, a veteran of Olympic, World Championship, and Pan American Games competition, described his jump-off performance by saying, “I just put him belly to the ground, and didn’t leave much room tonight. It was vintage Hugh Graham!
“I had told the course designer that I didn’t like the track because it was too much running but if I won it, I would change my mind!” laughed Graham, 68, who was inducted into the Jump Canada Hall of Fame in 2016. “My horse has a big stride and can cover the ground. He’s had a bunch of second and third place finishes recently and was due for a win.”
Speaking of his mount, Knock Out 3E, Graham noted, “He’s been coming along, getting better and better. He won the seven and eight-year-old championship when he was eight, and he kept developing and kept showing a lot of scope and confidence. I think he likes his job as much as I like him!”
Graham is now in contention to claim the Caledon Cup when the third and final phase, the $86,000 CSI2* Grand Prix, is held on Sunday, September 24, beginning at 2 p.m. Graham has hoisted the Caledon Cup once in his career, in 2009 when he won with Executive Privilege 3E.
The opening phase of competition in the Caledon Cup, held Thursday, September 21, was won by 22-year-old show jumping sensation Daniel Coyle of Ireland. Held as a speed class which saw the fastest round win, the $10,000 Caledon Cup – Phase One attracted a total of 32 entries. Coyle was fourth in the order and turned in a blistering fast round in a time of 67.85 riding Martha Louise, a 13-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare (Maloubet de Pleville x Wolfgang), that would prove to be unbeatable. Ian Millar would come the closest to catching him, clocking in at 69.65 seconds to give owners Susan and Ariel Grange, who also own Martha Louise, a one-two finish. Francois Lamontagne, 33, of St. Eustache, QC, was the only other rider in the 32-horse starting field to break the 70-second barrier, clocking in at 69.86 for third place with Chanel du Calvaire, his nine-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Luccianno x Kashmir van Schuttershof).
The CSI2* Canadian Show Jumping Tournament is the fourth and final FEI-sanctioned competition hosted by Equestrian Management Group (EMG) at the Caledon Equestrian Park for the 2017 season. Be sure to catch all the action from the grand prix ring on Sunday, September 24, on Horse Sport LIVE.
For more information, including full results and competition schedule, as well as other events, please visit www.caledonequestrianpark.com.
$10,000 Caledon Cup – Phase One, Presented by Equestrian Management Group
1. Daniel Coyle, Ireland/Martha Louise 0-67.85
2. Ian Millar, Perth, ON/Dixson 0-69.65
3. Francois Lamontagne, St. Eustache, QC/Chanel du Calvaire 0-69.86
4. Beth Underhill , Schomberg, ON/Count Me In 0-71.02
5. Isabelle Lapierre , Breakeyville, QC/Cescha M 0 -71.76
$35,000 CSI2* Caledon Cup – Phase Two
Presented by HEP, Aviva Insurance, and Edge Mutual Insurance
1. Hugh Graham, Schomberg, ON /Knock Out 3E 0:0-41.59
2. Amy Millar, Perth, ON/Heros 0:0-42.80
3. Ian Millar , Perth, ON /Dixson 0:0-42.89
4. Ali Ramsay, Victoria, BC/Hermelien VD Hooghoeve 0:0-44.14
5. Laurie Bucci, Carignan, QC/Glimmer Man 0:0-44.15