Justin Prather of Calgary, AB, finished one-two in the $7,500 Lynn Millar Memorial Speed Derby held Friday, July 15, at the Ottawa National Horse Show running at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.
Speed was the name of the game and Prather proved to be the master of faster, taking the win with Beau Soleil and also finishing second riding Bolero HX. Of the 26 entries to attempt the challenging derby track set by 1976 Olympic silver medalist Michel Vaillancourt, Prather was only the fourth rider on course when he produced what would prove to be the winning round in a time of 81 seconds flat with Beau Soleil, a 15-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare. When he returned to the expansive grass jumping field with Bolero HX, a ten-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, he was trying to catch his own leading time, but crossed the timers in 83.31 seconds to take second. Both of Prather’s horses are owned by Bradon Equestrian Ltd.
Thursday’s $20,000 Open Welcome winner Francois Lamontagne of Saint-Eustache, QC, gave it his best effort riding the seven-year-old Vigo Massuere to place third in a time of 83.64 seconds. With a time of 84.82 seconds, Julia Madigan of Vancouver, BC, took fourth place riding Farfelu du Printemps, the horse that Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, ON, rode to the 2015 Canadian Show Jumping Championship title. Rounding out the top five was Sadie Leon of Mississauga, ON, who guided Camilla around the course in a quick time of 85.41 seconds.
“I really like the speed derbies,” said Prather, 22, noting that Beau Soleil is speed derby specialist. The pair has been competing together for four years since being paired by Prather’s trainer, 2008 Olympic team silver medalist Henselwood.
“She’s been my go-to horse,” said Prather of Beau Soleil. “I jumped my first grand prix with her, I jumped my first FEI class, and I won my first grand prix. She’s been that horse for me.”
Wesley Clover Parks has one of the few grass jumping fields in all of Canada, including natural obstacles such as the bank, open water and the dreaded devil’s dyke, making it ideal for speed derby competition.
“It’s a really good grand prix field,” said Prather of the Wesley Clover Parks facilities. “Especially now with all that they’ve changed here, it’s a really great place to be.”
Held in memory of Lynn Millar, the wife of ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar who passed in 2008, the $7,500 Speed Derby is especially meaningful to the Ottawa equestrian community. Prather was presented with his first and second place ribbons by Jonathon Millar, the son of Lynn Millar, and his wife, Kelly Soleau-Millar.
Competition at the Ottawa National Horse Show continues on Saturday, July 15. Highlights include the Canine Equine Relay at 12 noon and the $50,000 Brookstreet Hotel Grand Prix at 2:30 p.m. The week’s events conclude on Sunday afternoon with the $10,000 Canadian Hunter Derby, sponsored by Topline Trailers, at 2 p.m.
Show jumping competition at Wesley Clover Parks continues with the CSI2* Ottawa International Horse Show from July 20 through Sunday, July 24.
To find out more about the Ottawa National and CSI2* Ottawa International Horse Shows, please click here, or follow Wesley Clover Parks on Facebook here. Everyone is encouraged to share their Wesley Clover Parks experiences using #TheParks.
$7,500 Lynn Millar Memorial Speed Derby – Friday, July 15
1. Justin Prather/Calgary, AB/Beau Soleil/81.00
2. Justin Prather/Calgary, AB/Bolero HX/83.31
3. Francois Lamontagne/Saint-Eustache, QC/Vigo Massuere/83.64
4. Julia Madigan/Vancouver, BC/Farfelu du Printemps/84.82
5. Sadie Leon/Mississauga, ON/Camilla/85.41
6. Hugh Graham/Schomberg, ON/In The Money 3E/87.04
7. Melissa Orlick-Zbierski/Wellington, FL/Viekie/87.61
8. Laurie Bucci/Saint-Jean, QC/Glimmer Man/89.02
9. Caroline Thibault/Boucherville, QC/Nature des Pierres/90.70
10. Sabrina Lefebvre/Quebec, QC/Weddingday/91.11