Kelly Soleau-Millar of Wellington, FL, won the $7,500 Lynn Millar Memorial Speed Derby held Saturday, July 15, at the Ottawa National Horse Show at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.
In a race against the clock, Soleau-Millar and her mount, Hoolie Hoo, left all the rails in place over the course set on Wesley Clover Parks’ grass grand prix field and stopped the clock in the winning time of 63.61 seconds.
The early time to beat had been set by Montreal’s Camille Ostiguy Duplain, who had won Thursday’s 1.25m Open Jumper speed competition with the same mount, Run Forrest Run. As only the second rider to tackle the speed track set by 2016 Rio Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge, Ostiguy Duplain crossed the timers in 61.08 seconds but, with a four-second penalty added for one rail down, finished with a total time of 65.08 seconds. Her time would hold up for a second-place finish.
Finishing a close third was local competitor Lauren Hunkin of Ashton, ON, riding Victoria, owned by Brookstreet Stables. The pair jumped clear and crossed the timers in a time of 65.12 seconds to finish just behind Ostiguy Duplain.
The win belonged to Soleau-Millar, who is based out of Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, ON, during the summer season and her mount, Hollie Hoo.
“Hoolie’s in it to win it, that’s for sure!” said Soleau-Millar. “She goes in that ring and when they set the tone off to start, you better be holding on because she just wants to go! You steer and tell her where to go, and she will do everything possible to keep the jumps up. She’s quite amazing that way.”
Soleau-Millar and Hoolie Hoo arrived at the Ottawa Horse Show fresh off an impressive winning-streak during the four-week Spruce Meadows Summer Series in Calgary, AB, where the pair won all seven of the classes they contested together.
“Hoolie Hoo actually just got back from Calgary and came in specifically for the class today,” said Soleau-Millar of the 13-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood mare owned by C.F. Farms. “We were really excited with how she did! Now she’ll go home for a couple of days to rest and be back for next week’s Ottawa International Horse Show.”
Making the win extra-special for Soleau-Millar was the competition’s significance to the Millar family. It is held in honour of the late Lynn Millar, wife of ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar, who played a pivotal role in the family’s Millar Brooke Farm operation.
“It’s really special,” said Soleau-Millar, who is married to Lynn and Ian’s son, Jonathon Millar. “Amy (Millar) asked me just a few days ago if I wanted to ride Hoolie in it. I was beyond thrilled to have the opportunity. It is a really, really special win, especially given that it’s held in her honour.”
Jonathon Millar and his sister, 2016 Rio Olympian Amy Millar, presented Soleau-Millar with the win, joined by Amber Marshall, star of the CBC’s Heartland, who is making a special guest appearance at Wesley Clover Parks this weekend.
Earlier in the afternoon, the $2,500 Royal LePage Team Realty Canine Equine Relay saw horse and rider combinations negotiate a show jumping course before their canine partners tackled their own agility course, with the fastest combined time winning. Saturday’s winning time of 79.22 seconds was turned in by Jacqueline Steffens of Harriston, ON, riding Egor, paired with Ember, a seven-year-old Labrador Retriever. Finishing a close second with a time of 79.77 seconds was Miranda Travers-Cavill of Claremont, ON, riding Carla, who was paired with Tuula, a six-year-old Belgian Shepherd. Natasha Begin Fry and Evening Rose placed third with a time of 82.78 seconds paired with Ben, an 11-year-old Border Collie.
Competition at the Ottawa National Horse Show culminates on Sunday, July 16, with the $50,000 Brookstreet Hotel Grand Prix beginning at 2:30 p.m. Amber Marshall will emcee the competition from horseback, making it a great afternoon of family fun.
‘Celebration of the Horse’ activities also take place on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering a kids’ zone with bouncy castles and slides, face painting, balloon and glitter artists, children’s jumps, demonstrations, and more.
$7,500 1.25m Speed Derby
1. Kelly Soleau-Millar, Hoolie Hoo 0-63.61
2. Camille Ostiguy Duplain, Run Forrest Run 4-65.08
3. Lauren Hunkin, Victoria 0-65.12
4. Miranda Travers-Cavill, Wildcat 4-69.50
5. Sam Pegg, Coco Beach Z 4-69.61
6. Alexandre Gonzalez, Allegria 4-70.94
7. Ian Roberts, Cnoc 0-70.96
8. Claire Harves, Vivaldi de Valette 4-71.08
9. Jamie Souccar-Young, Sherif du Tillard 4-71.28
10. Francois Soucy, Tronador du Roy 4-72.27
$2,500 Canine Equine Relay
1. Jacqueline Steffens, Egor 79.22
2. Miranda Travers-Cavill, Carla 79.77
3. Natasha Fry Begin, Evening Rose 82.78
4. Carly Campbell-Cooper, Klaas Klever 88.22
5. Rayne Dubois, Nikolai 96.98
6. Olivia Minicucci, Arian P 98.45
7. Nicole Verkindt, Free and Clear 101.03
8. Chloe Parker, Sedona 102.27
9. Natalie Laschewski, G Korette 103.06
10. Jason Lauzon Couvillon, I Am Legend 111.98