Scott Brash Negotiates a Million Dollar Ride In CP International
Spruce Masters Ends with Million Dollar Victory B(
A number of records were set this week at the 41 year old Spruce Meadows "Masters," which began on September 7th and culminated on Sunday, September 12th.
One of those records was set on the final Sunday, when the CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex set a record prize money, never heard of anywhere in the world. While it had been boasted all week that the class would total $2 million, in fact, on the final day the CP International Grand Prix ended up being a $3 million class, with the first million going to a very surprised Scott Brash riding Ursula XII.
The decision to up the ante for the winner was decided just that day and when Brash received that check he was as surprised as was the audience to see him hold up a check that clearly spelled out $100,000,000.
Scott Brash riding Ursula XII
That victory was a fight to the finish, with only four riders going clear out of the first round of 38 riders. A triple combination by the ingate which included two liverpool water jumps caught many of the riders, eliminating them from being able to be among the top 12 who went on to negotiate round two.
In that second round, only two riders went clear and so for the third time in the history of this show there was a jump-off to determine the final winner. When HH Azur knocked down a rail and Ursula was clear, that put British rider Brash ahead of Rio Olympic Team silver medalist, and two-time Olympic gold team medalist McLain Ward (USA) in second place.
"I was happy with her. She's still learning and that was the only fence she dropped," said a proud Ward. His teammate in Rio, Kent Farrington, rode Voyeur to a fourth place finish. In third was Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca aboard Ensor De Litrange LXII.
McLain Ward and Lorenzo De Luca
There was some debate over whether the course was too difficult for the horses and riders but Ward quickly voiced his opinion that riders know when going into this competition that the course will be tough. "There are too many classes finishing with 12-14 riders in the jump-off and that's not good," Ward commented.
In fact, knowing a class has a payoff of $3 million is an enticement for riders to enter who probably are not truly up to the challenge and by competing in a class of this caliber they learn what it takes to make the final cut.
The real evidence was that the right riders rose to the top, beginning with Brash who last year won the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping when he cleared the final jump at Spruce Meadows. In order to achieve this, the same rider must win three of the top grand prix in the world at Geneva, Aachen, and Calgary in any order but consecutively. His win this year was only the second time in the history of the show that a rider won the class two years in a row.
When asked if he thought he could do the Rolex Grand Slam again, Brash commented, "I'm realistic." In fact, it will probably be a long time before another rider is able to achieve that honor.
While the final day was cold and rainy, the competition kept the crowd engaged and cheering whenever a rider negotiated that one tough liverpool line clear. And it didn't matter if they dropped other fences around the course. If they managed to get through that one line, as far as the spectators were concerned, they rose to the top of the class.
Spruce Meadows ended the class with the salute to this year's horses and riders and welcomed them back next year when the "Masters" will take place on September 6-10.
For more about the Spruce Meadows "Masters," visit their website at www.SpruceMeadows.com.
Kent Farrington and Scott Brash
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