Canada clinched their second victory in a row in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Jumping 2014 series after a thrilling head-to-head with the USA at Coapexpan, Mexico on Saturday.
Just four teams lined out in the second of the three qualifiers in the North America, Central America and Caribbean League, and the Canadians won through in a two-way jump-off against the clock against their old rivals. Having also topped the opening leg in Wellington, Florida (USA) in March the Canadians are now in a very strong position going into the third and final qualifer on home turf at Spruce Meadows in Calgary (CAN), next month.
Saturday’s competition came down to a real clash of champions, the USA’s Beezie Madden pitted against the legendary Ian Millar who has long been known as Captain Canada. And, going last in the third and final round, ten-time Olympian, Millar, opted for a careful clear after Madden faulted. Millar is as super-cool as he has ever been, and at 67 years of age is almost 50 years older than the other Canadian team member who helped seal victory with a double-clear performance. For 18-year-old Kara Chad it was a career-defining day as she stepped up to senior Nations Cup level for the very first time, and did it in style.
The winning Canadian side also included Ian Millar’s son, Jonathon, while Chris Sorensen was pathfinder for the side.
The Mexico 1 team finished third ahead of Mexico 2 in fourth place.
The thrilling competition was all the more remarkable for the fact that it might not have happened at all following an earthquake on Friday that was quickly followed by hurricane-force winds and rain, ripping the roof off parts of the stadium and corporate hospitality areas, and drenching the arena.
The North America, Central America and Caribbean League series now moves on to one final clash in Calgary in five weeks time and that promises to be another thriller as just 20 points separate the leading Canadians from the USA in second place while Mexico lies just 20 points further adrift.
1. Canada 5/0 0/41.96 in third-round jump-off : Bobby (Chris Sorensen) 5/4, Calvin Klein (Jonathon Millar) 5/4, Alberto ll (Kara Chad) 0/0, Star Power (Ian Millar) 0/0/ 0/41.96.
2. USA 5/0/ 4/33.40 in third-round jump-off : Special Lux (Jonathan McCrea) 4/0, Ramses (Sarah Segal) 0/0, Zerly (Christine Tribble McCrea) 1/8, coral Reef Via Volo (Beezie Madden) 4/0 4/33.40.
3. Mexico 1 : Pekin St Denis (Lorenza O’Farrill) 4/5, Jumex Sport Archimdes (Sofia Larrea) 1/4, Wick (Manuel Rodriguez) 1/9, Anton (Jaime Axcarraga) 19/1.
4. Mexico 2 : Candela (Patricio Pasquel) 9/25, Quin Chin (Juan Carlos Franco Hernandez) 0/4, Caressini L (Luis Alejandro Plascencia) 8/4, Siterma (Hector Caro) 8/0.