Stylish Win for Canada’s Ian Millar in $75,000 Suncast Grand Prix
WELLINGTON, FL, March 23 -
Canada’s Ian Millar rode In Style to victory in the $75,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI2* held Sunday, March 23, to conclude the CSI2* Suncast Corporation, presented by Equestrian Club by Tavern on the Green, of the CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center.
A rain delay interrupted the grand prix competition for approximately 45 minutes but that did not stop 13 riders in total from jumping clear. Six of those clear rounds were posted before heavy rains forced a halt in competition while another seven were delivered once the competition resumed. Unfortunately, two additional challengers, Canadians Ainsley Vince riding Cantero Z and Angela Covert-Lawrence riding Unica, left all the rails in place but incurred one time fault each for exceeding the 92-second time allowed. A total of 35 horse-rider combinations contested the track set by course designer Richard Jeffery of Great Britain.
With the jump-off underway, Great Britain’s Ben Maher was the first to post a double clear in a time of 37.25 seconds to move into the early lead with Rolette. Michael Walton followed and guided La Rocca Jun. to a clear, but the pair’s time of 39.64 seconds was not fast enough to catch the leader. Carolyn Kelly of New York, N.Y., and Rulanda were quick around the course and, with a time of 36.63 seconds, moved to the top of the leader board.
Eight-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar entered the International Arena to cheers from the appreciative crowd. They were even louder when, seven obstacles later, all the rails remained in place and the scoreboard flashed a time of 35.37 seconds. Four challengers remained. Schuyler Riley and Lapacco had a rail down before Beezie Madden guided Onlight to a clear, but in a conservative time of 39.87 seconds. Next in was Amy Millar, Ian’s 31-year-old daughter. She caught a rail with the grey mare, Costa Rica, to put her out of contention. When a rail fell early on for the final entry of Amy Momrow and Summer Storm, victory belonged to Millar of Perth, Ontario, Canada, and In Style, a 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding owned by Canada’s Susan Grange and Lothlorien Farm.
“I knew the horse that had taken the lead, and the young lady at the controls knows no fear. If I had to do it again, I don’t know that I could have shaved any more off my time,” noted Millar, 61, of his jump-off strategy to catch Kelly, who finished as the runner-up.
Asked if he expected that more than one-third of the entries would jump clear to advance to the jump-off, Millar noted, “I thought it was a little on the straightforward side. The course designer was restricted on the height, but he could have been more technical, and he could have dialed down the time allowed. It was a little too inviting, shall we say, and it invited a lot to the jump-off.”
Millar had nothing but praise for the work that has been done in the International Arena, saying, “All the horses and riders give great thanks to the organizing committee for putting in this footing. Without it, we wouldn’t be jumping today. Instead, we could have top sport due to the nature of this ground.”
Week 11 of the 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival, presented by Zimmerman Advertising, opens on Wednesday, March 26. The Penta Water Company, Inc., presented by Palm Beach Toyota, will feature Saturday night’s $75,000 Penta Water Grand Prix. It will also be the final event to decide the $200,000 FTI Rider Challenge which is currently a close race between last year’s winner, Eric Lamaze, and Beezie Madden.
Results of $75,000 Suncast Grand Prix CSI2*
1. 6238 IN
STYLE IAN MILLAR 0:0 35.37 SUSAN GRANGE & LOTHLORIEN
The 2008 CN Winter Equestrian Festival attracts the best horses and riders from around the world to Wellington and offers more than $5 million in prize money. For more information, visit www.equestriansport.com