Langley, British Columbia – May 31, 2019 – Patricio Pasquel (MEX) and Babel continued to add to their legacy Friday afternoon at Thunderbird Show Park, topping the $235,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI 5* during the Odlum Brown BC Open in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
Pasquel, who bred Babel at his ranch in Mexico, has brought the 12-year-old chestnut Mexican Sport Horse gelding (Billy du Lys x High Flier) up through the ranks and has his sights set firmly on the upcoming Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. He’s coming into the event in fine form, topping a nine-horse jump-off in Langley. The experienced pair crossed the finish timers of Peter Holmes’ (CAN) shortened 1.60m course in 36.67 seconds.
Teammate Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) finished second with Armani SL Z on a time of 37.31 seconds, while Nikolaj Hein Ruus (DEN) and brand new mount Cadillac finished third with a 41.13-second time.
“He was born in the house!” Pasquel exclaimed. “He’s been champion all over the ranks, and this is his second five-star grand prix win. He’s won already on several Nations Cup [teams]. I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Pasquel stuck to his plan after an eventful start to the jump-off. First to return, Lucy Deslauriers (USA) had an uncharacteristic fall from Hester in the double (with both recovering safely), while Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) and Carquilot pulled four rails for a 16-fault score.
Third to return, Rodrigo Lambre (BRA) had just the final rail. It was Mexico’s Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) who put the first clear on the board, and from there the jump-off sped up, as the lead quickly changed hands from Hein Ruus to Garza Perez. The penultimate pair to contest the short course, Pasquel and Babel put up a time that simply couldn’t be caught, the strength of their long-standing partnership fully on display.
“It’s always an advantage to go at the end, but I had my plan, and I knew my horse is very fast,” Pasquel said. “If I just did my job, I knew we could be right up there, and I was fortunate enough to win.”
Eugenio Garza Perez (MEX) moved up one position after finishing third in the 2018 event, also with Armani SL Z. He was proud to have his horse back in top form after a short time off.
“I’m very happy with the result and happy with my horse,” Garza Perez said. “I love tbird. It feels like home. It’s one of those horse shows where, when the year starts, you pencil it in before any other show. The atmosphere and the people are top notch.”
Hein Ruus (DEN) might have been the most jubilant of the podium, fist pumping after each of his clear rounds. The Danish rider has only been working with Cadillac, the youngest horse in the jump-off at just 9 years old, for a few months after recently taking a job as a stable rider for Spruce Meadows.
Patricio Pasquel (CAN) & Babel during the awards ceremony
“He’s an amazing horse,” he said. “He hasn’t done many big classes. He did his first 1.40m in March. Every show lately has been a first for him and with me. He’s super intelligent, and every time I put a task in front of him, he executes.
“To be able to compete at this level, starting a new job, and having this horse doing so well so fast—I’m super happy with all the support I have. I have to pinch my arm when I wake up every morning.
A total of five nations were represented in the jump-off, and Tbird President and Tournament Director Jane Tidball expressed her delight in hosting such a diverse, high quality field.
“I just loved it,” she said. “I love all the people coming here from different nations. Our number one priority [at tbird] is the horse and having footing that’s good for the horses. Number two is hospitality: treating people right; and number three is raising money to make sure people can come back again!”
For Holmes, satisfaction came in putting together a course that suited seasoned veterans and up-and-coming pairs alike.
“You want the horses to leave the arena with heart and feeling like they can do it,” he said. “You want them to feel like they can gallop and jump. That’s the sport.”
For full results, please click here.
Source: Press release from Chris Pack for Thunderbird Show Park
Photos: © Cealy Tetley Photography
Categories: CSI 5*