Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Alberta, Canada – July 10, 2022 – Sunday of the Spruce Meadows ‘North American‘ Tournament marks Derby Day! This year, a new track was designed by FEI Course Designers Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) and inspired by the original Spruce Meadows derby course designed by Pamela Carruthers (GBR) back in the 80’s. The new track is over 1km in length and features 18 obstacles (24 efforts) including the table top, open water, dry ditch, liverpool, bank at the south end other arena and of course – the devil’s dyke.
Twelve horse/rider competitions stepped through the Spruce Meadows clock tower for the final competition of the ‘North American’ Tournament, the Sun Life Derby. Young Canadian Sam Walker (CAN), riding the13-year-old bay Dutch Warmblood mare Evita, posted a round with a final score of four penalty-points, putting him at the top of the leaderboard. He had to wait while recent Spruce Meadows Sun Life Derby winners Rowan Willis (AUS) and Jordan Coyle (IRL) were set to go at the end of the order.
Today it was good enough – a single rail on course at the “C” element of the devil’s dyke was all that kept Walker from a clear round, but no one else could best it. Local Canadian rider Vanessa Mannix (CAN) and Kitting des Haussers finished in second place on a total of 6 penalty-points (one rail down and two time penalties).
Yesterday’s grand prix winner, Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Hellcat finished on a quick 8 penalty-points for bronze honors.
“It’s like a fairytale ending to the Summer Series for me. I’m definitely going to be coming back here (Spruce Meadows) for years to come and it means so much to me as a Canadian to just be here.” – Sam Walker (CAN) on his first Spruce Meadows Summer Series Experience
Final Results – $137,700 Sun Life Derby CSI 5*
1) Sam Walker (CAN) & Evita – 4 – 152.51
2) Vanessa Mannix (CAN) & Kitting des Haussers – 6 – 156.41
3) Paul O’Shea (IRL) & Hellcat – 8 – 151.91
Source: Press Release (edited) from Spruce Meadows Media
Photos: © Spruce Meadows Media / Mike Sturk / Jack Cusano / Dave Chidley