Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Alberta, Canada – September 10, 2022 – The $75,000 Suncor Winning Round CSIO 5* 1.50m was the first competition of the day at Spruce Meadows. Twenty-six horse/rider combinations representing 15 nations qualified for the event earlier in the week. The 455m track was designed by FEI Course Designer Leopoldo Palacios (VEN) and featured 12 obstacles (15 jumping efforts) all having to be completed in 69 seconds or less.
In this event, the top 10 riders come back in reverse order of faults for the winning round. World #4 ranked rider Conor Swail (IRL) and Nadal Hero & DB (Kannan x Polydor) held the lead for a time with a clear ride in a time of 59.60 seconds, however the Irishman would have to settle for second place.
Matthew Sampson (GBR) who has had an amazing 2022 tour at Spruce Meadows, fired into top gear with Ebolensky posting a clear round in a time of 58.14 seconds. With one left to go, Sampson and the 13-year-old grey Royal Dutch Sport Horse / Dutch Warmblood mare (Clinton x Heartbreaker) held the top of the leaderboard.
Kent Farrington (USA) was determined to come out on top, and with an amazing turn crushed Sampson’s time, but the back rail of the final oxer fell as he pushed through the finish line with a final score of 4 penalty-poinrs and 55.93 seconds.
The host nation managed to secure a spot on the podium as Jim Ifko (CAN) and Un Diamant des Forets (Diamant de Semilly x Papillon Rouge) completed their penalty-free winning round performance in 59.95 seconds.
This win in the Suncor Winning Round marks Sampson’s 43rd top ten finish this season and 17th win. With those stats, Sampson was presented with the Xerox Rider of Year award following the completion of the first round of the BMO Nations’ Cup.
Final Results – $75,000 Suncor Winning Round CSIO 5*
1) Matthew Sampson (GBR) & Ebolensky – 0 / 0 – 58.14
2) Conor Swail (IRL) & Nadal Hero & DB – 4 / 0 – 59.60
3) Jim Ifko (CAN) & Un Diamant des Forets – 4 / 0 – 59.95
Source: Press Release (edited) from Spruce Meadows Media
Photo: © Spruce Meadows Media / Tony Lewis