Toronto, Ontario, Canada – November 11, 2022 – Egyptian Olympian Nayel Nassar (EGY) flew to victory in the $74,000 Centennial Cup CSI 5*-W, on Friday evening at the Royal Horse Show CSI 5*-W, held as part of the 100th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.
Nineteen horse-and-rider combinations contested the speed track set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), racing for the top spot right out of the gate.
As they risked for reward, poles fell around the course until Swiss Olympic medalist Beat Mändli (SUI) was the first to find a clear path in 56.70 seconds aboard Chartraine Pre Noir, a 10-year-old Selle Français mare (Kannan x Corrado II) owned by Grant Road Partners LLC.
A few rounds later, it was Nayel Nassar (EGY) who turned and burned to a blazing fault-free effort in 53.54 seconds with El Conde.
Brazilian Olympic Champion Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) with Quality FZ and Canada’s young superstar Sam Walker (CAN) with Angelika Hero Z also managed to go clear, but they couldn’t keep up with the pace set by Nassar.
Last to go, three-time Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) gave the packed house a thrill by coming close with Lezaro, an 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Böckmann’s Lord Pezi x Landadel) owned by Stella Wasserman. The pair stopped the clock in 54.05 seconds to settle for second place while Beat Mändli (SUI) finished in third.
“Michel [Vaillancourt] was tough on us today, giving us really full rollbacks, not just half-turns,” said Nassar, who is making his debut trip to the Royal Horse Show. “At the same time, we had some very tall and delicate verticals, which you needed to jump clear. It’s always really difficult to keep your rhythm in a ring like this especially when you’re trying to go against the clock. It was all about finding the balance between speed versus precision. Luckily, we managed to get on the right side of that today.”
Final Results – $74,000 Centennial Cup CSI 5*-W
1) Nayel Nassar (EGY) & El Conde – 0 – 53.54
2) McLain Ward (USA) & Lezaro – 0 – 54.05
3) Beat Mändli (SUI) & Chartraine Pre Noir – 0 – 56.70
Source: Press Release (edited) from Jump Media for the Royal Horse Show
Photos: © RHS / Ben Radvanyi Photography