September 14, 2014--The Spruce Meadows 'Masters' Tournament CSIO 5* came to a thrilling conclusion Sunday with the biggest show jumping event in the world, the $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex. Canadian show jumping legend Ian Millar and Dixson, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange, triumphed through two rounds and a jump-off of challenging equestrian sport over 20-year-old Reed Kessler (USA) and Cylana. The was the second leg of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, and Ian Millar is next in line to try and take equestrian sport's most sought-after title.
Both courses Sunday, set by Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela, were extremely tall, technical, and challenging. “It was a fantastic day,” Palacios said. “For Ian to win in his home country is great. This is the third time I've had a jump-off here. The courses were really strong, heavy, the heights hard, the lines difficult. I am very happy. The team of Spruce Meadows, how they maintained the footing was incredible. The jump crew and groundskeepers, I thank all of them.”
In Round One, there were 10 clear rounds. Twelve returned for the second round, along with Kevin Staut (FRA) on Estoy Aqui de Muze (who had four faults in Round One) and Robert Whitaker (GBR) with Catwalk IV, who had one time fault. Staut and Whitaker had eight and 13 faults, respectively, in Round Two for ninth and 12th places.
Jerome Hurel (FRA) and Quartz Rouge had a rail and a time fault in Round Two to finish on five faults for sixth place. Alain Jufer (SUI) and Wiveau M tallied 13 faults for 11th place, and fellow Swiss rider Steve Guerdat on Nasa had nine faults for eighth place.
Kessler and Cylana were next in, and they recorded a brilliant second clear round. With a fist pump after going through the timers, Kessler would have to wait and see if anyone else could match her performance and take it to a jump-off. Two trips later, that's just what would happen when Millar and Dixson galloped clear through the timers to the roar of the crowd.
In between Kessler and Millar, Marie Etter completed the course with four faults on Admirable for third place, ending a strong day for the Swiss team. Olivier Philippaerts (BEL) and Cabrio van de Heffinck were close to repeating their 2012 victory, but one rail and a time fault left them in fifth place. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Zigali P S had nine faults, and Shane Breen (IRL) on Golden Hawk tallied 13 faults, which placed them seventh and 10th respectively.
Last in the ring, the crowd held their breath to see if it would be a three-way jump-off. It was not to be as one of the favorites, Beezie Madden (USA) and Simon, had one rail down and a time fault. They ended up in fourth place.
First in for the jump-off was Kessler on Cylana, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare by Skippy II x Darco owned by Kessler Show Stables. Kessler was fast and efficient, and Cylana made easy work of the jump-off course, finishing clear in 49.50 seconds.
Millar had the advantage of seeing Kessler go. He and Dixson, an 11-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding by Vigo D'Arsouilles x Olisco, made tighter turns and put the gas pedal down across the big grass field of the International Ring. When the timers stopped on a winning time of 47.33 seconds, the spectators gave a standing ovation to Millar.
“I had the good fortune of going second, so I saw exactly what she did,” Millar acknowledged. “Her strategy was exactly correct; she did just what I would have done and put just enough pressure on. I was quicker on the turn from (fence) one to two, and to the double liverpools. It was just a little here and there, and that was the difference.”
Final Results: $1.5 Million CP International, presented by Rolex
1 DIXSON: Belgian Warmblood / G / 11 Vigo D Arsouilles x Olisco
IAN MILLAR (CAN), Susan & Ariel Grange: 0/0/0/47.33
2 CYLANA: Belgian Warmblood / M / 12 Skippy II x Darco
REED KESSLER (USA), Kessler Show Stables: 0/0/0/49.50
3 ADMIRABLE: Hanoverian / G / 14 A Jungle Prince x Rhytmo
MARIE ETTER (SUI), Ecurie Galoubet: 0/4/82.64
4 SIMON: Dutch Warmblood / G / 15 Mr Blue x Polydox
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/5/79.46
5 CABRIO VAN DE HEFFINCK: Belgian Warmblood / S / 12 Cassini I x Calato
OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Stoeterij Dorperheide/H. Van de Heffinck: 0/5/82.05
6 QUARTZ ROUGE: Selle Francais / S / 10 Ultimo van ter Noude x Qredo de Paulstra
JEROME HUREL (FRA), Deborah Smaga: 0/5/84.47
7 ZIGALI PS: Dutch Warmblood/ G / 10 Kigali x Palfrenier
ERIC LAMAZE (CAN), Artisan Farms, LLC: 0/9/81.70
8 NASA: Selle Francais / M / 13 Cumano x Prince d'Elle
STEVE GUERDAT (SUI), Urs E. Schwarzenbach: 0/9/83.57
9 ESTOY AQUI DE MUZE HDC: Belgian Warmblood / M / 10 Malito de Reves x Kashmir van Schuttershof
KEVIN STAUT (FRA), Haras des Coudrettes: 4/8/78.11
10 GOLDEN HAWK: Belgian Warmblood / S / 9 Vigo D'Arsouilles x Chin Chin
SHANE BREEN (IRL), P Sultan and Breen Equestrian Ltd: 0/13/81.02
11 WIVEAU M: Dutch Warmblood / S / 11 Niveau x Concorde
ALAIN JUFER (SUI), Lutta Gian-Battista: 0/13/84.33
12 CATWALK IV: Holstein / G / 11 Colman x Corleone
ROBERT WHITAKER (GBR), Mrs. C Whitaker: 1/13/85.48