The Canadian Team comprised of Mac Cone of King City, ON, Yann Candele of Nobleton, ON, Beth Underhill of Schomberg, ON, and anchor rider Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, ON, won the event with a total of 5 faults. Mexico finished second with a final score of 13 faults while Ireland was third with 29 faults. The home team of the United States finished fourth with 31 faults.
A total of 11 countries contested this year’s Nations’ Cup team event, the only one held in the United States. Canada completed the first round of competition with a perfect score of zero and incurred only five faults in the second round to secure victory in front of 8,300 fans, including a raucous Canadian cheering section. The win marked the fifth victory for Canada since the event’s inception in 2002. Canada has won the Nations’ Cup in Wellington more than any other country.
“Wellington is our town, we have been extraordinarily lucky here the past few years,” said Terrance ‘Torchy’ Millar, chef d’equipe of the Canadian Show Jumping Team. “We try hard for this event. We have a lot of fans that come down from Canada for this event. We put our best foot forward, and we had four great riders here tonight.”
In the first round, lead-off rider Cone incurred four faults at the final obstacle riding Larry Evoy and Sara Houstoun’ s Ole, his mount at the 2008 Olympic Games where Canada claimed Team Silver. Cone’s would prove to be the drop score as teammates Candele, Underhill and Lamaze all produced clear rounds.
In a format that sees only three riders from each country return for the second round with all scores to count, Candele led off the second round for Canada. Riding Pitareusa, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare owned by Susan Grange, Candele again produced a clear round. It would prove to be the only double clear round of the evening.
“It was the first Nations’ Cup for her, and it was super that she was double clear doing two rounds back-to-back at this level,” said Candele who made his Nations’ Cup debut for Canada last year in Wellington, FL, when Canada was also victorious. “The competition was at a high level, with even more teams and more competition than last year.”
Underhill incurred four faults in the second round, dropping a rail at the ‘c’ element of the triple combination riding Top Gun, a 10-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Iron Horse Farm.
As the final rider to tackle Anthony D’Ambrosio’s course, Lamaze could have two rails down and still secure the victory for Canada. It was a cushion the Olympic Champion did not require however, as he left all the rails in place, incurring only one time fault for exceeding the time allowed.
“Ronaldo was even better in the second round than in the first; he was actually a little bit spooky in the first round,” said Lamaze of the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by Ashland Stables. “Even though this was only his first Nations’ Cup, I have been riding this horse for a few years and I know him well.”
Lamaze, currently ranked the number two rider in the world, summed up the Canadian victory by saying, “All of the Canadian horses were outstanding and all of the Canadian riders were outstanding. It was a great night for us, it was great sport, and we had great results.”