The $50,000 RBC Grand Prix highlighted the first of two consecutive weeks comprising the Ottawa Summer Tournaments.
Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Olympian Amy Millar of Perth, ON, topped a five-horse jump-off to win the $50,000 RBC Grand Prix on Saturday, July 8, 2023, at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.
The $50,000 RBC Grand Prix highlighted the first of two consecutive weeks comprising the Ottawa Summer Tournaments in the Nation’s Capital. FEI course designer Steffen Buhling of Germany set a welcoming track for the 25 entries competing on the grass grand prix field. Five would produce a clear round and advance to the jump-off while one entry, Frank Hendriks of Carleton Place, ON, left all the rails in place riding Chapeau but incurred one time fault for exceeding the 80-second time allowed.
Canadian Olympian Amy Millar won the $50,000 RBC Grand Prix riding GCS Athena on Saturday, July 8, 2023, at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
A frequent winner at the Ottawa Summer Tournaments, François Lamontagne of Saint-Eustache, QC, opened the jump-off riding his long-time partner Chanel du Calvaire, his 15-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare (Luccianno x Kashmir van Schuttershof). The crowd was ready to cheer when a heartbreaking rail came down at the final fence, opening the door for the four horse-rider combinations still to come.
Millar took full advantage and turned on the pressure by producing a clear jump-off round in a time of 38.67 seconds to move into the lead riding GSC Athena, owned by Brookstreet Stables Corporation.
Riding with a poise that belied her age, 13-year-old Mathlide Candele of Orangeville, ON, produced the fastest jump-off time of 36.66 seconds but at the expense of one rail for four faults. While she would settle for third place on this occasion riding Disco de Pleville, her 10-year-old Selle Francais gelding (Contendro x Dollar de la Pierre), there is little doubt that the talented daughter of Canadian Olympian Yann Candele and his wife, Jennifer, will lead many victory gallops in the future.
Canadian Olympian Mac Cone took second place riding Con Couleur in the $50,000 RBC Grand Prix. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
With two left to go, Vanessa Robert of St. Bruno, QC, was out of the running after trouble at the double combination forced her to circle with Miss Peggy-Sue PS, a nine-year-old mare sired by Messenger and owned by Ecuries La Montee.
As the final challenger, it was all up to Mac Cone of King City, ON. Riding Con Couleur, a 12-year-old Mecklenburg gelding (Conthargos x Couleur Rubin) owned by Chadburn Holdings Inc. and Southern Ways Equestrian Ltd., the Canadian Olympian jumped clear, but the clock told the final tale, stopping more than a second slower than Millar’s pace in 39.82 seconds.
While Cone would settle for second, victory belonged to Millar, who had also claimed Thursday’s $15,000 Open Welcome riding GCS Athena, a nine-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare sired by former world champion, Vigo d’Arsouilles.
“I was definitely a bit worried about François, but he went ahead of me and had a rail,” said Millar, 46, of her jump-off strategy. “My daughter’s 13-year-old friend, Mathilde, was a big concern. She’s a fast girl! I had the plan, and I have a fast horse. I did just enough not to be insane and let them come to me a bit.
Photo at right: Thirteen-year-old Mathilde Candele of Orangeville, ON, placed third with Disco de Pleville in the $50,000 RBC Grand Prix. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
“She is a fiery little mare,” continued Millar of the horse she has been partnered with for almost two years since scouting her in Ireland. “She’s really kind, she’s careful, and she’s naturally fast. It’s a real treat when you get in these jump-offs because it’s so much easier; you simply don’t pull on the reins as opposed to making them go fast. It’s a real pleasure to ride her. Athena has been jumping fantastic all week, so it’s been a good week!”
As a high-performance athlete who travels the globe for competition, the Ottawa Summer Tournaments is one of Millar’s favourite venues to compete at, not least of all because she can commute from her home and training base at Millar Brooke Farm in Perth, ON.
“I love this horse show,” praised the Olympic and World Championship veteran. “It’s so nice to come here. The venue is beautiful, and the footing is fantastic. I would like to thank the entire organizing committee at Wesley Clover for hosting us and treating everyone so well.”
The Ottawa Summer Tournament I concludes on Sunday, July 9, with the $5,000 Modified Grand Prix, presented by Cristina’s Equine Bodywork, followed by the $5,000 OHJA Nations’ Cup. Show jumping action continues with the Ottawa Summer Tournament II from July 12 to 16, highlighted by the $50,000 Brookstreet Grand Prix on Saturday, July 15, at 4 p.m.
Amy Millar and GCS Athena are presented as the winners of the $50,000 RBC Grand Prix by (from left to right) Karen Sparks, Brecon Sparks, and Ann Matthews. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
The Ottawa Summer Tournaments, now in their ninth season, once again features the $10,000 Under 25 MarBill Hill Farm Jumper Bonus and Circuit Award. Competitors are also earning points toward the Ottawa Circuit Awards, presented by Ride Every Stride. For more information and to register, visit www.ottawaequestriantournaments.com/special-awards.
Hospitality options abound in Wesley Clover Parks’ expansive hospitality tent with tables of six, weekly passes, and day passes available. Reservations can be made at https://www.ottawaequestriantournaments.com/hospitality.
General admission spectator tickets are also available for the Ottawa Summer Tournaments at https://www.ottawaequestriantournaments.com/spectators.
For more information on the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments, visit www.OttawaEquestrianTournaments.com.
All competitor information is available at www.ottawaequestriantournaments.com/calendar-2023 and full results can be found at www.ottawaequestriantournaments.com/results-2023.
Get the latest updates, news, and photos by following Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments on Facebook here and Instagram and Twitter @TheWCParks. Share your Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments experience by tagging @TheWCParks and #RideTheParks!
$50,000 RBC Grand Prix - Saturday, July 8, 2023
Rider / Hometown / Horse / Faults / Time
1. Amy Millar / Perth, ON / GCS Athena / 0:0 / 38.67
2. Mac Cone / King City, ON / Con Couleur / 0:0 / 39.82
3. Mathilde Candele / Orangeville, ON / Disco de Pleville / 0:4 / 36.66
4. François Lamontagne / Saint-Eustache, QC / Chanel du Calvaire / 0:4 / 40.06
5. Vanessa Robert / St. Bruno, QC / Miss Peggy-Sue PS / 0:18 / 58.91
6. Frank Hendriks / Carleton Place, ON / Chapeau / 1
7. David Arcand / Boisbriand, QC / Phil v/d Wezelse Heihoeve / 4
8. Jay Hayes / Mono, ON / Hope VA / 4
9. Sarah Johnstone / Collingwood, ON / Katorose HV / 4
10. Jade Lalonde / Candiac, QC /Kapital Creation Z / 4