Catherine Tyree of Chicago, IL, opened the international show jumping division with a victory in the $36,000 McKee Family International Challenge on Wednesday, November 7, at the CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, ON.
Home riders from Canada were joined by athletes representing Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, and the United States for Wednesday’s power and speed event set by 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) course designer Alan Wade of Ireland. U.S. riders went one-two when Tyree riding Bokai successfully completed the ‘power’ phase of the track before clearing the speed portion in 29.89 seconds, less than a second faster than runner-up McLain Ward on Contagious, owned by Beechwood Stables, LLC. A member of the reigning gold medal WEG team, Ward stopped the clock at 29.97 seconds from the fourth spot in the 23-horse order.
Israel’s Daniel Bluman led off the class and finished third on a time of 31.01 seconds riding Bacara d’Archonfosse, owned in partnership with Kim Douglas and Alexa Schwitzer. Amanda Derbyshire of Great Britain piloted Lady Maria BH to fourth in 31.28 seconds for owner Gochman Sport Horse, LLC, while Australian rider Rowan Willis rounded out the top five riding Italian Gold Van De Kruishoeve, owned by Samantha Buirs, in 31.47 seconds.
“I was lucky to be invited to the Royal Horse Show, and it immediately went on my calendar,” said Tyree, 24, who is making her Royal debut this year. “I came here as a spectator six years ago, and I think it is one of the coolest shows. You can feel the history, and the atmosphere is second to none. Everything is a big deal, and I love how involved the crowd gets and how much of a real show the management puts on; it feels very special.”
Bokai, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Up To Date x Olympic Ferro) owned by Mary Tyree, led the victory gallop in the opening class. Tyree and Bokai have been partnered for two and a half years and train under the direction of Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run in Warren, VT.
“Bokai has been fantastic leading up to the Royal, and I had a really good feeling coming here,” said Tyree, who is also competing on another grey mount, Catungee, in Toronto. “I’m lucky to have two great horses and a fantastic team behind me so when I gave my horses a little bit of a break this fall, they were fresh and ready rise to the occasion. The feeling is different inside, but it changes it up for them and piques their interest.
“I wanted to go in and get a feel for the ring but also take advantage of the class, so I thought I would try and win to start the week of right,” continued Tyree. “Bokai can go fast one day and that really doesn’t take so much out of him for the next. I can’t ask any more than what he has done this fall, and hopefully it will keep going this week.”
Japan’s Karen Polle Wins $36,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome
Karen Polle concluded Wednesday night’s competition at the Royal Horse Show with a win in the $36,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome riding Little Lord 90.
Polle, 26, and the 13-year-old Holsteiner gelding entered the Coca-Cola Coliseum as the 15 of 20 entries invited to navigate the Alan Wade designed speed track, and, despite a slight stumble after the fourth fence, they flew straight to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 57.45 seconds.
“I was very surprised when I looked up and saw that I was in first,” said Polle, who has had Little Lord 90 for the last year and a half. “I added a stride to fence three, and I almost fell off after fence four when he tripped! After that though, my round got really nice and smooth, and he felt great. He’s definitely a very quick horse, and he’s very game.
“Obviously we’re off to a good start, and I hope the rest of the week goes well too,” continued Polle, who is making her Royal Horse Show debut this week. “I’ve heard amazing things about this show, so I always really wanted to come. I’m just so excited to be here.”
Only fractions of a second separated all three of the top finishers, with another newcomer to the Royal Horse Show, Australia’s Rowan Willis, tripping the timers in 57.64 seconds riding Shark to take second, and Devin Ryan of the United States riding Cooper to the third-place finish in a time of 57.76 seconds.
Competition at the Royal Horse Show continues through Saturday with show jumping highlights including the $85,000 GroupBy ‘Big Ben’ International Challenge on Thursday night, the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open on Friday night, and the highly-anticipated conclusion, the $205,000 Longines FEI Jumping World CupToronto, presented by GroupBy, on Saturday, November 10.
More than 1,000 horses from around the globe are competing for $980,000 in prize money during the 10-day CSI4*-W Royal Horse Show. VIP Platinum and Gold seating, as well as group and individual tickets, are selling quickly. All Royal Horse Show tickets include general admission to the Fair.
For more information on the Royal Horse Show, the marquee event of The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, please visit www.royalfair.org/horse-show.html.
Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.
$36,000 McKee Family International Challenge – Final Results
Wednesday, November 7
1. Catherine Tyree United States Bokai 0/29.89
2. McLain Ward United States Contagious 0/29.97
3. Daniel Bluman Israel Bacara d’Archonfosse 0/31.01
4. Amanda Derbyshire Great Britain Lady Maria BH 0/31.28
5. Rowan Willis Australia Italian Gold Van De Kruishoeve 0/31.47
6. Conor Swail Ireland Koss Van Heiste 0/31.54
7. Sharn Wordley New Zealand Gatsby 0/31.68
8. Molly Ashe Cawley United States D’Arnita 0/32.36
9. Kent Farrington United States Daddy Cool 0/32.51
10. Devin Ryan United States Florida 0/32.74
11. Capt. Brian Cournane Ireland Dino 0/33.00
12. Ali Ramsay Victoria, BC Hermelien vd Hooghoeve 0/33.35
$36,000 Jolera International Jumper Welcome – Final Results
Wednesday, November 7
1. Karen Polle Japan Little Lord 90 0/57.45
2. Rowan Willis Australia Shark 0/57.64
3. Devin Ryan United States Cooper 0/57.76
4. Keean White Rockwood, ON Leilani 0/58.24
5. Sharn Wordley New Zealand Barnetta 0/59.62
6. Ali Ramsay Victoria, BC Casino 0/61.29
7. Jonathon Millar Perth, ON Dublin 0/63.29
8. Capt. Brian Cournane Ireland Armik 0/69.39
9. Kent Farrington United States Creedance 2
10. Molly Ashe Cawley United States Picobello Choppin PC 4
11. Conor Swail Ireland Rubens LS La Silla 4
12. Ian Millar Perth, ON Calvin Klein 4