Team Mexico won the third and last leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 North America, Central America and Caribbean League at Langley (CAN) today to take the league title and qualify for the Furusiyya 2016 Final in September. Pictured at the prizegiving are (L to R) Show President and Event Director Jane Tidball, Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer of ATCO Ltd. Nancy Southern, team members Patricio Pasquel, Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado, Norman Dello Joio (Chef d’Equipe), Alberto Michan and Francisco Pasquel, Foreign Judge and Furusiyya representative Gerald Kuh and Vice President Operations, Thunderbird Show Park, Chris Pack. (FEI/Rebecca Berry)
Back-to-back Furusiyya win for Team Mexico at Langley
by Louise Parkes
Team Mexico secured the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 North America, Central America and Caribbean League title with victory today at Thunderbird Show Park in Langley (CAN).
On home ground at Coapexpan Equestrian Club in Xalapa (MEX) the Mexican side broke a 26-year Nations Cup drought with an historic win at the end of April, and now that they have rediscovered their winning ways it seems they are on a roll. At today’s event they were already in the driving seat when the only one of the four competing nations to maintain a zero score at the end of the first round. And they held on to win comfortably, and without having to call up their last-line rider for a second time.
Team Canada filled runner-up spot ahead of Ireland in third, while the USA had to settle for fourth and last place. Following today’s result both Mexico and Canada have earned a ticket to the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 Final which will take place in Barcelona (ESP) in September.
Canadian course designer, Peter Holmes, might have been tense at the start of the class when the first three riders completed his 12-fence track with relative ease. But then the faults started coming, and with 12 for the opening Mexican partnership of Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado and Tino la Chapelle it wasn’t looking too good for the eventual winners in the early stages.
Salgado was the only member of the Coapexpan winning side to line out again today, and his nine-year-old French gelding jumped an erratic round on his first tour of the fences. But when Patricio Pasquel came home clear despite a few exciting moments, and that was followed by two more foot-perfect runs from Francisco Pasquel with Naranjo and Alberto Michan with Gigolo van de Broekkant, then Mexico led the way into round two with a clean sheet.
Lying second at this stage were the Irish, counting only the eight faults collected by newcomer James Chawke with Eros H as the nine picked up by Jennifer Crooks and SF Uryadi could be discounted when both pathfinder Daniel Coyle (Tennyson) and anchorman Conor Swail (Grafton) were fault-free. Team USA were close behind with nine on the board, both Karl Cook (Tembla) and Christine McCrea (Nektarina B) leaving two fences on the floor and also collecting a time fault but Jonathan McCrea (Special Lux) and Rich Fellers (Flexible) each jumping clear.
Trailing the field
Meanwhile the host nation was trailing the field with 14 faults on their score-card. Tiffany Foster led the way with a foot-perfect run from Victor, but a mistake at the open water for Ben Asselin and Veyron and the 10 faults collected by 2008 Olympic champion Eric Lamaze when Coco Bongo threw in a stop at the first element of the penultimate double, had to be counted when third-line rider, Amy Millar, returned with 13 faults on the board for the team discard.
The Canadians rallied so brilliantly in the second round that Lamaze didn’t need to jump again however because his team-mates added nothing at all to their tally this time out. So when the Irish picked up eight more, despite double-clears from both Coyle and Swail, to leave them on a final total of 16 and the Americans also added eight to finish with 17, then the home runners would line up in second place.
Mexico’s Salgado produced a much more settled round from Tino la Chapelle at their second attempt. And although Patricio Pasquel fell victim to the difficult vertical that followed the open water, and his brother Francisco Pasquel’s Naranjo put a foot in the water and also clipped the oxer at fence 10 for an eight-fault second-round result, that still only brought the Mexican total to 12. With a two-fault advantage over their nearest rivals and hosts, there was no need for Alberto Michan to return to the ring. It was mission accomplished, and a second consecutive win for the Mexican contingent.
Their Chef d’Equipe, Norman Dello Joio, was well pleased. “The main goal when I first started helping Mexico was to get the level up. They were hitting bottom and the idea was to start from scratch and reshuffle the deck. It was the main aim to start pulling together as a team and I think I have helped doing that. There is a very positive atmosphere in this Mexican team, especially also amongst the riders that competed for us in both Ocala and Xalapa. We are now going to start really setting up for the Olympics and then get the most competitive team out in Barcelona (for the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ 2016 Final) as well. We are then going to start building for the next Olympic Games in 2020 after that” he explained.
The most experienced Mexican team member, double-Olympian Alberto Michan, agreed. “We needed to do something very special because we had a bad year last year so we had to take a check and start from scratch again. We knew we needed to do things more professionally and we started so well this season and finished as league leaders. It has been really exciting for us and very motivating for us to do things better every time now” he said.
Talking about today’s course he continued “Peter Holmes did a great job for sure. It was hard, you had to really ride the course, uphill and downhill it was tricky for some horses. When the competition started with Canada and USA having clear rounds that was a bit tough but when we had three clear rounds it was very motivating for us. A win is a win and I was very happy to be part of such a great team. And now I’m very happy that we will be going to Barcelona!” he said.
Patricio Pasquel talked about the importance of this victory, and how it came about. “I want to thank everybody at Thunderbird. Our horses came two weeks ago and if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have been able to do it. Of course, riding in any Nations Cup gives you more pressure. Riding for your country is so special and difficult, mainly because you aren’t just jumping for yourself. We should all be very proud that we rode very well. All the guys here deserve it. The course designer put up a good test, and we’re just very happy to have won this!” he said.
1. Mexico 12 faults: Tino la Chapelle (Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado) 12/0, Babel (Patricio Pasquel) 0/4, Naranjo (Francisco Asquel) 0/8 , Gigolo van de Broekkant (Alberto Michan) 0/DNS.
2. Canada 14 faults: Victor (Tiffany Foster) 0/0, Veyron (Ben Asselin) 4/0, Heros (Amy Millar) 13/0, Coco Bongo (Eric Lamaze) 10/DNS.
3. Ireland 16 faults: Tennyson (Daniel Coyle) 0/0, Eros H (James Chawke) 8/12, SF Uryadi (Jennifer Crooks) 9/8, Grafton (Conor Swail) 0/0.
4. USA 17 faults: Special Lux (Jonathan McCrea) 0/4, Tembla (Karl Cook) 9/4, Nektarina B (Christine McCrea) 9/0, Flexible (Rich Fellers) 0/4.
Facts and Figures:
Langley in Canada presented the third and last leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 North America, Central America and Caribbean League today.
The event was held at Thunderbird Show Park.
A total of four nations - Canada, Ireland, Mexico and USA - competed.
Course designer was Canada’s Peter Holmes.
Team Mexico, winners of the first two legs at Wellington, Florida (USA) and on home ground at Coapexpan (MEX) came out on top once again.
Mexico has now won the North America, Central American and Caribbean League and has qualified for the Furusiyya 2016 Final in Barcelona, Spain in September along with Team USA who finished second on the league table.
3 double-clear rounds - from Canada’s Tiffany Foster (Victor), and Ireland’s Daniel Coyle (Tennyson) and Conor Swail (Grafton).
The oldest horse in today’s competition was the 20-year-old Irish-bred Flexible ridden by America’s Rich Fellers.
The winning Mexican team included brothers Patricio and Francisco Pasquel who have been competing together since they were six years of age.
Winning team member Alberto Michan (MEX): “It was a difficult task as we saw, there were many rails in different places. This ring has a big slope which makes it more complicated. You have to ride your horse uphill or downhill accordingly. The course was very fair and we are very happy that our horses came all the way from Mexico - they jumped in an amazing way.”
Jane Tidball, Show President and Event Director: “We are thrilled to have the Nations Cup here, and so honoured to have the Mexican team travel all the way to show up for the competition and make it to Canada. I have to say that these are the best riders we have ever seen on our field and the best event that the show park has ever witnessed. We hope to have this event again over in this part of the world.”
Peter Holmes, course designer: “The goal of the course was to provide a competitive Nations Cup. It is such an honour be part of a Nations Cup and see these gentlemen ride for their country as they have done. It is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The sport of show jumping is an extremely explosive sport and it can turn around very quickly. The aim is to set-up a course that is challenging but that doesn’t push the safety limits at any point.”
Winning team member Alberto Michan (MEX) talking about the venue at Langley: “This is a beautiful place with a big grass arena and a top-class warm-up ring. There was a lot of rain last week but the footing was still perfect. The show was full of people and there was a great atmosphere.”
Winning team member Francisco Pasquel (MEX): “We are training with Norman and he will tell us where to go next! We are very proud – I think in over 30 years we haven’t won a Nations Cup outside of Mexico so we have to be proud of being part of this team. I think many good things are coming out of Mexico at this moment in time.”
Winning team member Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX): “My main focus is making the next team! My future goals is to go to the Olympics and I hope to be able to make it one day!”
Standings in Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 North American, Central American and Caribbean League after round 3 at Langley (CAN):
1. Mexico - 290
2. USA - 255
3. Canada - 230
4. El Salvador - 45
Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Langley CAN
Alberto Michan (MEX) and Gigolo van de Broekkant during the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping at Thunderbird Show Park, in Langley B.C. Canada, June 3, 2016. (FEI/Rebecca Berry)
Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Langley CAN Juan Jose Zendejas Salgado (MEX) and Tino la Chapelle during the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping at Thunderbird Show Park, in Langley B.C. Canada, June 3, 2016. (FEI/Rebecca Berry)