Canada’s Eric Lamaze brought the 2007 Spruce Meadows Masters to a thrilling climax when his 11-year old stallion Hickstead jumped the only double clear to take the CA$325,000 (£153,250) prize in the CN International Grand Prix.
Twelve partnerships — including British contenders Nick Skelton (Arko III) and Tim Stockdale (Fresh Direct Corlato) — were clear in the first round. Unfortunately one refusal and a time fault in the second round left Nick in sixth place.
Tim Stockdale (pictured) was “thrilled” with fifth place on Fresh Direct Corlato, who picked up four faults. John Whitaker and Peppermill faulted at the infamous bicycle jump in round one, while Ellen Whitaker had two mistakes on Locarno.
For the second year running, the BMO Nations Cup went to a jump-off. Germany came out on top, leaving the Netherlands second.
It all went wrong for Britain, who slumped into last place. Having had two fences down in the first round, Michael Whitaker suffered a heavy fall from Insultech Mozart Des Hayettes.
Tim Stockdale improved on his first-round score of 16 with Fresh Direct Animation and had just two down, but Ellen Whitaker, who had been clear on Locarno 62, collected eight faults in round two.
Although Britain could not improve her position, John Whitaker — who had one mistake on Peppermill in the first round — had to jump again in order to qualify for the prize-money. He produced a masterly clear round.
British team manager Derek Ricketts said: “Although we’re disappointed with the result because our horses have been going well, all that really matters is that Michael is OK.”
Read this report in full, including details of how the British quartet got on in other classes at the show, in this Thursday’s Horse & Hound (20 September, ’07)