Nicola Philippaerts conquers Toronto.
The other main event of the weekend was the CSI4*-W Toronto and it came to a close with a win by Nicola Philippaerts in the GroupBy Big Ben Challenge worth 75.000 dollars in prize money. The Belgian rider managed to ward off the challenge of Beat Mandli (2nd with ZaZa Harvey) and Todd Minikus (3rd with Quality Girl) to ride to glory in Canada. The course, designed by Brazil’s Guilherme Jorge, consisted of 16 gates and had a time limit of 79 seconds. The first 2 riders to take on the course were Canada’s Ian Millar and USA’s Quentin Judge; both riders scored clears.Belgium’s Philippaerts was competing with his no. 1 horse, Challenge vd Begijnakker, and was aware his main challengers were the American duo of Beezie Madden and McLain Ward, both in excellent form over the Canadian equestrian event. Nicola Philippaerts went round the course before the US riders and pushed on the accelerator to set the standard. McLain Ward and Beezie Madden in the end finished in 5th and 6th place respectively with HH Carlos Z and Coral Reef via Volo. Second placed Beat Mandli from Switzerland took to the field with a relatively young horse, ZaZa Harvey, who doesn’t have much experience on the excellence circuit. Nevertheless, despite that setback it still managed to obtain a second place in its second GP and it’s a promising sign for the future. McLain Ward was very happy with his mount HH Carlos Z and its performance, in particular with the convincing first round display. Here is the top-ten:1st Nicola Philippaerts – Challenge vd Begijnakker2nd Beat Mandli – ZaZa Harvey3rd Todd Minikus – Quality Girl4th Daniel Bluman – Apardi5th McLain Ward – HH Carlo Z6th Beezie Madden – Coral Reef Via Volo7th Kenny Darragh – Prof de la Roque8th François Mathy – D’Atlantique Royale9th Quentin Judge – HH Copin van de Broy10th Ian Millar – Star Power