Calgary, Alberta – Angel Karolyi of Venezuela enjoyed strong results at the CSI5* Spruce Meadows ‘National’ tournament in Calgary, Alberta, culminating with a second place finish in the $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby on Sunday, June 8.
Karolyi, 27, opened the ‘National’ tournament with a confidence-building second place finish in the $33,500 Back On Track Cup riding Indiana 127 on Wednesday, June 4. Karolyi then rested the 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Indoctro x Voltaire) owned by Hollow Creek Farm in preparation for the weekend’s events. His plan went according to the letter, with a fifth place finish in Saturday’s $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse followed by a second-place performance in Sunday’s $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby.
One of the most gruelling tests of show jumping stamina held in North America, the track designed seven years ago by two-time Olympic mastermind Leopoldo Palacios has yielded three clear rounds in its history. As the lead-off rider, Karolyi and Indiana 127 executed the course beautifully, only dropping rails at the ‘c’ element of the dreaded Devil’s Dyke and at the final fence. True to past form, none succeeded in delivering a clear round to force a jump-off between Karolyi and Quentin Judge of the United States, who had also posted a score of eight faults riding HH Dark de la Hart.
Karolyi left all the jumps in place in his return to the International Ring, stopping the timers in 47.90. Judge had the advantage of knowing what he had to do to win and stepped on the gas to cross the finish line in 45.73 seconds for the victory. For second place, Karolyi earned $37,000 in prize money.
“I know that Indiana has done some natural jumps before, and he just loved it!” said Karolyi, who acquired the ride on Indiana 127 in October of 2012. “I did the Parcours de Chasse on Saturday and just galloped around, and it proved to be a good set-up for the next day. In the Nexen Cup, the horse was having fun, and it really felt easy. It was just a fun round to ride, especially when you feel that your horse is enjoying it. Indiana did not feel tired at all; even at the end of the first round, this horse could have still kept jumping!”
Karolyi continued, “Having been the first rider in the ring, I never thought that I would be jumping off with eight faults, but I was really happy that we had a jump-off. I thought I made a smart decision with the way I rode it, just having an efficient clear round that wasn’t fast but wasn’t slow, either. I tried to put the pressure on Quentin and see if he would make a mistake, but he didn’t. To finish second in a big class like that – I’ll take it!”
With his success in the $210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup Derby, Karolyi is looking forward to the $210,000 Cenovus Energy Classic Derby during the Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ tournament on July 6.
Meanwhile, his focus with his other top mount, Amigo, will be on the $210,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on July 5.
“When we decided that we were going to come to Spruce Meadows, I decided I would make that my main goal for the summer,” said Karolyi, who comes from a show jumping family that has often competed at Spruce Meadows. “I really want to focus on that class and do my best.”
During the ‘National’ tournament, Karolyi and Amigo jumped double clear to finish seventh in Thursday night’s $85,000 Spectra Energy Cup. Karolyi’s long-term goal with the 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Coriano Z x Silvester) owned by Hollow Creek Farm is to be a member of the Venezuelan team for the upcoming 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France, at the end of August.
“The WEG seems so far away!” laughed Karolyi, whose last major games appearance was at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. “We are taking it one week at a time and not getting too far ahead of ourselves. This has been a fantastic week, and a great start to the Spruce Meadows summer series. I’d like to thank everyone for all of their support and the role they played in our success this week.”
For more information on Hollow Creek Farm, please visit www.hollowcreekfarms.com.