The BC Open Tournament at Thunderbird Show Park belonged to Olympians, with Irish legend Eddie Macken taking the $25,000 BC Open Grand Prix on Friday and Calgary native, Jonathan Asselin leading the pack in Saturday's world cup qualifier, the $50,000 Warsteiner Grand Prix.The BC Open Tournament at Thunderbird Show Park belonged to Olympians, with Irish legend Eddie Macken taking the $25,000 BC Open Grand Prix on Friday and Calgary native, Jonathan Asselin leading the pack in Saturday's world cup qualifier, the $50,000 Warsteiner Grand Prix.
Langley, BC (May 31st, 2008) – The BC Open Tournament at Thunderbird Show Park belonged to Olympians, with Irish legend Eddie Macken taking the $25,000 BC Open Grand Prix on Friday and Calgary native, Jonathan Asselin leading the pack in Saturday’s world cup qualifier, the $50,000 Warsteiner Grand Prix.
While spectators enjoyed a few beverages under German brewery, Warsteiner’s, spinning logo and large white tent, the first competitor in the $50,000 Warsteiner Grand Prix entered the ring. Eberhard Bahle had two entries, Orestes and Lamborghini Z, but failed to post a clear round with either. Emily George also had two entries, dropping two rails with Quidam’s Ramero and one with Ramila. The first clear round was posted by Jonathan Asselin’s on Rayana Chiara, coming back later in the rotation to post a second clear round on Lolita. Audra Fleck-Snijders, Sayre Happy and Burnaby’s Christopher Lowe also advanced to the jump off, with the Irish Olympic rider and coach, Eddie Macken.
International course designer Peter Holmes set a challenging course that including a daunting triple bar and a brand new sponsor fence for Warsteiner that was flanked by two 12-foot beer glasses. "There’s been some spectacular jumping in the first round," Holmes commented to the crowd during a break in the action. "The Warsteiner element may be the tallest show jump in the world and a little daunting for some horses"
Christopher Lowe agreed with Holmes on the difficult elements of the course. "With Peter’s courses there are always little bits everywhere. You can’t let your guard down at all. The two sponsor fences were a challenge, Warsteiner made things difficult for us today."
The jump off course required riders to go fast and turn, with several turns and changes of direction and then a long gallop to the final fence. The time allowed of 54 seconds was not a factor for the six riders, but almost each had a rail down. First into the ring was Asselin on Rayana Chiara, taking two rails, but posting what would be the fastest time in the jump off of 38.40. Audra Fleck-Snijders on Rainland Mel had one rail, but a good gallop to the final fence, cheered on my husband Patrick, gave her a time of 38.64 and a third place finish.
Next up was Christopher Lowe and Jackpot, who made the right turns, left all the rails up and delivered a great gallop to the end, posting the first double clear and a time of 41.39. Lowe was visibly pleased with Jackpot’s performance, giving him some big pats on the way out. Sayre Happy, on Santa Teresita Fantama, nicked the top rail of the Warsteiner fence, bringing it down and had a second rail in the second to last fence. For Macken and Tedechine Sept, it was the double combination that put them out of first, but a quick time of 39.83 secured fourth position for the pair. The last ride, by Asselin and Lolita, proved to be the winner. There were no mistakes as Asselin took all the tight turns and delivered a strong gallop, exactly what Holmes predicted it would take to win the class. His time of 40.49 edged just edged out Lowe.
During the awards presentations, Canadian importer and distributor of Warsteiner lager, Lothar Heinrich, raised a glass to Asselin, who enjoyed a sip before taking his victory gallop around the Thunderbird Grand Prix ring.
Warsteiner brewery is a new sponsor for Thunderbird, but their involvement in European equestrian events is far reaching. The company also owns the Warstein Centre, a world-class breeding and training facility for Percheron horses located across from the brewery. The centre has hosted international equestrian events for many years. Visitors to the facility are able to watch the riders taking their horses through their paces and tackling a jump or two while enjoying a cup of coffee, a piece of homemade cake or a glass of freshly drawn Warsteiner beer.
Top 8 for the $50,000 Warsteiner Grand Prix
1. Jonathan Asselin Lolita
2. Christopher Lowe Jackpot
3. Audra Fleck-Snijders Rainland Mel
4. Eddie Macken Tedechine Sept
5. Jonathan Asselin Rayana Chiara
6. Sayre Happy Santa Teresita Fantastico
7. Carla Diewert Concord 8. Emily George Ramila
For more information, please visit our site at www.thunderbirdshowpark.com. Our next event is the West Coast Classic Tournament which runs June 25th to 29th and features the Jaguary Richmond and Land Rover of Richmond $20,000 Grand Prix, 2pm on Sunday. Thunderbird offers complimentary parking and admission.