Articles: Press Release
Making his competitive comeback, McGuinness jumps to victory with Rich
Fellers....Jean Llewellyn reports from Calgary, Canada
PHOTO: Rich Fellers riding McGuinness in the ATCO Midstream Winning
Round 1m50 class (c) Peter Llewellyn/PhelpsSports.com
Jean Llewellyn for Phelps Media Group, Inc., International
at (561) 753-3389 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Calgary, CAN - June 9, 2006 - With an evening kick-off, the opening
class of two scheduled for 'National' Friday at Spruce Meadows was the
1m50 ATCO Midstream Challenge (Table A, FEI art. 276). Although cool
breezy conditions greeted the 25 riders, qualifiers from a class held
two days earlier, the rain that had threatened all day fortunately held
off despite an extremely overcast sky.
With eight riders destined to qualify for the jump-off, Britain's Bob
Ellis built a relatively straightforward course with few options for
cutting corners. It therefore required committed riding to finish inside
the 71-second tight time limit - evidenced by the fact that no fewer
than six combinations jump clear but incurred time penalties.
Beezie Madden, who has already banked C$13,150 from the first two days
of competition with one win and four places, was the first to qualify
for the jump-off with the 11-year-old Desilvio, despite a resounding
clip to a rail at the fence eight oxer. Canada's Eric Lamaze joined
Beezie three rides later with his Darco mare Narcotique de Muze II, but
no such luck for Norman Dello Joio and the nine-year-old Malcolm who
lowered a rail at the middle element of the treble combination which
claimed most scalps from those riders that incurred faults. McGuiness,
returning to competition at Spruce Meadows following his withdrawal
through sickness at last April's World Cup Final in Kuala Lumpur, gave
Rich Fellers a textbook clear round as they joined the jump-off line-up.
A healthy Mexican contingent arrived in Spruce Meadows with the aim of
using this five-week-long tournament season as their selection trials
for WEG, and of the six riders who qualified for this class, next to go,
Antonio Maurer, was the first to post a clear round with Odamildo, an
11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by the world's #1 ranked sire,
Quidam de Revel. Having seen several riders incur time penalties, Lisa
Silverman from New York cut it close in her approach to the fence seven
vertical, one of the few places on the course that offered this option,
but Flubber Cocoy didn't share her enthusiasm and a refusal resulted in
unseating his rider and elimination.
Four further riders joined the, so far, North American jump-off
qualifiers: Eric Lamaze with his second ride, Ramiville, Yann Candele
with Verita van't Martendonkerf, Mexican Federico Fernandez with
Garibaldi, and Britain's Mark Armstrong riding Thesaura.
The jump-off order, determined by first round time rather than the
original starting order, saw Canada's Yann Candele in pole position and
he threw down the gauntlet with a well-steered, galloping round riding
the Belgian Warmblood Verita in 40.79 seconds. Eric Lamaze, with the
slower Narcotique, found an extremely acute angle to fence seven, but
couldn't match Candele's time with 41.54. Drawn third, the short-coupled
Irish-bred McGuinness has an athletic ground-covering stride that Rich
Fellers put to good use and raced for the finish and claimed what turned
out to be an invincible lead with 40.51 seconds.
Although he had the advantage of a second ride over the same course,
Lamaze was forced to make some stride adjustments in the roll-back to
fence eight, and lost valuable time with Ramiville for 41.29 seconds.
Never lacking in determination, Beezie Madden's round with Desilvio
despite tapping several rails, remained clear in 42.17 seconds which
eventually left the pair in 7th place. Although Mexicans Antonio Maurer
and Federico Fernandez pulled out all the stops, it was at the expense
of four faults for the latter and they finished in 6th and 8th places
respectively. Likewise, Mark Armstrong and Thesaura, a typically speedy
mare was unable to overhaul the time set by Rich Fellers and McGuinness
who claimed the C$12,500 red ribbon.
"It was pretty special. Going early in a class like with the caliber of
riders that were behind me. That's unusual in our sport for the winner
to come from the first few horses in the ring. What really made it extra
special was that I made some mistakes," Rich grinned, "but people didn't
notice. I actually lost a stirrup two different times. At my age, losing
a stirrup, I can tell you ..." He continued, "We geared for the World
Cup finals earlier in the year in Malaysia, and he got sick, and we
haven't shown since. Hopefully losing a stirrup won't become an on-going
problem, otherwise..." he laughed "I'm going to have to learn to do
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