Amy Millar Leaves Her Mark to Kick Off MLSJ CSI5* Action

The final week of the Tournament of Champions welcomed Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring on Thursday for respective 1.40m Two-Phase classes at CSI2* and CSI5* levels. After 69 entries in the 1.40m CSI5* Two-Phase, it was Canada on top as Amy Millar took the win aboard the Future Adventures entry Christiano.

Amy Millar (CAN) and Christiano in their winning presentation. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Millar strategically placed her horse in the opening class to go for a victory and aim for a repeat double-clear in Saturday’s MLSJ Team Competition. “I thought I’d try repeating that performance [at Angelstone Tournaments a few weeks ago] by starting with a win today,” she remarked.

With the 10-year-old Brandenburg gelding (Canoso x Compliment), Millar raced around the speed phase, designed by Alan Wade (IRL) in 24.13 seconds and could not be caught by any other competitor as the class went on.

Sean Jobin (CAN) and Coquelicot vh Heuvelland Z. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Canada also took second place on the podium with Sean Jobin capturing the second-best spot with Coquelicot vh Heuvelland Z, owned by Foxridge Farms Stables, and Alex Granato (USA) claimed third with Helios vh Nosahoeve, owned by Kisma Equestrian LLC.

“My horse was jumping very well today,” Millar continued. “When I got into the speed phase I wanted to challenge him. I know where I’m at with him so I can push him when I get to that team event. He just kept answering all my challenges by jumping better.”

Alex Granato (USA) and Helios vd Nosahoeve. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

After a successful MLSJ season with Team Eye Candy, Millar is confident and knows her horse can rise to another stellar performance in this week’s Team Competition. “He’s on form this week,” she said about Christiano. “I can ride aggressively when I have to and he’s going to pay attention and jump well.”

After spending the summer training in Europe under Eric Lamaze (CAN) and her father, Ian Millar (CAN), Amy Millar has learned new perspectives she is taking into the ring with her. “That’s what keeps people going so long in this sport,” she reflected. “There’s always room to improve and there’s always new things to learn. You might master riding a certain type of horse or in a certain style, but maybe that style doesn’t work on a different type of horse. The sport is also evolving. You have to make adaptations to your riding to be successful.”

Off to a winning start, Millar and her fellow CSI5* competitors will compete in Friday’s $73,800 Callidae CSI5* Welcome and $37,000 Lakemore Resort CSI5* Speed to set the stage for the $405,300 American Gold Cup CSI5* Grand Prix.

Traverse City is set to host one of the strongest fields the American Gold Cup CSI5* has ever seen, featuring a star-studded list of athletes joining for the fifth stage of the MLSJ series. Three of the top-15 riders in the world will have their sights set on claiming the coveted American Gold Cup.

World #3 Conor Swail (IRL), and world #8 Farrington top the rider list with contenders like Daniel Bluman (ISR), Shane Sweetnam (RL), Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Karl Cook (USA) putting the pressure on. World #16 McLain Ward (USA) will also be chasing the American Gold Cup title this week, an honor that has so far eluded him during his storied career.

Final Results: 1.40m CSI5* Two-Phase

1. CHRISTIANO: 2012 BRAND gelding by Canoso x Compliment
AMY MILLAR (CAN), Future Adventures: 0/0/24.13

2. COQUELICOT VH HEUVELLAND Z: 2012 ZANG stallion by Catoki x Cassini II
SEAN JOBIN (CAN), Foxridge Farms Stables: 0/0/25.03

3. HELIOS VD NOSAHOEVE: 2012 KWPN stallion by Numero Uno x London
ALEX GRANATO (USA), Kisma Equestrian, LLC: 0/0/25.87

4. ANGELIKA HERO Z: 2012 ZANG mare by Aganix du Seigneur x Carthago Z
SAM WALKER (CAN), Claire Wen: 0/0/26.37

5. CASSINA 64: 2009 OLDBG mare by Collado x Locantus
RALEIGH HILER (USA), Kurt Hiler: 0/0/26.68

6. ORWELL SCF: 2014 BWP gelding by Diktator van de Boslandhoeve x Heartbreaker
TANNER KOROTKIN (USA), Sandalwood Farms: 0/0/26.83

7. CALCIET EB Z: 2013 ZANG mare by Cornet Obolensky x Berlin
ALEXIS SOKOLOV (USA), Hot Horses LLC: 0/0/27.33

8. ETALON: 2009 KWPN gelding by Otangelo x Concorde
KYLE KING (USA), Christine Maclean: 0/0/27.40

9. CATINKA 25: 2009 OLDBG mare by Catoki x Luxano
VANESSA MANNIX (CAN), Vanessa Mannix: 0/0/27.40

10. HUMMER Z: 2014 KWPN gelding by Harley x Hemmingway
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/0/27.70

11. LOVELIGHT: 2011 HOLST stallion by Lord Z x Lordship
HILARY MCNERNEY (USA), Hilary McNerney: 0/0/28.23

12. ELIANTE Z: 2013 ZANG mare by Ermindo W x Namelus R
TOMAS YOFRE (ARG), Stellium Sport Horses LLC: 0/0/28.26

Kent Farrington Flies to First in CSI2* Two-Phase

Earlier in the day, Kent Farrington (USA) did what he does best, scoring a victory in the CSI2* Two-Phase with Chato Lou. With Haity McNerney’s 9-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Chacco Blue x Dobel’s Cento), Farrington sped around Alan Wade’s (IRL) speed phase in 30.16 seconds and could not be caught.

Kent Farrington (USA) and Chato Lou. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“You can’t really go slow with Chato Lou; he goes fast no matter what,” Farrington said of his ride, who has already scored him several FEI wins in their first year of partnership. “He’s competitive, he’s incredibly fast, and he’s got a lot of blood.”

Farrington has topped classes in Traverse City from the national grand prix level to the CSI5* grand prix level, and he is back to defend his 2019 American Gold Cup title, secured during the event’s inaugural year in Northern Michigan.

Kent Farrington (USA) and Chato Lou in their winning presentation. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

“I love to support the shows we have in North America and I love to support shows where the management and team is trying to raise the level and stay on par with higher-level sport,” Farrington continued. “I think they’re making a big effort here to stay current in the sport, raising the prize money, bringing in top course designers, a new set of jumps, and all the things that make a difference in holding a high- level competition.”

Conor Swail (IRL) and Fasole du Seigneur. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Second-place honors went to Conor Swail (IRL) and Fasole du Seigneur, owned by Hot Horses LLC, while TJ O’Mara (USA) claimed third aboard the Bluewater Farm-owned Fortaleza.

CSI2* competition resumes Friday with the $37,000 1.45m CSI2* Speed, followed by Saturday’s $37,000 Cabana Coast CSI2* Grand Prix.

TJ O’Mara (USA) and Fortaleza. Photo © Andrew Ryback Photography

Final Results: 1.40m Two Phase CSI 2*

1. CHATO LOU: 2013 OS gelding by Chacco Blue x Dobel’s Cento
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Haity McNerney: 0/0/30.16

2. FASOLE DU SEIGNEUR: 2011 SBS mare by Doremi x Ogano Sitte
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Hot Horses LLC: 0/0/32.38

3. FORTALEZA: 2010 KWPN gelding by Sydney x Gelha’s VDL Emilion
TJ O’MARA (USA), Bluewater Farm: 0/0/ 33.93

4. SELECT’S LONDON CALLING OLD: 2014 OS mare by London x Cordalme
ALEXIS BODO (USA), Alexis Bodo: 0/0/34.69

5. JOLENE AK: 2014 KWPN mare by Glasgow vh Merelsnest x Heartbreaker
CHRIS PRATT (CAN), Anna Beth Athey: 0/0/34.91

6. DIVA KAREF: 2013 mare by L’Arc de Triomphe x Cap Kennedy

7. HERMIONE DE L’HODEZ: 2013 SBS mare by Dayton Sitte x Cesar des Fontenis
NICKY GALLIGAN (IRL), Guardian Stables LLC: 0/0/35.22

8. MANHATTAN: 2011 AWR gelding by Metropolitan x Falkenhof’s Lancer
GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Gotham Enterprizes LLC: 0/0/35.61

9. HUNTERS CONLYPSO: 2008 HANN gelding by Contendro x Calypso II
LORGAN GALLAGHER (IRL), Dacantos Group: 0/0/36.40

10. IGOR CHAVANNAIS: 2014 SBS stallion x Hunter’s Scendro x Papillon Rouge
JUAN ORTIZ (VEN), McLain Ward: 0/0/36.45

11. CASILIA: 2012 HOLST mare by Casall x Quintero
TAYLOR HARRIS (USA), Harris Equestrian LLC: 0/0/36.81

12. COBALTO: 2010 OS stallion by Calido I x Concorde
ANNE BINGLER (USA), Anne Bingler: 0/0/37.19

Hunters Prepare for Grand Finale

During its second year, the Traverse City Hunter & Derby Finals will provide highlight classes during the final week of the Tournament of Champions. junior, amateur, and professional hunters will go head-to-head for $325,000 in prize money and are using the classes early in the week to acclimate horses to the environment and show off for the judges.

The Traverse City Hunter & Derby Finals include season-end classes for Green Hunters, Performance Hunters, Amateur-Owner Hunters, and Junior Hunters, culminating in the $25,000 Non-Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby Final, presented by Makoto Farm and the $100,000 Pro Traverse City Hunter Derby Final on Sunday.