Santiago Lambre (BRA) knew he had some speed demons following him as first to go in the $37,000 CSI3* Speed, so he didn’t leave anything to chance. In the first FEI class of the Traverse City Horse Fall Tournament of Champions, he piloted Comtess 202, owned by Mario Onate, to a blazing-fast finish in 60.84 seconds, a time that no other pair could catch.
Lambre has had the ride aboard Comtess 202, Mario Onate’s 11-year-old Westphalian mare (Comme Il Faut x Pilot), for a year and a half and has already accumulated top placings internationally. Onate purchased the horse from Ludger Beerbaum’s stable and the mare has not disappointed.
Over a track set by Michel Vaillancourt (CAN), 21 entries tried their hand at catching the top spot. The course proved difficult as only seven pairs navigated to clear efforts.
“I was number one with Comtess and I knew I had fast riders behind me,” Lambre said of his strategy going in first. “Sometimes it’s good to go in the beginning and try my best.” His best involved leaving out strides wherever possible and turning tightly around the winding track.
When asked whether he expected someone to catch his time, he said, “Always a chance. Shane Sweetnam and Samuel [Parot] are always dangerous, but in the end there weren’t so many clear rounds.” Lambre was correct regarding who he thought might come close, but incorrect about just how fast they would go. Parot (CHI) claimed second and third places with Captain Z and Buga Z, respectively, and Sweetnam (IRL) ended up fourth with Birdy du Thot.
“I love to come here to Traverse City,” Lambre remarked during the first week of his three-week stay at Flintfield horse Park. “It’s beautiful weather and the facility is amazing. They’re improving every year. I’m going to stay three weeks until the [American] Gold Cup and for sure will come back in the future.”
International show jumping resumes Friday with the $37,000 CSI3* Staller Welcome Stake and concludes with Sunday’s $138,600 CSI3* Southern Arches Grand Prix.
Results: $37,000 CSI3* Speed
1. COMTESS 202: 2011 WESTF mare by Comme Il Faut x Pilot
SANTIAGO LAMBRE (BRA), Mario Onate: 0/60.84
2. CAPTAIN Z: 2012 ZANG gelding by Calvino Z x Voltaire
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 0/62.72
3. BUGA Z: 2010 ZANG gelding by Chester Z x Quality Touch Z
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Samuel Parot: 0/62.80
4. BIRDY DU THOT: 2011 SF mare by Magic D’Elle x Le Tot De Semilly
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Ashley Vogel: 0/65.30
5. IVARO N: 2013 KWPN gelding by Elvaro x Celano
LISA GOLDMAN-SMOLEN (USA), Barbara Disko: 0/67.64
6. INAJOTTIE WB: 2013 mare by Carrera VDL x Indoctro
SAMANTHA MACKENZIE, Samantha Mackenzie: 0/69.90
7. MANHATTAN VAN’T LEEUWERIKENHOF: 2012 BWP gelding by Emerald x Kashmir Van Schuttershof
FILIP DE WANDEL (BEL), Five Way Farm LLC: 0/70.09
8. SOVEREIGN: 2006 SF stallion by Frontal x Galoubet A
LISA GOLDMAN-SMOLEN (USA), Barbara Disko: 4/64.16
9. QUIMI DEL MASET: 2014 CDE gelding by Quasimodo Z x Indred del Masset
DANIEL BEDOYA (BOL), Monica Hanks: 4/66.20
10. CHRYSTAL BLUE: 2011 OLDBG gelding by Chacco Blue x Calvaro Z
SAMUEL PAROT (CHI), Ilan Ferder: 4/68.33
11. KIRSCHWASSER SCF: 2010 BWP gelding by Amaretto D’Arco x Nabab De Reve
FREDDIE VAZQUEZ (PUR), Freddie Vazquez: 4/69.09
12. SIERRA: 2010 DWB mare by Stolzenburg x Lambrusco ASK
ELIZA LEHRMAN (USA), Five Way Farm LLC: 4/69.33
Daily Planet Makes Headlines in USHJA Hunters
Daily Planet is enjoying his new career as a hunter. During the Traverse City Fall Tournament of Champions in 2021, the QBS Equestrian-owned gelding jumped to a top finish in the USHJA 5-year-old Jumper Championships, but the now 6-year-old Oldenburg (Diacontinus x Queen’s Evidence) has found his calling in the hunter ring. The young horse claimed championship honors in the 2’9”/3’ USHJA Hunters during week one of the 2022 Tournament of Champions.
“He jumped four clean rounds in the 5-year-olds,” remarked Michael Meller of QBS Equestrian. “Obviously not fast. We took him after to Tryon and did the 5 & Under Hunters for the first time, and he was champion two weeks in a row there.”
The transition from jumper to hunter has been as smooth as could be, and Kamille Marcussen has been in the irons for all of it. “It was really easy,” she said of the switch between disciplines. “It was no different and we didn’t change anything. He doesn’t get any extra prep, he just has braids in his hair.
“He’s so simple,” Marcussen continued. “He’s a special one like that. No spur, rubber bit, and he couldn’t be more simplistic. Overall, from jumpers into hunters, his brain is incredible. He’s not even a baby horse. He’s an old soul. Everything he does is great.”
“He’s the easiest hunter I’ve ever had,” Meller concluded. “He does not have to go to the ring [before he shows]. He gets hacked the day before, he walks up to the ring, jumps three jumps and goes around. He’s special.”
Earlier Thursday morning, Marcussen took home the tricolor with Bel Air in the 3’3” Green Hunters. Bel Air, also owned by QBS Equestrian, didn’t look promising this time last year, but Meller saw the potential and gave the horse the time it needed to blossom into a champion.
“I got him back in October and he needed to become a horse again,” Meller remarked about Bel Air. “We spent the entire Florida season teaching him what ‘in the ring’ is. All his training was outside the ring. He had no idea what his job was and I was adamant about this horse being a great horse. We just kept putting him in the ring at WEF and at the end of the season, when he was ready to show, he won. He’s been winning ever since. He’s just a good horse and he’s everyone’s favorite to take care of. He wants to perform.”
Marcussen has ridden Bel Air to champion or reserve champion at every show he’s been to this summer, with the first week of the fall series being no exception.
“All credit to Kamille because she truly stuck with it even though he was not looking like it was going to happen,” Meller said. “Anyone else would’ve thought I was crazy, and he came along very well.”
Meller and his team have enjoyed coming to Traverse City and are pleased to be back for the 2022 Tournament of Champions. “I think the Morrisseys have done an amazing job,” he said. “The climate suits horses. It’s perfect riding weather. Every year I come here, the improvements they make are amazing. It’s rider friendly and horse friendly. They put the money back into it to produce a venue that’s rare in the United States. It’s a horse show; it’s for the horses. The footing and stabling should be a prerequisite to running horse shows and they honor that.”
Tammy Provost and Exhale were reserve champions in the 2’9”/3’ USHJA Hunters, while Don Stewart’s Shwayze and Megan Ghere took reserve championship honors in the 3’3” Green Hunters.
Hunter riders are preparing for the second inaugural Traverse City Hunter and Derby Finals, set to take place during the final week of the Tournament of Champions with more than $325,000 on offer.