Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL win McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.55m at Spruce Meadows

29 June -The 'Canada One' Tournament at Spruce Meadows continued on Saturday featuring the $33,500 McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.55m with a win for Ireland's Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL. The small margin of six one-thousandths of a second separated Kenny from second place finisher Kirsten Coe aboard Czardas 30.

 Cristina Larangeiro of Portugal was the course designer for the McDaniel & Associates Cup, which saw 17 first round entries, and seven advancing to the jump-off in the Meadows on the Green. Darragh Kenny and Eva Castegren's Alpha VDL jumped the first clear round over the short course in 39.661 seconds for the win. Last to go, Kirsten Coe and Ilan Ferder's Czardas 30 came incredibly close to taking over the lead, but finished just shy in 39.667 seconds. Ben Asselin (CAN) and Linda Southern-Heathcott's Doremi completed the only other double clear round in 46.29 seconds to finish third.

 Alpha VDL, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Corland x Emilion, has had great success with Kenny in the irons this year and continued his progression by jumping to victory over his first 1.55m track on Saturday. Kenny knew that his horse had the foot speed to win and went for a fast, clear round after the first three riders had rails.

 "He is naturally a quick enough horse, and he has won some good classes already," Kenny noted. "I knew there were places I could be quick. I left out a stride in one line. I did six where most people did seven. I wanted to just have a good round and see where I ended up with that."

 Commenting on Alpha VDL's rise to the top, Kenny smiled, "His progression has been incredible. The horse has gone from jumping 1.40m classes at the start of Florida to winning grand prixs. He won a grand prix in Ocala, he won a grand prix in Saugerties, and now he won this 1.55m here. This is the biggest class he has ever had to jump, and he coped extremely well. It was great. His owner is here this week, so she got to see him, and it all worked out pretty well."

 Kenny explained that the course was good for Alpha VDL's first track at that level, noting, "Although it was big, it was a little bit spread out. That was good for him because it gave him time between the jumps. He is a very good horse. He is only nine years old, and he has just been getting better and better. Every time we step him up he just seems to do really well."

 "He is quite conventional to ride," Kenny added. "He is very careful, and he has a good style. Whatever way I ride him, he seems to like it, so it works good for both of us. He tries really hard to leave the jumps up and that is very important in this sport."

 Second place finisher Czardas 30 is also stepping up his game this summer, and rider Kirsten Coe was very happy with his finish. "It felt really good," Coe stated. "That horse has really been knocking on the door. He has been coming along really nicely and jumping a lot of clear rounds. He felt very confident tonight, and I took a chance. He has been progressively moving through the divisions since we have been here. We are just building him up, but we really think a lot of him."

 Coe took over the reins on Czardas 30 this winter after the 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Contendro x Grannus) showed briefly with McLain Ward. She explained that it has been a great match ever since, and her mount really stepped up in Saturday's final round.

 "The jump-off was quite fast. There was plenty of room to gallop," Coe noted. "I didn't see Darragh go, but obviously it was very close. It was nice to have a top finish."

 Final Results: $33,500 McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.55m

1 ALPHA VDL: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Corland x Emilion

DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Eva Castegren: 0/0/39.66

2 CZARDAS 30: Hanoverian / S / 11 Contendro x Grannus

KIRSTEN COE (USA), Ilan Ferder: 0/0/39.67

3 DOREMI: Belgian Warmblood / S / 11 Quidam de Revel x Cento

BEN ASSELIN (CAN), Linda Southern-Heathcott: 0/0/46.29

4 ZEUS DU BUISON Z: Zangersheide / G / 10 Zandor Z x Kodarco

SANTIAGO LAMBRE (MEX), Santiago Lambre: 0/4/38.24

5 CRISTALLO: Holstein / G / 16 Caretino x Cicero

RICHARD SPOONER (USA), Show Jumping Syndication Intl: 0/4/42.77

6 ANTARES: Dutch Warmblood / G / 9 Manhattan x Cavalier

PABLO BARRIOS (VEN), Stal Thijssen: 0/4/43.60

7 EXACTO LS: Warmblood / G / 9 Carthago Z x Accord II

DANIEL BLUMAN (COL), Blue Star Investments: 0/8/41.50

8 CARTIER: Oldenburg / G / 9 Cartoon x Sheyenne de Baugy

SALVADOR ONATE (MEX), Mario Onate: 1/86.76

9 BOBBY: Dutch Warmblood / G / 12 Concorde x Joost

CHRISTIAN SORENSEN (CAN), Christian Sorensen: 4/78.24

10 PROF DE LA ROQUE: Selle Francais / G / 11 Kannan x Damiro

DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Postage Stamp Farm LLC: 4/79.11

11 SASKIA: Oldenburg / M / 11 Kannan x Silviaire Silvio

NICOLAS PIZARRO SUAREZ (MEX), Monica Burrillo Eguia: 4/82.45

12 TIC TAC: Belgian Sport Horse / S / 11 Clinton x Darco

LESLIE HOWARD (USA), Jane Clark: 8/77.56

Source: Press release from Spruce Meadows.

Photo by Spruce Meadows Media Services.