Sam Walker of Nobleton, ON, claimed both first and second places in the $10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by MarBill Hill Farm, on Friday, July 19, at the CSI3* Ottawa International II at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.
Seventeen entries contested the competition open to riders aged 25 and under with seven horse-and-rider combinations jumping clear and advancing to the jump-off. Walker, 17, was the first rider to return for the tie-breaker aboard Carlitzek N. He laid down a time to beat of 37.39 seconds that would go untouched by the remaining competitors, including himself on his second mount, Gangster, who stopped the timers in 37.85 seconds to finish runner-up.
“These horses are pretty brand new to me, and I’m really happy with how they both went today,” said Walker, 17, who began riding Carlitzek N and Gangster earlier for their owner, Castlefield Sport Horse Inc.
“I thought the course was fantastic,” continued Walker, who came into the Under 25 Grand Prix as the defending champion, having swept all three of the top spots in the 2018 edition. “Olaf Petersen Jr. always builds great courses. I enjoyed the course because I thought it asked just enough technically, and I thought it was big enough height-wise. The jump-off was fun. There were some tight turns and places where you could really go fast and take out strides.”
While only tenths of a second separated his two mounts, Walker credited taking one less stride to the final fence with Carlitzek N as well as the horse’s natural foot speed with clinching the victory.
“Carlitzek N is kind of catty, really small and fast,” said Walker of the nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cassito x Quite Capitol). “I can turn tight and take out strides all at the same time. He’s super sharp up front. He’s so much fun to ride. He’s like a dirt bike.
“Gangster’s a little bit bigger,” continued Walker, speaking about his second mount, an eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Spartacus x Indoctro). “His stride is a little bit slower, but I can still turn tight on him and really sort of go for it. He’s a really game horse with a lot of scope, and at only eight years old I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”
As one of Canada’s top junior riders across the hunter, jumper, and equitation divisions, the future also looks bright for Walker, who looks forward to coming to the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments each year.
“The horse show is amazing – the facility, the footing,” said Walker. “I can’t compliment the organizers enough; it’s absolutely incredible. Show management is amazing. Stabling is amazing. My horses always jump nicely here.”
Also earning two of the top five spots on the leaderboard was 23-year-old Stevie Murphy of Charlottetown, PE. Murphy finished in third with a time of 38.96 seconds riding Cabaliero 2 and fourth with a time 39.96 seconds aboard EBAB RK. Both horses are owned by Martie Murphy. Rounding out the top five with the only other double clear performance was Caroline Di Vittorio aboard Auburn des Rosiers, owned by Victory Four Sporthorses Ltd., in a time of 40.01 seconds.
The CSI3* Ottawa International II continues through Sunday, July 21. The featured event of the week, the $134,000 CSI3* Grand Prix, presented by the Brookstreet Hotel, kicks off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 20. The $15,000 National Grand Prix, presented by CIBC Wood Gundy, will close out the Ottawa International II on Sunday, July 21, at 2:30 p.m.
Admission to the CSI3* Ottawa International II is free, with donations to Wesley Clover Parks’ retired horse program gratefully accepted. Spectators are encouraged to come out and enjoy all of the family-friendly activities that the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments have to offer.
Find more information on all of the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments online at www.OttawaEquestrianTournaments.com, and find the latest updates, news, and photos by following Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments on Facebook here.
$10,000 Under 25 Grand Prix, presented by MarBill Hill Farm – Friday, July 19
Rider Hometown Horse Faults Time
1. Sam Walker Nobleton, ON Carlitzek N 0:0 37.39
2. Sam Walker Nobleton, ON Gangster 0:0 37.85
3. Stevie Murphy Charlottetown, PE Cabaliero 2 0:0 38.96
4. Stevie Murphy Charlottetown, PE EBAB RK 0:0 39.96
5. Caroline Di Vittorio Ottawa, ON Auburn des Rosiers 0:0 40.01
6. Anthony Sauriol Laval, QC PBM Cascada 0:8 38.09
7. Barbara Ruziska United States Dynamite 0:8 42.15
8. Ellie Kimmell United States Bente P 4
9. Kendra Martenfeld Schomberg, ON Koning Boudewijn 4
10. Christine Carlsen King City, ON Mise le Meas 4
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