Francois Lamontagne Wins $20,000 Open Welcome at Ottawa National

July 14, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario

Francois Lamontagne and Chanel du Calvaire led the victory gallop at Wesley Clover Parks following their win in the $20,000 Open Welcome Stake.
Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
Francois Lamontagne of Saint-Eustache, QC, and Chanel du Calvaire won the $20,000 Open Welcome Stake, presented by Wesley Clover Parks, on July 14 at the Ottawa National Horse Show.
Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography

Ottawa, Ontario – Francois Lamontagne of Saint-Eustache, QC, claimed the first major victory of the 2016 Ottawa National Horse Show with a win in the $20,000 Open Welcome, presented by Wesley Clover Parks, on Thursday, July 14.

The Ottawa National Horse Show, running July 13-17, and the CSI2* Ottawa International Horse Show, to be held July 20-24, together form the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments and attract top riders and horses from throughout Canada and beyond to Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.

A total of 38 of those top horse and rider combinations contested the $20,000 Open Welcome.  Lamontagne and Chanel du Calvaire were one of seven combinations to leave all the rails in place over the track set by Michel Vaillancourt, who was also the course designer at the 2015 Pan American Games, and qualify for the jump-off.

In what became an impressive family affair, ten-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar of Perth, ON, qualified two mounts for the jump-off while his son, Jonathon Millar, and daughter-in-law, Kelly Soleau-Millar, also qualified one horse each for the tie-breaker.  Ian’s daughter and defending champion Amy Millar, who was victorious in the Open Welcome in 2015 riding Heros, was simultaneously competing in Aachen, Germany, having just been named to the Canadian Show Jumping Team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Ian set the pace as the first rider to return for the jump-off aboard Baranus, owned by the Baranus Group.  The pair finished on four faults in a time of 43.20 seconds.

Lamontagne immediately followed in the line-up, and shaved more than two seconds off Ian’s time to finish in 40.89 seconds, but at the expense of one rail for four faults.  When Melissandre Lincourt, Kelly Soleau-Millar, Jonathon Millar and Laurie Bucci all failed to produce a clear round, Lamontagne’s four-fault performance held up for the win.

“I was second to go so I tried my best,” said Lamontagne of his performance with his eight-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare.  “After my jump-off, even with the rail, I was still really happy with my mare.  I thought the worst case scenario, I’m fourth, fifth or sixth, but nobody was clear so we won it!”

With eight faults in a time of 43.63 seconds, third place went to Soleau-Millar of Wellington, FL, and Itty Bitty.  Fourth was awarded to Lincourt of Montreal, QC, and Just Stella L, owned by Gabrielle Pelchat.

For Lamontagne, riding in the show ring at Wesley Clover Parks is familiar territory.  The Quebec-based rider grew up competing at the facility and was happy to return when the Wesley Clover Parks Foundation, headed by Karen Sparks, brought equestrian competition back to the nation’s capital in 2015 following a four-year absence.

“When I was a kid I came often; I was really excited that this show came back,” said Lamontagne. “With Karen [Sparks] and this organization, it’s very serious and professional.  All of the effort and the money they put into the facility and into the footing are really important.  I think Karen deserves a lot of credit, respect, and thanks for this show.”

Lamontagne and his customers have brought 12 horses to the Ottawa National Horse Show.  Lamontagne will be competing in featured classes throughout the week including the $7,500 Lynn Millar Memorial Speed Derby, beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 15.  Weekend highlight classes include the $50,000 Brookstreet Hotel Grand Prix on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and the $10,000 Canadian Hunter Derby, sponsored by Topline Trailers, on Sunday at 2 p.m.

To find out more about the Ottawa National and CSI2* Ottawa International Horse Shows, please click here, visit www.ottawaequestriantournaments.com or follow Wesley Clover Parks on Facebook here.  Everyone is encouraged to share their Wesley Clover Parks experiences using #TheParks.

$20,000 Open Welcome – Thursday, July 14

            Rider                                 Hometown                  Horse                                      Faults     Time

1.         Francois Lamontagne        Saint-Eustache, QC     Chanel du Calvaire                  0:4          40.89

2.         Ian Millar                          Perth, ON                    Baranus                                   0:4          43.20

3.         Kelly Soleau-Millar           Wellington, FL            Itty Bitty                                  0:8          43.63

4.         Melissandre Lincourt        Montreal, QC              Just Stella L                             0:8          43.88

5.         Jonathon Millar                 Perth, ON                    Cobalt                                      0:8          47.77

6.         Laurie Bucci                      Saint-Jean, QC            GGN Stauffenberg                  0:12        45.65

7.         Ian Millar                          Perth, ON                    Vittorio 8                                 0:15        60.56

8.         Jonathon Millar                 Perth, ON                    Bonzay                                    1

9.         Jonathon Millar                 Perth, ON                    Daveau                                    1

10.       Ian Millar                          Perth, ON                    Teddy du Bosquetiau              4