Weishaupt wins show jumping’s biggest purse at CP International in Calgary’s Spruce Meadows

The biggest bag in show jumping, a cool $1-million, went to Philipp Weishaupt on Sunday, a German riding LB Convall, who won the CP International in the Spruce Meadows Masters from the narrowest of margins over Portugal’s Luciana Diniz.

The victory capped a remarkable turnaround for Weishaupt, who came in June to ride at the National, only to have an emergency appendectomy that prevented him from competing. Doctors advised Weishaupt to take six weeks off to recuperate. Rather, he took a six-day break and resumed riding. In the long run, the payoff — and the payday — were worth it, ” he said.

“I feel now — with no appendix — much milder,” Weishaupt joked. “Since then, I am actually on a fantastic road. I had, for a few weeks, a few difficulties. It was painful. I probably started riding too premature. But now it is totally fine. The hospital did a excellent job on me{}”

Weishaupt was the only rider from the star-studded area of 40 to go double-clear.

However, it was oh-so-close in the end. The margin of victory was the only rail that Diniz, riding Match For Fun 13, took down on her closing fence of the next round.

Due to having the best time in the first round, Diniz was the last of the 12 riders competing in the second round to go into the ring. She had been apparent all the way and had the best time before that last minor mishap.

The crowd of over 87,000 let out a collective gasp when that last rail came down. Diniz, competing in Spruce Meadows for the first time in her career, had to settle for the second-place cash of $600,000.

Course designer Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela set a very challenging course for the first round, which generated only seven rides. The majority of the damage came on the last combination, which took one top rider after another.

Palacios’s victims comprised the yearlong defending champion Scott Brash of Britain, who had been clear until the last moments, but took down one rail and did not qualify for the next round because of time.

The same mix also eliminated the world’s No. 1 rider, Kent Farrington of the USA on Voyeur, Lorenzo De Luca of Italy on Limestone Grey, also Gregory Wathelet of Belgium on Eldorado Van Het Vijverhof, who earlier this season won in Aachen, the first occasion in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

The best Canadian on Sunday was Eric Lamaze on Fine Lady 5, who finished fifth. Lamaze was the only other rider besides Weishaupt to finish the second round without needing a fence. However, Lamaze carried four jumping faults from the opening round, and incurred a time error in Round 2, for exceeding the time limit of 66 seconds by 0.35 of a second. Lamaze settled for a $180,000 cash back.

Weishaupt confessed that what seemed like a tiny bit of bad luck — his horse threw a shoe at the warm-up ring before Round 2 — might have actually helped in his victory. Weishaupt was initially scheduled to ride eighth in the next round, ahead of American riders McLain Ward.

Instead, he was pushed back four locations in the sequence while LB Convall was being reshod. That, based on Weishaupt, allowed him to scout Ward’s ride and made him rethink his own approach, a move that finally paid off in the success.

“I mean, you can be in shape whatever you need, but in the long run, it must be your day,” Weishaupt said. “Now, if I move in my purchase, I’d be before McLain and I’d do one less [stride] before the mix and most likely the exact same thing would have occurred to me as what happened to McLain’s horse [which took a railway].

“So you can be as ready as you need, but you’ve got to be lucky.”

Ward ended third.

Weishaupt said his horse managed the hard combinations “pretty much as you would a gymnastic line.

“He’s just so much talent. He’s got a little character occasionally and wants to know that I am the boss — as sometimes he likes to take over. But once he is fighting for you, he moves through the flame. He is really amazing — such a fantastic horse.”

1 day earlier, the United States won the BMO Nations Cup, ahead of Brazil and Germany. Canada finished fourth at the event.

In terms of Sunday’s rewarding victory, Weishaupt confessed that the prize money will be convenient, but cautioned: “Fundamentally it only feeds our steady for one-and-a-half months. We’ve got a big operation. It’s terrific. The prize money is very good, but the game is also extremely expensive. Put it this way: I am not likely to spend another six weeks [celebrating] in Hawaii.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail