August 28, 2016 — Langley B.C. — Top American rider Karl Cook on his twelve-year-old mare Tembla rode two clears in today’s Longines World Cup Qualifier to take the top spot. With a field of 26 riders it was a competitive class that had both legends of the sport and young up-and-comers. With seven nations represented and some of the sport’s top riders and horses, it was a thrilling event.
The first round started with hometown hero Brian Morton and Atlantis T who set the stage with a beautiful clear round. Atlantis T had not competed at all that week leading up to the class as the Dutch Warmblood gelding was traveling back from Europe. Brian remained the only clear until Canadian Brenda Riddell and Dutch Amouretta, who were eleventh in, also put in a lovely calculated ride for a second clear round.
It was the two Canadians fixing for a showdown until Audrey Coulter aboard Alex from the United States entered and put up a superb clear round, opening the door to wave of clean rounds. This included Nikolaj Hein Ruus of Denmark aboard Big Red, Karl Cook and Tembla, and Hadin Towell aboard Lucifer V.
The first round course caught many riders with either a rail or a time fault when tempted to get too careful. The tight time allowed, combined with big jumps, caught out many top ranking riders. Rich Fellers and Flexible rode a tight round, but caught both the rails in the combination coming home late in the course. Jennifer Gates rode a fantastic clear round on Pumped Up Kicks, but caught one heartbreaking time fault. Another favorite going into the class was Andrew Ramsey and Cocq a Doodle, the pair won both Wednesday and Friday’s grand prix classes.
Unfortunately, Andrew caught jump number eight which was also the only rail for Nayel Nasar and Lordon as well as Canadian Ben Asselin and Veyron, both heavily favored prior to the class. Jump number eight was a big vertical coming out of a tight corner to a big six-stride line. It was the gamble of taking it too wide and risking the time, or keeping it tight and risking the rail.
The jump off started off with another clear round from Brian Morton in a time of 45.77. He said at the press conference that he didn’t feel at a disadvantage going first because he knows the horse so well and he just stuck to his plan.
Brenda and Audrey both rode fast rounds but Brenda had two rails down, and Audrey one. Then Nikolaj and Big Red came in and rode fast with a sharp angle on a big oxer across the middle to take the lead, at 44.40 seconds.
Karl followed and mentioned in the press conference later that he saw Nikolaj’s angle at the oxer and saw he could push that angle even more. He did and kept the rail up for the winning clear round at 42.95 seconds. Hardin was last in, but caught a block on the wall early on, securing the win for Karl Cook and Tembla.