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Canada Wins $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN, CSIO****

WELLINGTON, FL - March 12, 2004 – “I’ve spent a bit of time in Palm Beach over the last few years and this was the greatest event I’ve ever been involved with here,” said Eric Lamaze, 36,of Schomberg, Ontario. “What was so unbelievable tonight is that everybody who came to support their country, whether they had a great day or a bad day, they were cheering just as loud.” Indeed a standing-room only throng of 13,000 cheered for every rider in an electric two-rounds of show jumping contested by six international squads with the Canadian Team of Lamaze, Ainsley Vince, Harold Chopping, and Ian Millar claiming victory in the $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN, CSIO**** tonight at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club in Wellington, FL.

The United States team of Beezie Madden, Laura Kraut, McLain Ward, and Norman Dello Joio placed second. Argentina was third, Mexico and France tied for fourth, and Ireland finished fifth.

Seven-time Olympian Ian Millar who has competed in more than 90 Nations’ Cups proved to be the Canadian team’s hero even after he was the drop score in the First Round. Millar rode a clean trip in the final make-or-break round that clinched the title. Canada has not won a Nations’ Cup since the 2000 Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. Tonight’s winning team was a repeat of that squad, except for Chopping taking over Jay Hayes’ slot. “It’s been a little bit of a drought,” said Millar, 57, of Halifax, Nova Scotia. “That only makes it all the sweeter. We’re hungry, real hungry.”

After completing the standard First Round Nations’ Cup course of 12 fences, each team was allowed to drop the score of the rider earning the most faults. On the US team, Madden aboard Authentic went clean, Kraut on Allegiance had four faults, Dello Joio aboard Glasgow had four penalties, and the drop score was Ward’s eight-fault ride on Sapphire, giving the US eight faults in all for the first round. “I was lucky I had a very good team,” said Ward, 28 of Brewster, NY. “My horse was jumping beautiful and got a little green at the last triple and that was a little unexpected for me. I didn’t react quick enough to it. I was quite disappointed with my individual performance.”

Canada also totaled eight faults in the first round – Lamaze aboard Tempete V/H Lindehof had four, Vince riding Catch 22 had four, Chopping on Kathleen went clean, and Millar was the drop score with six.

The French team had 12 faults with riders Henri Prudent, Yann Candele, Eric Navet, and Yannick Patron. Mexico earned 16, with Guillermo Williams, Simon Nizri, Ivan Rakowsky and Jose Antonio Chedraui. Argentina also had 16, with teammates Ramiro Quintana, Max Amaya, Eduardo Braun, and Federico Sztyrle. Ireland racked up 34, with riders Conor Swail, Niall Grimes, Shane Carey, and Kevin Babington.

In Round Two, per the format developed by Samsung and the FEI to accommodate TV, each team sent in only three riders, selected by the team and their chefs. As each rider tackled the course again, the scores began to foreshadow the outcome.

Both Madden and Kraut on the US team had a foot in the water and added eight more faults to tally up 16. Canada’s Vince chalked up four and Chopping again went clean, putting Canada ahead with only 12 faults. France added another eight for a total of 20. Mexico added eight, for a total of 24. Argentina also accumulated eight more for 24. Ireland added 16, racking up 50.

Each team then sent in their anchor rider to determine the final results. Ireland’s Kevin Babington aboard Sydney jumped clean but had a time fault, securing his team’s last place finish with a total of 51. Sztyrle riding Who Knows Lily went in for Argentina and went clear, which bumped his team up to their third place finish. Chedraui on L.G. Xallapam galloped in to the wild cheers of an entire section of fans, and had a rail down giving Mexico a total of 28 faults. Navet had two knockdowns for eight, giving France 28, tying with Mexico for fourth.

The excitement was palpable as the last riders for the US and Canada were set to go. To stay in contention for the win, the US needed a clear round and Dello Joio produced it, leaving the US with 16 total faults. Millar was the last two go – if he cleared the course, Canada would win, a rail down would mean a tie and a jump-off, two rails meant second place. Millar went clean and clinched the Nations’ Cup title for Canada.

“My first round wasn’t pristine and I had a little issue with the Cosequin jump,” said Millar. The team met to see whether it would be Millar or Lamaze that anchored the team, and decided to go with the senior veteran. Millar said he knew that the US would be faster if he tied the score for a jump-off and he wanted to avoid that situation. He credited Promise Me for his performance. “I was thrilled with his jumping. He really came back and fought the good fight, jumped the difficult triple combination. I was very pleased. The lights were the wild card. Funny things happened out there with the lights.”

Chopping, riding the nine-year-old mare Kathleen, was the only Canadian to post a double-clear performance. He agreed with Millar on the difficulty. “The lights were really the tricky part. You didn’t want to leave anything uncovered. I just tried to be aggressive with her and she’s a very good girl. She tries very hard, and if anything a horse would make a mistake because they weren’t sure where they were looking.”

Vince, 28, of Milton, Ontario, the winner of the Canadian League who will represent her country in the upcoming World Cup Final, said it was actually her first time ever riding her long-time partner Catch 22 under lights. “I was very nervous about tonight. We were solid both rounds. Obviously you hope for a clear round, but four faults is still solid. I was happy with the horse.”

Canada’s Chef d’Equipe Danny Foster said, “We are developing a nice depth in horse/rider combinations. The best horses we have in the country right now are with the best riders – an unusual situation for us. Even beyond the Olympics we’re going to be heard from a lot in the future. We’re building something that will continue to grow. We’re going to have a lot of people to choose from and it looks good for us. There were slow years lately, waiting to rebuild, and now we feel we’re on a roll. This is what we needed to get some proof to keep our confidence up.”

Though Canada did not qualify a team for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the country will be allowed to send one rider. “Two phases of the Olympics are under the lights on grass, so anybody thinking in that direction, it’s an excellent prep,” Millar pointed out.

For the Americans, it wasn’t lights, it was water that proved to be the team’s downfall. Two US riders earned penalties over the water jump in the second round, which cost the US a third consecutive win in the Nations’ Cup since it was first held in Wellington in 2002.

“At the water I just under-rode it the second time,” admitted Madden. “Other than that, he jumped great.”

“It was the second round and I just didn’t give it the respect that I needed to,” explained Kraut of her splash. “I was more worried about riding the rest of the course.”

“We’ve been here a little bit too long jumping these waters,” said Chef d’Equipe Frank Chapot. “The more you jump the water, sooner or later you’re going to be in it. That’s what got us beat. “

In the hot seat as the anchor, and able to produce a stellar performance that secured second place for the US, Dello Joio said the crowd’s enthusiasm was a positive factor for him. “It seemed like the crowd was very educated and they were rooting for all the riders. It was a nice feeling. It was a nice crowd.”

Millar noted that the momentum building around this CSIO is impressive. “If Stadium Jumping and Gene Mische stay committed to it, there’s just no telling where this thing could go,” he said. “People could be lined up all over the place to get in. We see this at Spruce Meadows, of course, and Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair, and we see the same thing building here.”

Capping off the evening, Tom Wenham, the Mayor of Wellington stopped by to congratulate the Canadian team. “We’re proud of you. We were all up here rooting for you and we’re really proud of what you did. You’re always welcome. I’m proud to be the mayor of this community and proud to have you all here.”

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Show days for the 2004 Winter Equestrian Festival are Wednesday through Sunday. Gates open at 8:00 am. Ticket Prices: Wednesdays are free to everyone; Children 12 and under are admitted free every day; Young Adults 13 to 18 and Seniors are $5 on Thursday through Sunday; Adults are $5 on Thursday and Friday, $10 on Saturday, and $15 on Sunday. The Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club is located on Pierson Road off South Shore Boulevard. For additional information, visit or call 561-793-5867.


March 10 - 14 CSIO United States Cosequin Finale CSIO***

March 18 - 21 Zada Enterprises WEF Dressage Classic CDI***/Y

(Qualifier for Olympic SelectionTrials)

March 24 - 28 Tampa Bay Classic CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)

March 30 - April 3 Tournament of Champions CSI-W (Bob Thomas Equestrian Center)

April 3 Budweiser American Invitational

(Raymond James Stadium)


March 12 $50,000 Samsung Nations' Cup, presented by CN, CSIO****

March 14 $100,000 Cosequin U.S. Open Jumper Championship, CSIO****

March 28 $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa, presented by Kilkenny/ICH, CSI-W

April 3 $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational,

Presented by Publix and The Tampa Tribune


Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte, NC

April 9 -11 Charlotte Jumper Classic CSI****

April 11 $150,000 Grand Prix of Charlotte For the Charlotte Bobcat Cup



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