Scott Brash and Bon Ami tiook home $30,000 for winning the $100,000 FEI World Cup Grand Prix at Toronto's Royal Horse Show. © Michelle C. Dunn
"My horse was a little bit sharp yesterday but tonight he was much more relaxed," said Brash of the Belgian bred horse.
"After the jump-off I came out of the ring slightly disappointed in myself. My horse was jumping fantastic and I had walked the last line in seven strides and planned to do seven strides, and I ended up going in eight strides where I could easily have gone in seven. I didn't think I was going to be fast enough but luckily I was!"
Irish eyes will surely be smiling as Conor Swail and Dermott Lennon took second and third respectively.
Swail rode Lansdowne to a fault-free jump-off time of 42.4 seconds, mere fractions behind the leader.
For Swail, who is from Crossgar, the runner-up place at such a top level Grand Prix is another high point on the upward curve of success he has been achieving with the Dutch-bred stallion since last year, and the combination missed taking the top prize at Toronto by just under half a second.
"He's not a particularly fast horse in the jump-off," said Swail. "He has a big stride, though, and I was of two minds on how fast to go. I knew there were some fast riders to come behind me. I thought if I had a nice, smooth round, I could maybe try and catch Scott. I'm very pleased."
Lennon, from Loughbrickland, has also been on a roll with the Woods Rosbotham's gelding Hallmark Elite for the last few years.
The 2011 Canadian Show Jumping Champion, Yann Candele of Schomberg, Ontario, was the highest placed Canadian, finishing in fourth with Susan Grange's Game Ready.
Tuesday night's winner, Dermott Lennon of Ireland, finished third in the FEI World Cup Grand Prix with Hallmark Elite. © Michelle Dunn
Holzer is well on the way - taking the Grand Prix with an overall score of 69.319%. Victoria Winter finished in second with Proton and Gary VanderPloeg took third with Degas.
"It was Breaking Dawn's first really big competition," said Holzer. "This horse just never disappoints. He is a class act, and he always goes in the ring and tries his best."
Riding Cindy and Neil Ishoy's 17-year-old Baden-Wurttemburger gelding Proton, Victoria Winter finished second, scoring 65.809%, following a very consistent test which featured a lovely finish with a strong centerline piaffe and passage.
Gary Vander Ploeg rode Degas, Jean Vander Ploeg's 12-year-old Oldenburg gelding sired by Donnerhall, to third place with a score of 65.426%. Jacqueline Brooks rode her long-time partner Gran Gesto, the 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding owned by Brinc Ltd and Anne Welch, to fourth overall with 65.170%.
In fifth place, with a score of 64.468%, was Evi Strasser and her 11-year-old Oldenburg gelding Action Tyme, sired by Aktuell.
Simone Williams rode Wunder Ein, a 13-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Simore, Margaret and Robert Williams, to a sixth place finish.
Dressage competition at the Royal continues tomorrow, Thursday, November 10 during the evening show with the Grand Prix Freestyle.
Ashley Holzer and Breaking Dawn win the Grand Prix test at CDI3* the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. © Cealy Tetley
Dressage culminates with the CDI3* Freestyle to Music on Thursday night, presented by Dominion Regalia, a supplier of ribbons to the Royal since the Fair's inception in 1922.
$40,000 FEI Dressage CDI3* Grand Prix Phase presented by Dominion Regalia
RIDER / HOMETOWN / HORSE / PERCENTAGE
1. Ashley Holzer / Bronx, NY / Breaking Dawn / 69.319%
2. Victoria Winter / Toronto, ON / Proton / 65.809%
3. Gary VanderPloeg / King City, ON / Degas / 65.426%
4. Jacqui Brooks / Mount Albert, ON / Gran Gesto / 65.170%
5. Evi Strasser / Ste. Adele, QC / Action Tyme / 64.468%