Amy Millar Leaves Her Mark to Kick Off MLSJ CSI5* Action
The final week of the Tournament of Champions welcomed Major League Show Jumping (MLSJ) to the Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel International Ring on Thursday for respective 1.40m Two-Phase classes at CSI2* and CSI5* levels. After 69 entries in the 1.40m CSI5* Two-Phase, it was Canada on top as Amy Millar took the win aboard the Future Adventures entry Christiano.
Millar strategically placed her horse in the opening class to go for a victory and aim for a repeat double-clear in Saturday’s MLSJ Team Competition. “I thought I’d try repeating that performance [at Angelstone Tournaments a few weeks ago] by starting with a win today,” she remarked.
With the 10-year-old Brandenburg gelding (Canoso x Compliment), Millar raced around the speed phase, designed by Alan Wade (IRL) in 24.13 seconds and could not be caught by any other competitor as the class went on.
Canada also took second place on the podium with Sean Jobin capturing the second-best spot with Coquelicot vh Heuvelland Z, owned by Foxridge Farms Stables, and Alex Granato (USA) claimed third with Helios vh Nosahoeve, owned by Kisma Equestrian LLC.
“My horse was jumping very well today,” Millar continued. “When I got into the speed phase I wanted to challenge him. I know where I’m at with him so I can push him when I get to that team event. He just kept answering all my challenges by jumping better.”
After a successful MLSJ season with Team Eye Candy, Millar is confident and knows her horse can rise to another stellar performance in this week’s Team Competition. “He’s on form this week,” she said about Christiano. “I can ride aggressively when I have to and he’s going to pay attention and jump well.”
After spending the summer training in Europe under Eric Lamaze (CAN) and her father, Ian Millar (CAN), Amy Millar has learned new perspectives she is taking into the ring with her. “That’s what keeps people going so long in this sport,” she reflected. “There’s always room to improve and there’s always new things to learn. You might master riding a certain type of horse or in a certain style, but maybe that style doesn’t work on a different type of horse. The sport is also evolving. You have to make adaptations to your riding to be successful.”
Off to a winning start, Millar and her fellow CSI5* competitors will compete in Friday’s $73,800 Callidae CSI5* Welcome and $37,000 Lakemore Resort CSI5* Speed to set the stage for the $405,300 American Gold Cup CSI5* Grand Prix.
Traverse City is set to host one of the strongest fields the American Gold Cup CSI5* has ever seen, featuring a star-studded list of athletes joining for the fifth stage of the MLSJ series. Three of the top-15 riders in the world will have their sights set on claiming the coveted American Gold Cup.
World #3 Conor Swail (IRL), and world #8 Farrington top the rider list with contenders like Daniel Bluman (ISR), Shane Sweetnam (RL), Paul O’Shea (IRL) and Karl Cook (USA) putting the pressure on. World #16 McLain Ward (USA) will also be chasing the American Gold Cup title this week, an honor that has so far eluded him during his storied career.