Lillie Keenan Claims $225,000 RBC Grand Prix at Major League Show Jumping Ottawa

Lillie Keenan Claims $225,000 RBC Grand Prix at Major League Show Jumping Ottawa

Ottawa, Ontario – Lillie Keenan of the United States laid claim to the $225,000 RBC Grand Prix on Sunday, August 27, to close out the Major League Show Jumping Ottawa tournament at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON.

It was a battle to the end as the 34-horse starting field was whittled down for the jump-off after 10 jumped clear over the track set by Canada’s Michel Vaillancourt on Wesley Clover Parks’ expansive grass field. The jump-off proved to be full of surprises as the riders laid everything on the line. Ireland’s Daniel Coyle, who had been riding a winning streak all week in Ottawa, had a refusal with Quintin while the last to go, hometown favourite Amy Millar of Perth, ON, suffered the same fate riding Truman.

In the end, only two riders managed to jump clear in the jump-off, with Keenan coming out ahead of fellow American Chloe Reid. Reid had posted the first clear round of the jump-off in a time of 46.71 seconds riding Crossover 4, but Keenan was able to shave more than a second off to take over the lead, crossing the timers in 45.17 seconds aboard Argan de Beliard. The sole four-fault jump-off round belonged to Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam who would have had the time, 44.56 seconds, if not for a rail down riding Cjoxx Z for owner Epic Stables LLC.

Keenan was proud of her partner, Argan de Beliard, a 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding owned by her family’s Chansonette Farm LLC.

“In this sport, you’re going to lose more than you win, and if you don’t take a risk you’re not going to win much,” said Keenan, 26, of New York, NY. “My horse is very brave.  He is a bigger horse with a big stride, so I left out to the combination. Jumping a combination fast is not riding it correctly, but in a jump-off, you have to take a risk. Once I hit that pole and I knew it stayed in the cups, I knew this was my grand prix to win and I had to go for it. My horse gave me everything and luck was on my side today.”

Both Keenan and Reid were competing at Wesley Clover Parks for the first time and vowed to return. Reid was riding Crossover 4, her 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding owned by Team Reid LLC.

“I took over the ride on ‘Crossy’ when he was six and we’ve done everything together, so our bond is really special,” said Reid, 26.  “I’ve never been here before, and the field is amazing.  I love a good, big grass ring.  I have to give Karen (Sparks) credit because everywhere you walk around, and any team member you meet, everyone has a smile on their face.  As someone who also puts on events, I know how hard it is to keep everyone smiling.”

Presenting sponsor RBC was represented by Marjolaine Hudon, RBC Regional President, Ontario North & East.

“What an event!” said Hudon. “It was top notch. To have this level of event at an international caliber and to bring these athletes together in Ottawa, our nation’s capital, that‘s why we are here. The work being done by Karen (Sparks) and the full team is worth supporting so we are very happy to be here today.”

For Wesley Clover Parks’ Executive Director, the hard work paid off.

“This is the gem of our year and is the culmination of a lot of hard work,” said Sparks. “Equestrian is at the heart of what we do. Wesley Clover Parks was originally built as an equestrian facility and it’s very important for us to make sure that it’s at the center of what we do. Then to have some of the best athletes in the world competing at the top level means so much. We have a beautiful field and we have been developing the venue for a decade now.  To see the venue performing as it should today was the culmination of a vision to get this back to where it needs to be.”

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Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments – World Class Show Jumping in Ottawa (