From a large field of 55 horses, only four qualified for the jump-off over an extremely testing course in the 1m60 Tourmaline Oil Cup worth over $137,000 at the Spruce Meadows Masters'.
In fact, after several riders suffered unfortunate falls, including Canada's Tiffany Foster, one round exemplified showjumping perfection, that of Zuccero (VDL Zirocco Blue x Caretino Z) – the very handsome 10-year-old grey Holsteiner stallion – ridden impeccably by Sweden's Rolf-Göran Bengtsson. Sadly, the pair incurred one penalty for exceeding a tight time limit so did not line-up for the jump-off contested by just four combinations, but still finished in the prize money, seventh overall.
A former winner of the CP International Grand Prix presented by Rolex, and winner of the $1,000,000 bonus at Spruce Meadows in 2015 riding Hello Sanctos, Britain's Scott Brash rode Hello Jefferson to a brilliant clear round in a time of 45.92. The pair had, however, left the door open to the fleet-footed mare HH Azur, under the saddle of McLain Ward, who never fails to accept a challenge, and they crossed the line having stopped the clock almost five seconds faster.
Slotting into second place in a time of 41.04, Daniel Deusser riding the stunning Selle Français stallion Bingo Ste. Hermelle (Number One d'Iso x Diamant de Semilly), bred by Raymond and Adeline Lefèvre of Elevage Ste. Hermelle.
Two combinations that qualified for the jump-off but decided not to start were Israel's Daniel Bluman riding Ladriano Z, and Belgium's Nicola Philippaers with Katanga vh Dingeshof.
Breeding info: Zuccero was bred in Germany by Hanno Köhnke and was formerly ridden up to 1m45 by Bart van der Maat (NED).
Hello Jefferson (2009/BWP/g Cooper vd Heffinck x Irco Mena [SWB]), bred by Bernard Mols from Zoersel, Belgium, and formerly ridden by Charlotte Philippe (BEL).
HH Azur (2006/SBS/m Thunder vd Zuuthoeve x Sir Lui [Oldbg]) bred by Nathalie Beaufort from Pervijze, Belgium, and formerly ridden by Diego Perez Bilbao (USA).