SPRUCE Meadows is becoming a happy hunting ground for Co Limerick’s Paul O’Shea who shared victory in the five-star $400,7000 Friends of the Meadows Grand Prix at the Calgary venue last Sunday.

From just 20 starters over the 1.60m track, seven made it through to the jump-off and O’Shea guided his own, Tequestrian Farms LLC and Imerald Partners LLC’s Imerald van’t Voorhof to a fast clear round in 38 seconds to set the standard.

However, in unusual circumstances, Britain’s Matthew Sampson and the grey mare Ebolensky posted the exact same time of 38 seconds flat in the jump-off and for the first time in Spruce Meadows history, there would be two winners of a five-star Grand Prix. The pair both won $106,185 in prize money. Mexico’s Patricio Pasquel completed the podium in third place with Babel (0/0 38/04).

O’Shea and 14-year-old gelding Imerald van’t Voorhof won the 2022 ATCO Queen Elizabeth II Grand Prix earlier in the summer at the venue. They will now set their targets on this weekend’s ‘Masters’ tournaments which includes the CP International Grand Prix, preseted by Rolex, and the BMO Nations Cup. “This is a big Grand Prix in itself, I’m very happy to be here and have this opportunity ahead of next week,” O’Shea commented afterwards.

Sampson said: “We love Spruce Meadows, to be able to jump in the big grass fields before next week’s Masters and have this result builds confidence.”

Sampson had an incredible week at the venue and among others wins was victory in the two-star Grand Prix aboard the Baden Powell-bred Irish Sport Horse gelding Curraghgraigue Obos Flight (OBOS Quality x Errigal Flight). The pair were the fastest of six clear rounds in the jump-off.

Win for Chawke

Co Laois show jumper James Chawke won a two-star 1.40m class at Spruce Meadows on Thursday. He guided Vanessa Mannix’s eight-year-old mare Etincelle de l’Isle to the best of seven clear rounds in the Table A class. Kerry’s Brian Cournane slotted into sixth place when clear with the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse gelding Sea Plus (Catoki x Cruising), bred by James and John Meade.

Cournane was third in Friday’s five-star 1.55m aboard his own and Bob and Christine Stiller’s 13-year-old gelding Armik. A single time fault kept the pair out of the jump-off in the class which was won by Patricio Pasquel and Babel.

Conor Swail was runner-up in Friday’s five-star 1.50m jump-off aboard Gamble. In a two-horse jump-off, the pair posted a clear in 43.58 seconds, only to be beaten by USA’s Kent Farrington and the 16-year-old great mare Gazelle in 42.89.