Calgary, Alberta – July 5, 2017 – Spruce Meadows is one of the top destinations for the world’s elite show jumping athletes. For the team at Gallagher/Meller, it has become a staple on their summer calendar, and during the Pan American CSI5* tournament Peter Lutz piloted Robin De Ponthual and Retiro to top finishes for the United States and owners Katherine Gallagher and M. Michael Meller.
On Sunday, just over a year after their victory in the 2016 $375,000 CP Grand Prix CSI5*, Lutz and Robin De Ponthual scored the second place prize in the $380,000 Pan American CSI5* Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. The pair was the first to return for the three-horse jump-off, setting the pace with a clear effort in 53.97 seconds, which would be good enough for second place honors.
“The course was tough, but Robin likes this ring and did well here last year,” noted Lutz. “He’s been good since we’ve been here, and everything fell into place today. The course designer, Peter Grant, used the entire field and I think that suits Robin. He has a big stride and covers a lot of ground. Going first I was a little bit tentative. I really wanted to put the clear in and put the pressure on the others. It was a really great jump-off and Robin jumped beautifully.”
The top finish on Sunday came just one day after Lutz and Retiro scored the third place award in the Friends of the Meadow Cup. “Sometimes that’s a nice turning point,” said Lutz. “If another horse does well it keeps the momentum going. Everyone was really positive and in a good frame of mind today, and I think that’s really important.”
On Saturday, 11 horses qualified for the jump-off during the 1.50m classic, with six producing a second clear effort. Lutz and Retiro clocked in at 45.26 seconds with all of the rails intact, just two seconds off the leader’s winning pace for third place honors.
“I was so happy with Retiro,” expressed Lutz. “He has had some really good rounds and had just one rail down the day before, so he was really on his game. I feel like I’ve gotten to know him this year and I’ve really developed a partnership with that horse. He’s gotten physically stronger and I know him better.”
Lutz concluded, “It all comes down to believing in the team and having a good partnership with the horse. That’s clicked this year with that horse. I really trust him and I know him.“
The team includes owner and trainer M. Michael Meller, who was thrilled to have both horses achieve such outstanding performances at the world-class venue. “This has been a wonderful week for the team here. We made a plan for this week and it really paid off. Peter, Robin and the entire team have worked really hard and it is exciting to see it all come together like this.”
The Gallagher/Meller team will continue to compete at Spruce Meadows before heading back to the United States for the Hampton Classic and the American Gold Cup. The Gallagher/Meller team would like to thank all of their sponsors for all of their support including EquiFit, CWD, KEP Italia, Galante, Fabbri Boots, Equine Omega Complete, Equi In Style, Superior Equestrian and Éce Equestrian. For more information about the team, please visit www.gallaghermeller.com.