The winning ways of Team Helios returned to Canada on Friday evening as they owned the night in the $255,000 ShowPlus+ CSI5* Team Competition at Angelstone Events in Toronto, ON. The victory marked the team's third consecutive win in the MLSJ series.
The winning duo from Traverse City, MI, just two weeks ago, Mark Bluman (COL) and Simon McCarthy (IRL), lead Helios to victory once again. Helios also utilized one of their two allowed substitutions to bring speed specialist Sydney Shulman-Desiderio to the team at MLSJ Toronto riding Classic Penny (Clapton x breeding unknown), a 10-year-old NWB mare owned by Jill Shulman.
Clear efforts came in the opening round for Shulman-Desiderio and Bluman aboard Noortje van de Windheuvel (Farfelu de Muze x Kannan), a 9-year-old BWP mare owned by Over The Top Stables. While McCarthy pulled a rail in the opening round, he returned in the gold-medal match to beat out Callie Schott (USA) on Charlie (Chacco-Blue x Charlie Z).
McCarthy and Gotcha (Stakkato x Cassini I), an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Rock Ridge Farm, did just what was required for the win - go really fast. Schott's time guaranteed Crusaders the runner-up position. She was joined on the podium with fellow U.S. riders Nicholas Dello Joio who piloted Conthargos (Conthargos x Quidam's Rubin) and Hunter Holloway who rode Eastern Jam (Lexicon x Monaco).
Last year's season champions, Eye Candy, are quickly climbing the ranks once again and finished in the bronze-medal position. Canadians Amy Millar on Christiano (Canoso x Compliment) and Jacqueline Steffens riding Freaky (Darco x Litho X) led off in front of a home crowd, while Richie Moloney (IRL) stepped onto the roster as a substitution aboard Rocksy Music (ARS Vivendi x Diamond Serpent).
"We have an unbelievable team. Going in, myself and Marky were a lot more confident than we were in Traverse City because we now have the win, and everybody on our team has felt that winning feeling, I think the pressure to perform is a little less because everybody now knows we are capable of winning. It definitely helped me today; I was a lot more confident walking the course today than I was in Traverse [City]," Simon McCarthy said.
"For me, this class is the most fun class I've ever jumped in my life. The format is great and every person on the team is from a different country," Mark Bluman added.
"I was super excited to join with Helios. Also a little bit stressed considering they are two for two and I felt like I was coming in with a little bit of pressure on me for sure," Sydney Shulman-Desiderio said.