Armani proves to be a perfect fit

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Certainly if Armani could have worn a suit tailored by his namesake, he'd be the best-dressed horse at Spruce Meadows.

Then he'd have that distinction to go along with the Finning Welcome title he won yesterday with American rider Jeffery Welles on Day 1 of the Masters.

Not to mention Welles and Armani beat American Beezie Madden and her mount, Judgement, in a jump-off, where it's rare to see Madden finish second.

After the win, Welles gave full credit to Armani, his 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, who got his international start at Spruce Meadows two years ago, winning a couple of classes in 2004.

"I haven't shown him that much this year, just two shows in the summer and then I brought him here," said Welles, who was an alternate for the American team at the world championships in Aachen, Germany, last month.

He and Armani are on a bit of a roll after winning two Grand Prix events earlier this summer and now starting off this week with a win and a cheque for $11,500.

Welles finished the jump-off in 40.33 seconds, while Madden's time was 40.47.

Mario Deslauriers of Quebec was third in 42.35 seconds.

NEWCOMER SHINES: France's Eugenie Angot wasted no time making herself comfortable in Spruce Meadows' International Ring.

Angot, making her debut appearance at the hallowed show jumping venue, won yesterday's $25,000 Zeidler Financial Cup, pocketing $7,500 in the process with her mount Ilostra Dark.

Schomberg, Ont.'s Eric Lamaze (Narcotique De Muze) was second, followed by Holland's Jan van der Schans (Maroon).


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