Global Showdown Building up for BMO Nations' Cup



    World's Richest Team Show Jumping Event Will Draw European and
    World Championship Contestants

    SPRUCE MEADOWS, CALGARY, Sept. 4 /CNW/ - The richest team show jumping
event in the world, the $350,000 BMO Nations' Cup, will take place on
Saturday, September 8, on show jumping's main stage - the International Ring
at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta.

    The roster of teams contesting North America's only five-star Nations'
Cup includes:
    

    -   Canada - Defending Champion, won the BMO Nations' Cup in 2006
    -   Germany - BMO Nations' Cup Winners in 2003 and 2004
    -   Great Britain - Bronze Medal Winners, 2007 European Championships
    -   the Netherlands - Gold Medal Winners, 2007 European Championships and
        2006 World Equestrian Games
    -   Switzerland - Anchored by 2007 World Cup Champion Beat Mandli
    -   United States - Current Olympic Champions
    

    "We are proud of our strong connection with Spruce Meadows, recognized as
a world leader in the sport of show jumping," said Bill Downe, President and
Chief Executive Officer, BMO Financial Group. "An impressive roster of top
international teams is set to compete in this year's event, and show jumping
fans, and all of us at BMO, will be hoping for a second consecutive win for
Team Canada against the world's best on Saturday."
    Canada is well-prepared to take on the biggest names in the sport. The
2007 Canadian Team will be comprised of the newly crowned Pan American
Champion Jill Henselwood of Oxford Mills, Ontario; her silver medal teammate
and individual bronze medalist Eric Lamaze of Schomberg, Ontario; 2000 Sydney
Olympian John Pearce of Stouffville, Ontario, and, with more than 100 Nations'
Cup appearances listed on his resume, Ian Millar of Perth, Ontario.
    At the conclusion of Saturday's BMO Nations' Cup, Canada hopes to once
again lead the victory gallop as the maple leaf flies in front of more than
50,000 partisan fans.
    As the founding sponsor of Spruce Meadows, BMO Financial Group has a long
and proud history of supporting equestrian sport in Canada. Since 1977, BMO
has sponsored the BMO Nations' Cup at Spruce Meadows, attracting the top
international show jumping teams to Canada.

    Background:
    For the first time in the history of the BMO Nations' Cup, Canada enters
as the defending champion. Canada had never before hoisted the Nations' Cup,
but a sudden-death jump-off between British legend Michael Whitaker and
'Captain Canada' Ian Millar last September ended the 30-year drought. It was
an emotional victory for Team Canada, and one that they are steadfast about
recreating on September 8.
    Proving that last year's victory wasn't just a fluke, Canada is also the
two-time defending champion of the Nations' Cup in Wellington, Florida, the
only other team event held in North America. And in July, Canada brought home
the silver medal from the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, earning
2008 Olympic qualification.
    The roster of teams contesting North America's only five-star Nations'
Cup includes medal winners from the recent European Championships as well as
the 2006 World Equestrian Games. Last year at Spruce Meadows, the British gave
it their all and, this year, with the bronze medal from the European
Championships to their credit, the feisty foursome will be looking to lengthen
their lead from 10 victories to 11.
    The British are not the only team fielding an internationally experienced
team. The German juggernaut is always hard to crack and, as the victors in
2003 and 2004, pose a strong threat to Canada's chances of a repeat victory. 
And the Netherlands should be changing their national colour from orange to
gold to match the medals won at the 2007 European Championships and the 2006
World Equestrian Games.
    With newly crowned World Cup Champion Beat Mandli anchoring the team,
Switzerland will also mount a strong challenge in the International Ring while
the current Olympic champions, the United States, will be looking to renew the
long-standing rivalry with its neighbours to the north in the BMO Nations'
Cup.





For further information:

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Jennifer
Ward, Starting Gate Communications, jward@startinggate.ca, (613) 292-5439
(cell); Meghan Chevrette-McIvor, Spruce Meadows,
meghan.cmcivor@sprucemeadows.com, (403) 974-4232; or Laurie Grant, BMO
Financial Group, laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596; (604) 318-0735 (cell)


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