Wellington, FL – April 1, 2018 – Two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist McLain Ward ended the 2018 WEF circuit on a high note on Sunday with first and second place in the final event of the circuit, the $50,000 CP 1.50m National Grand Prix. With two mounts in the class, Ward claimed the victory riding Clinta for owner Sagamore Farms and was second aboard Bellefleur PS Z, owned by Susan Heller and Lilly Ward.
Forty-five horses made up the order for the CP Grand Prix with 14 advancing to the jump-off course designed by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil. Ward first took the lead riding Bellefleur PS Z, a nine-year-old Zangersheide mare by Berlin x Quidam de Revel who had already carried him to several wins this season. They stopped the clock at 34.737 seconds, which was only bested by Ward himself, this time on Clinta. The 11-year-old Oldenburg mare by Clinton x Lord Pezi crossed the timers more than a second faster in 33.696 seconds for the win.
Rounding out the top three, Rowan Willis (AUS) rode his own Shark to a double-clear effort in 35.730 seconds.
Ward added Clinta to his string just a week ago after first watching the horse compete in Aachen last summer and purchasing her from Paul Schockemöhle.
“I went and tried her in July and loved her,” said Ward of the mare previously developed by Germany’s Philip Rüping. “She’s a spectacular horse and I tried to get her bought a multitude of different ways, but it wasn’t very easy. They knew they had something special and I actually called them once a week for seven months with a new idea. Maybe the just got tired of me! The Sweeneys and Sagamore Farms stepped up and purchased her in January.
“We have five grey mares now that are all incredible, and one bay one that’s not so bad either,” joked McLain of his impressive string at the moment. “I have great support from Double H Farm and the Harrisons, even during a difficult time of losing Hunter, right on down the line to Susie Heller, the Sweeneys and everybody who does everything they can to make our team as strong as possible. You really are building a team now in the sport. You can’t do it with one horse.”
After securing his first win on Clinta early in their career together, Ward has big plans, saying, “She is one of the most careful horses I have ever sat on. I think this is one to be a one-two punch with Azur. You can see it in the way she jumps; it doesn’t look real.”After a week of rest, Ward will trave to the World Cup Jumping Finals in Paris, France, with HH Azur as reining World Cup Champions.
“We had a great season with some new horses that stepped up beautifully and performed wonderfully,” concluded Ward. “I could not have asked for more from any horse and I think we leave here with an incredibly strong string of horses.”
Full Results here.
Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP / WEF
Photos: © Sportfot