Wellington, Florida, USA – January 23, 2020 – It was an action-packed afternoon on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, with McLain Ward (USA) and Contagious climbing to the top of the leaderboard in the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI 3* on Saturday.
Over a course designed by Oscar Soberon (USA), 12 horse and rider combinations returned to contest the jump-off, but it was Ward and Beechwood Stables, LLC’s 2009 German Sport Horse gelding Contagious (Contagio x For Mary) that gave a clear, quick performance to solidify the victory in a time of 36.83 seconds.
“My plan got a little screwed up this week. It was this horse’s first time back in FEI [competition], and I didn’t want to jump two big classes so I tried to use a younger horse in the qualifier,” explained Ward. “Unfortunately, that horse got a little ‘big eyed’ and made some mistakes, so there was no grand prix for us this week.”
Ward continued, “For Contagious, that wasn’t the worst thing in the world, coming back to work with an important year ahead. It was a softer round for him today. I thought he was prepared well for the grand prix, which he proved today. He jumped a beautiful, easy first round, and I thought it was a nice jump-off for him. He’s a careful horse, and I’m just trying to be as efficient as possible, and that worked out well today.”
After this promising performance, the gelding will get a week off and will be back to work during WEF 4. “He gets a week off now,” said Ward, “and then we’ll do the four-star in two weeks. I won’t make the same mistake. He’ll be the one doing the qualifier and hopefully the grand prix, and then we’ll do the second big five-star. After that we’ll see where we are at and go from there.”
Second place in the $37,000 CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic CSI3* was claimed by Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Ideal, a 2012 Swedish Warmblood gelding (Cardento x Paskitt) owned by Sweet Oak Farm and Seabrook LLC, who crossed through the timers in 37.26 seconds. Sweetnam also rounded out the top three aboard The Blue Buckle Group’s 2008 Belgian Warmblood mare Indra van de Oude Heihoef (Casantos x Favorite Van De Kapel). They completed their jump-off in 37.84 seconds.
WEF 2 CSI 3* competition concludes on Sunday, January 24, on the Derby Field at Equestrian Village at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. The feature class on Sunday is the $137,000 Restylane Grand Prix CSI 3* followed by the $25,000 Hermès U25 Grand Prix. All feature classes will be available to watch for free on the livestream.
Final Results: $37,000 FEI CaptiveOne Advisors 1.50m Classic
1) McLain Ward (USA) & Contagious – 0 / 0 – 37.26
2) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & Ideal – 0 / 0 – 37.26
3) Shane Sweetam (IRL) & Indra van de Oude Heihoef – 0 / 0 – 37.84
4) Bertram Allen (IRL) & Giolita – 0 / 0 – 37.88
5) Darragh Kenny (IRL) & Vinci de Beaufort – 0 / 0 – 37.91
6) Mario Deslauriers (CAN) & Uris de La Roque – 0 / 0 – 38.76
7) Molly Ashe Cawley (URA) & Berdien – 0 / 4 – 38.93
8) Lauren Hough (USA) & Paloma – 0 / 4 – 39.06
9) Lucas Porter (USA) & Hope Street – 0 / 4 – 39.46
10) Jacqueline Steffens (CAN) & Freaky Liefhebber – 0 / 4 – 40.00
11) Hilary McNerney (USA) & Chuck 27 – 0 / 4 – 40.78
12) Flo Norris (GBR) & Con Pleasure 5 – 0 / RT
12) Nayel Nassar (EGY) & Darry Lou – 0 / WD – 78.88
Source: Press release Kim Beaudoin & Sabrina Bashares / Jennifer Wood Media Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / PBIEC – Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
Photos: © Sportfot