Bridgehampton, New York, USA – September 02, 2021 – Five-time Olympian McLain Ward (USA) piloted the 11-year-old Blossom Z, a Zangersheide mare owned by Ward, Wyndmont, and Heller, to an impressive win in the $37,000 Hampton Classic Speed Stake CSI 4* on Thursday.
Early in the class’s 40-rider lineup, six-time Olympian Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) rode the first clear round aboard Venice Beach, Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian mare. The pair made quick work of the 14-effort 1.45m course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, setting the time to beat at 59.41 seconds. Their lead held until Ward (USA) and Blossom Z stepped into the ring over halfway into the order and stopped the clock at 58.53 seconds.
“I know Rodrigo’s horse,” Ward said. “It’s a very fast horse, although maybe not one with the biggest stride. Earlier in the class, I got to ride my younger horse for a nice, smooth round, so I had a feel for the course going in. Blossom’s a very fast horse naturally, and I thought that if I could just do a stride less than Rodrigo here or there, I might be able to nip him.”
“It was a fast class,” Ward added. “These ranking classes typically are, so that’s not unexpected. Blossom really performed well and was there when I needed her.”
Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) was the only other rider to beat Pessoa’s time, riding Pine Hollow Farm’s Don’t Touch Du Bois to a speedy 59.00-second finish. She and the 12-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare took second in the class, with Pessoa ultimately finishing in third.
Ward’s victory in the $37,000 Hampton Classic Speed Stake increases his lead in the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge with a total of 238 points. Derbyshire sits in second with 160 points, and Pessoa is just behind her with 140 points. The Challenge, which awards $30,000 and a Longines watch to the winner, will be awarded Sunday following the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix.
Final Results – $37,000 Hampton Classic Speed Stake
1) Mclain Ward (USA) & Blossom Z – 0 / 58.53
2) Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) & Don’t Touch du Bois – 0 / 59.00
3) Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Venice Beach – 0 / 59.41
Source: Press Release by Marty Bauman for The Hampton Classic
Photos: © Kind Media