North Salem, New York, USA – May 20, 2022 – Five-time Olympian McLain Ward (USA) returned to the International Arena on Friday to fly to the top of the leaderboard in the $65,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem presented by The Kincade Group aboard his and Susie Heller’s 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Faro. Fresh off his win in Thursday’s (May 12) $37,000 FEI Two-Phase Challenge CSI 3*, Ward claimed two victories throughout the day, his first being the $25,000 National 1.40-1.45m Jumper Classic.
The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows are one of the premier stops on the nation’s hunter-jumper horse show circuit, offering a full schedule of world-class competition May 10-15 and May 17-22 that features the nation’s best in equestrian sport.
Ireland’s Alan Wade (IRL) set a winding 16-effort, 1.50m course to challenge the 39 entries representing eight countries in the $65,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem presented by The Kincade Group. With 14 horse-and-rider combinations moving on to the jump-off, Ward was the first rider to go double clear in a time of 40.460 seconds. The only ones to catch his time were Jordan Coyle (IRL) and Ballyoskill Big Bucks, who stopped the clock at 40.370 seconds, but a downed rail at the penultimate fence kept them out of the top rankings.
“It’s been a great day,” Ward said. “Faro is a bit of a new horse for Susie Heller, his owner, and myself. We actually sold him about a year and a half ago, but he wasn’t a great match for his rider, so we bought him back. I’m really excited about competing him. He’s a very careful, very competitive horse, and he can do some really great things. In the first round, my strategy was to not make any mistakes. He jumped great last week and was third in the Grand Prix Qualifier, so I knew he was comfortable in the ring. This class had a big jump-off with quite a few clear initially, and I planned to go as fast as I thought I could to put a little pressure on everyone else.”
Six-time Brazilian Olympic veteran Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) finished in second with his double-clear time of 41.260 seconds aboard Quality FZ, Artemis Equestrian LLC’s 13-year-old Italian Sport Horse gelding.
Captain Brian Cournane (IRL) rode his 13-year-old Oldenburg gelding Armik to a third-place finish in 42.690 seconds.
Final Results – $65,000 Welcome Stake of North Salem presented by The Kincade Group
1) McLain Ward (USA) & Faro – 0 / 0 – 40.460
2) Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) & Quality FZ – 41.260
3) Captain Brian Cournane (IRL) & Armik – 42.690
Source: Press Release by Marty Bauman / Classic Communications for Old Salem Farm
Photos: © Randolph PR Photography