McLain Ward and Zhum CW en route to their win. Photo by © ManciniPhotos, www.manciniphotos.com. Equestrian Sport Productions' Holiday and Horses competition began on Wednesday, November 28,at the beautiful Palm Beach International Equestrian Center
with a win for McLain Ward aboard Ilan Ferder and Missy Clark's Zhum CW in the $10,000 Welcome Stake. The Holiday and Horses show will have top classes each day through December 2 and is rated CSI 2*-W, Jumper 5*, and "AA". On Thursday riders will compete in the $33,000 Holiday and Horses Opener Grand Prix presented by Horse Gym USA. The $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class is featured on Friday, and the $50,000 Holiday and Horses Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup qualifier, will be held on Saturday evening. Thursday's, Friday's, and Saturday's highlight classes count toward ROLEX FEI World Ranking points. The feature class on Sunday is the $20,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby.
A total of 46 entries showed in Wednesday's $10,000 Holiday & Horses Welcome Stake jumping a course set by Anthony D'Ambrosio, of Red Hook, NY. Twelve competitors were able to clear the first round course without fault, and after four of those entries opted not to jump off, eight advanced to the short course. Five jumped double clear in a race against the clock.
First to go in the jump-off, Shane Sweetnam and Spy Coast Farm LLC's Eregast Van't Kiezelhof led the way with a clear round in 35.984 seconds and held onto the lead through six more rounds until McLain Ward and Zhum CW entered the ring, last to go. Ward and Zhum CW captured the win with their time of 35.001 seconds to push Sweetnam into second place. Third went to Richie Moloney and Equinimity LLC's Bailey with a clear jump-off in 36.525 seconds. Fourth place was awarded to David Blake aboard Pine Hollow Stables' Shalimar in 36.865 seconds. The final clear round and fifth place honors went to Schuyler Riley and South Beach Stables' Andretti in 39.243 seconds. Luis Larrazabal and Gustavo Mirabal's G&C Lepanto had the fastest four-fault round in the jump-off in 35.836 seconds to place sixth.
McLain Ward rode to victory on Wednesday in his first time ever showing Zhum CW for owners Ilan Ferder and Missy Clark. Ward flew into Florida from Europe on Tuesday evening, rode the horse briefly, and then showed him to the win one day later.
He noted, "It is a young horse that Ilan and Missy have and they asked me at the end of the fall to ride the horse here, so this is our first day. I got here from Europe at about five o'clock last night and then rode him a little bit and then showed here today. It was a good start." Zhum CW is an eight-year-old KWPN gelding by Querlybet Hero x Cambridge. "He is a little bit of a funky horse," Ward described. "He does it in his own way, but he is incredibly careful and he is very game. I think he is going to win a lot of good classes."
Commenting on the class, Ward stated, "It was a nice welcome. Anthony is a great course builder; he always does a nice job. I didn't really know what to expect from the horse, so I just tried to ride my instincts a little bit. In the jump-off, I knew he was very careful, but he has a sensitive mouth. We have been playing with the bit and I actually had a little too much bridle, but I just tried to go with him and he jumped really well." Ward plans to show Zhum CW again on Friday in the $33,000 G&C Farm 1.45m class. On Saturday night, he will ride Louisburg Farm's Vocas in the $50,000 Holiday and Horses Grand Prix CSI 2*-W.
Final Results: $10,000 Holiday & Horses Welcome Stake
1. Zhum CW, McLain Ward, Ilan Ferder: 0/0/35.001
2. Eregast Van't Kiezelhof, Shane Sweetnam, Spy Coast Farm LLC: 0/0/35.984
3. Bailey, Richie Moloney, Equinimity LLC: 0/0/36.525
4. Shalimar, David Blake, Pine Hollow Stables: 0/0/36.865
5. Andretti, Schuyler Riley, South Beach Stables: 0/0/39.243
6. G&C Lepanto, Luis Larrazabal, Gustavo Mirabal: 0/4/35.836
7. Roundthorn Madios, Lauren Tibso, Tequestrian Farms LLC: 0/4/38.148
8. Quick Du Potier, Alonso Valdez Prado, Alonso Valdez Prado: 0/4/39.800
T9. Imothep HS, Nicole Shahinian-Simpson. Hyperion Stud LLC: 0/NA
T9. Ohlala, Lauren Hough, Lauren Hough: 0/NA
T9. Baronez, Kirsten Coe, Ilan Ferder: 0/NA
T9. Aslan, Ljubov Kochetova, Ljubov Kochetova: 0/NA