After topping Saturday's $25,000 Nutrena Jumper Classic at the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, the brand new partnership of McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm's HH Carlos Z went on to their second victory of the week in Sunday's $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic. The class saw 52 entries with six to jump-off.
Laura Kraut and MH Sporthorse's Andretti S were first to jump-off and incurred 16 faults (8 jumping and 8 time in 55.88 seconds) to finish sixth. Caitlin Ziegler (USA) and Artisan Farms LLC's Touchdown jumped next and cleared the course in 44.94 seconds to eventually place third. Ward and HH Carlos Z followed, posting a time of 40.64 seconds to take the lead.
Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull Run's Holy Smokes jumped into second with a clear round in 43.45 seconds. Germany's Johannes Ehning had eight faults in 47.59 seconds to place fifth with Nybor Pfere GMBH & Co. KG's Balounito. Last to go with his second mount, Ward also took fourth place honors with a clear round in 45.77 seconds aboard Arnoud Dobber's Cannavaro D.
Ward first sat on HH Carlos Z for the first time two weeks ago and is quickly getting to know the talented 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire). "He is a phenomenal horse," Ward praised. "I am just trying to get to know him a little bit. He is electric careful, fast. It is like having a 12-year-old Goldika again, so it is very exciting for us."
"He has had a good past," the rider pointed out. "The horse won the Grand Prix of Falsterbo already, that's a 5* grand prix. I think he has a great future. He is maybe not a horse that you jump every day 1.60m, but you go up and down a little bit because he has so much carefulness, and he is going to be a phenomenal addition to our string."
With two wins in a row, it is obvious that Ward and Carlos have good things to come. Ward has already learned a lot about Carlos is a short period of time and looks forward to the future. "He knows the game and we are still getting to know each other and we will be for a while," Ward noted. "I will get to know to know little things about him and he will get to know me, but he knows his job and I mostly know my job, so hopefully we can be somewhat competent."
"I have learned little things already just about the warm-up and preparation for the class and just how he reacts to different things in the ring, which have all been positive feeling," Ward added. "I am just getting to know him and it is exciting. It is an exciting venture with Hunter (Harrison). He likes to win and I like to win, so it's a good combination."
Ward also jumped a brand new mount, Cannavaro D, in the jump-off on Sunday and had a great round with him to finish fourth. "It wasn't a very big jump-off. There weren't many clear, but I thought the course was difficult enough," Ward commented. "I had a pretty strong feeling that I had the fastest horse in the jump-off with Carlos. I was pretty confident in that, but I also knew that Kristen Vanderveen was coming behind me and she would always give it a good try, so I wanted to make sure that I did enough that I didn't leave the door open. The other horse that I did in the jump-off I have only been riding for ten days. He is a little less experienced, so I knew that I couldn't go as fast with him as I did with Carlos."
Final Results: $25,000 Suncast® 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. HH CARLOS Z MCLAIN WARD DOUBLE H FARM: 0/0/40.641
2. BULL RUN'S HOLY SMOKES KRISTEN VANDERVEEN BULL RUN JUMPERS, INC: 0/0/43.459
3. TOUCHDOWN CAITLIN ZIEGLER ARTISAN FARMS LLC: 0/0/44.943
4. CANNAVARO D MCLAIN WARD ARNOUD DOBBER: 0/0/45.774
5. BALOUNITO JOHANNES EHNING NYBOR PFERDE GMBD & CO. KG: 0/8/47.595
6. ANDRETTI S LAURA KRAUT MH SPORTHORSE: 0/16/55.884
7. CORD II KEVIN BABINGTON MECO EQUESTRIAN LLC: 1/80.079
8. CALVIN KLEIN JONATHON MILLAR MILLAR BROOKE FARM LTD: 1/80.403
9. ROCKY W KAITLIN CAMPBELL KAITLIN CAMPBELL: 4/75.536
10. BABALOU 41 TODD MINIKUS KATHRYN HAEFNER LLC: 4/75.782
11. BRILLIANT DU ROUET CHARLIE JAYNE LJUBOV KOCHETOVE: 4/75.920
12. HARLEY 86 BENJAMIN MEREDITH RIVER FARM SPORTHORSES: 4/76.347
Source: Press release from Equestrian Sport Productions
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