Week six of the 2013 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsored by Spy Coast Farm, concluded on Sunday with a win for McLain Ward (USA) and Sagamore Farm's Rothchild in the $33,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic, a Longines FEI world ranking class. Fifty-eight entries showed over the 1.50m track, set by Brazilian course designer Guilherme Jorge. Seventeen went clear in round one to qualify for a tie-breaking jump-off, and McLain Ward and Rothchild had the fastest of eight double clear rounds in 35.33 seconds for the win.
Tim Gredley (GBR) and Unex Competition Yards' Unex Omega Star placed second in 36.27 seconds. Alise Oken (USA) and Hi Hopes Farm, LLC's Teirra finished third with their time of 36.36 seconds, and Schuyler Riley (USA) guided Michael Meller's Waterloo to fourth place honors with their time of 36.52 seconds.
Rothchild, known in the barn as 'Bongo', is a twelve-year-old Belgian Sport Horse gelding by Artos x Elegant De L'Ile. He has been a top mount for Ward and always keeps the rider on his toes with his quirky ways and enthusiastic antics. Rothchild was his usual exuberant self on Sunday afternoon, perhaps with an extra kick to his step due to the unusually cold weather in Wellington. He threw in a buck in the middle of the jump-off round as he and Ward galloped through the course, but wasted no time through the rest of the track.
"He got a little buck in there," Ward laughed after the class. "It is cold and he can do that sometimes. I thought maybe we lost a little bit of time, but we were able to make it up at the end and he jumped really well."
The nickname Bongo suits Rothchild quite well according to Ward. "He is a character," the rider proclaimed. "He is a little bit of an Orangutan, but he has been a really great horse for me and I am very grateful to the Dolan Sweeneys for letting me ride him. He has been a great campaigner."
"He is just quirky," Ward stated. "He twists and turns and things are always kind of going in different directions. It's not the most classical picture in the whole world, but he has been a year in and year out winner for me."
Commenting on getting Rothchild ready to show, Ward detailed, "Today he was a little more up with the cold weather but he doesn't really take any different preparation. He is actually a pretty simple horse to train. He is a little bit of a funny horse to ride; you have to do it his way a little bit, but he rewards you with results."
Sunday's class was the first world ranking class of the Suncast series for this year's circuit and Ward is pleased to see the increase in prize money as the weeks go on and the level of competition rises. "The course was big today, but you have sixty horses in the 1.50m. It is certainly a lot of competition for this class," Ward stated. "It is a great series. I am very excited that this year Suncast put in a lot of money at the end. I think that is a great step because it is a very competitive series and the rewards now are really in tune with that. It is another great class."
With six weeks of FTI WEF competition in the books and six more to go, Ward has decided to take off for week seven for a little break before the final stretch. Ward, his horses and his support team will return rested and ready to go for week eight's G&C Farm CSIO 4* competition in two weeks.
Final Results $33,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic
1. ROTHCHILD: 2001 SBS gelding by Artos x Elegant De L'Ile MCLAIN WARD (USA), Sagamore Farms: 0/0/35.33
2. UNEX OMEGA STAR: 2002 Irish Sport Horse stallion by Quick Star x Quatoubet du Rouet TIM GREDLEY (GBR), Unex Competition Yard: 0/0/36.27
3. TEIRRA: 2000 KWPN mare by Tolano Van Het Riethof x Aldatus ALISE OKEN (USA), Hi Hopes Farm, LLC: 0/0/36.36
4. WATERLOO: 2000 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Heartbreaker x Ekstein SCHUYLER RILEY (USA), M. Michael Meller: 0/0/36.52
5. SPLENDOR: 1999 KWPN gelding by Lester x Marinier CIAN O'CONNOR (IRL), Ahmed Tolba:0/0/37.90
6. SHOWGIRL: 2000 Selle Francais mare by Gold De Becourt x Elf III JONATHAN ASSELIN (CAN), Attache Stables:0/0/38.69
7. CARLOS V.H.P Z: 2002 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Voltaire NICHOLAS DELLO JOIO (USA), Emilie Martinsen: 0/0/39.64
8. LILLI: 2004 German Sport Horse mare by Lefevre x Diamir GEORGINA BLOOMBERG (USA), Dietmar Gugler & Gotham Enterprizes: 0/0/40.62
9. OREADE DES DAMES: 2002 Selle Francais mare by Kannan x Hurlevent DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Adrienne Sternlicht: 0/4/34.19
10. CABALLITO: 2002 Holsteiner gelding by Contendro x Argentinus ANDRES RODRIGUEZ (VEN), Arao Enterprises LLC: 0/4/34.70
11. JUBILEE D'OUILLY: 1997 Selle Francais mare by Palestro II x Graphit LAURA KRAUT (USA), A. Le Bon and F.X. Le Bon: 0/4/35.09
12. SHOW SHOW: 2002 BWP gelding by Darco x Royal Fleu ALVARO DE MIRANDA (BRA), RD Jumping Higher Ltda: 0/4/35.22
Source: Press release from Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
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