As the first rider in the jump-off, McLain Ward, of Brewster, N.Y., set a time no one else could surpass in the $50,000 Spy Coast Farm Grand Prix Qualifier at the 38th Annual Hampton Classic. Riding Rothchild, he stopped the timers in 38.40 seconds, and then he climaxed the jump-off by riding Zander to third place, in 39.62 seconds. In between, Richie Maloney urged Slieveanorra across the finish line in 39.07 seconds, to claim second place.
None of the 13 other horses in the jump-off could finish faster than Rothchild, although seven others completed the shortened course without jumping faults. A total of 64 horses started in the FEI-sanctioned class, of which the 30 best-placed horses qualified for Sunday’s $250,000 FTI Consulting Grand Prix.
Ward has won the grand prix at the Hampton Classic six times, most recently in 2011. Kent Farrington rode Voyageur, his 2012 FTI Consulting Grand Prix winner, to fifth place, finishing with 0 faults in an unhurried 41.12 seconds.
“He’s an experienced horse, and he felt really good today,” said Ward, 37, of Rothchild. Although he wanted to win this class, Ward was keeping his eye on Sunday’s prize. “I tried to make tight turns, but I didn’t want to let it all out today,” he said.
The victory also vaulted Ward to the top of the Longines Leading Rider Challenge, since this class was the first of two classes worth 1.5 times as many points as the week’s previous classes. Saturday’s $40,000 Longines Cup is also worth 1.5 points. The FTI Consulting Grand Prix is worth two times as many points as the prior classes. Ward now leads the Longines Leading Rider Challenge with 145 points. Brianne Goutal is second with 127 points, and Ramiro Quintana is standing third with 108 points.
During the morning session in the Hampton Classic’s Grand Prix Ring, Goutal won her second open jumper class of the week on Uata, the $15,000 Lugano International Open Jumper Speed class. On Wednesday, the pair won the 10,000 Wolffer Estate Open Jumper.
“Honestly, she jumped better today than she did the other day,” said Goutal, 24, of New York, N.Y. “I went very fast in the beginning of the course, and she held up well all the way to the end.” Goutal’s time of 74.24 seconds barely nipped the time of 74.59 that Ronan McGuigan had set on Capall Zidane a few horses previously. Shane Sweetnam rode Beluga to third place (77.04 seconds).
Moti Ferder, president and design director of Lugano Diamonds, the class sponsor, presented Goutal with a 65-inch strand of fresh-water pearls, an award that made her smile. “Prizes like this are one of the things that make this show such a special event, one that takes our sport to a higher level,” she said.
Source: Press release from The Hampton Classic
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