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McLain Ward soars to victory in the $37,000 Hampton Classic FEI Speed Stake

Friday, 03 September 2021
CSI4* Hampton Classic Horse Show 2021

Photo © Kind Media McLain Ward and Blossom Z shaved almost a full second off Rodrigo Pessoa’s time in the $37,000 Hampton Classic Speed Stake. Photo © Kind Media.


Press release from Hampton Classic Horse Show



Five-time Olympian McLain Ward (USA) piloted the 11-year-old Blossom Z (Balou du Rouet x Chicago I Z), a Zangersheide mare owned by Ward, Wyndmont, and Heller, to an impressive win in the $37,000 Hampton Classic Speed Stake on Thursday. 

Early in the class’s 40-rider lineup, six-time Olympian Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA) rode the first clear round aboard Venice Beach (Voltaire x Escudo I), Artemis Equestrian Farm LLC’s 12-year-old Hanoverian mare. The pair made quick work of the 14-effort 1.45m course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade, setting the time to beat at 59.41 seconds. Their lead held until Ward and Blossom Z stepped into the ring over halfway into the order and stopped the clock at 58.53 seconds.

“I know Rodrigo’s horse,” Ward said. “It’s a very fast horse, although maybe not one with the biggest stride. Earlier in the class, I got to ride my younger horse for a nice, smooth round, so I had a feel for the course going in. Blossom’s a very fast horse naturally, and I thought that if I could just do a stride less than Rodrigo here or there, I might be able to nip him.”

“It was a fast class,” Ward added. “These ranking classes typically are, so that’s not unexpected. Blossom really performed well and was there when I needed her.”

Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) was the only other rider to beat Pessoa’s time, riding Pine Hollow Farm’s Don’t Touch Du Bois (Kashmir van Schuttershof x VDL Orame) to a speedy 59.00-second finish. She and the 12-year-old Belgian Sport Horse mare took second in the class, with Pessoa ultimately finishing in third.

Ward’s victory in the $37,000 Hampton Classic Speed Stake increases his lead in the $30,000 LONGINES Rider Challenge with a total of 238 points. Derbyshire sits in second with 160 points, and Pessoa is just behind her with 140 points. The Challenge, which awards $30,000 and a LONGINES watch to the winner, will be awarded Sunday following the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix.


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