World of Showjumping
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Congratulations Annie, Mclain and Team Castle Hill!

Monday, 12 December 2022
CHI Geneva 2022

“I was emotional; I wanted to win, to beat any of these guys is a great feat. I wanted to not let the horse down, and it’s a great day,” Mclain Ward said after taking one of the biggest wins of his career when he and the wonderful 16-year-old mare HH Azur snatched the victory in Sunday’s CHF 1.200.000 Rolex Grand Prix from home hero Martin Fuchs who had come to Palexpo to defend his 2021-title. 

Ward was in awe of his faithful partner HH Azur. “Before the first round of a big Grand Prix, now at this point of her career, I always give her a pat on her neck, and say 'you don’t owe anyone a fence but if you can jump another clear round today it would be nice'. And I really have this feeling for this wonderful mare,” Ward said, visibly emotional. “When I got on for the jump-off, I actually said to her, 'it is only one more round, give me what you’ve got, and if you don’t have enough, it’s ok too'. And the last fence, she jumped out of the boots, which is pretty remarkable!”

Here, we look back at Mclain and Annie’s unforgettable afternoon in Geneva as we send our congratulations to the entire team at Castle Hill Farm.

All photos © Jenny Abrahamsson and Nanna Nieminen for World of Showjumping.

Going into the details of his jump-off, Ward said: “All the leave-outs were taken, you had to do seven down the first line – and it walked a very long eight. The rollback was difficult, it happened to show up well – which it didn’t for everybody. Six and seven – I actually did not get the second seven, she landed a little bit to the right, I took a huge risk to the double, I don’t know if I did less than Martin but anyway the same. Then I knew you could do eight and eight, but the problem was the first eight was so sideways to the yellow and black fence that the horses twisted a little bit but I was committed to the eight to the last. I said ‘don’t chicken out, you don’t want to be there and pull’ but the more I pushed, the more she backed up and I said ‘don’t chicken out, don’t chicken out’, but then she chickened out for me a little and somehow got over the fence! When I realized it was still standing I was a little bit shocked to be honest!”

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