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McLain Ward and Clinta win Prize of North Rhine-Westfalia at CHIO Aachen

Friday, 20 July 2018
CHIO Aachen 2018

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson McLain Ward and Clinta won the Prize of North Rhine-Westfalia at CHIO Aachen. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

USA’s McLain Ward and the 11-year-old mare Clinta (Clinton x Lord Pezi) were in a league of their own in Friday’s 1.60m Prize of North Rhine-Westfalia at CHIO Aachen, outclassing their competitors by nearly a second-and-a-half.  

Going over two rounds, ten riders returned to go against the clock over a shortened course consisting of eight fences. With plenty of long stretches, the riders could really open up their horses – which suited a big striding one, like Clinta, very well.

First to go against the clock, France’s Thierry Rozier set a clear to finish on his one-time penalty carried through from the first round. Home riders Christian Ahlmann and Janne Friederike Meyer-Zimmermann followed, but had an unfortunate rail each.

As next to go, Ireland’s Cameron Hanley went into the lead on EIS Isaura (Tinka’s Boy x Darco) – with a beautiful and fast clear in 48.49 seconds. Following Hanley, Brazil’s Yuri Masur produced the next clear – although slightly slower in 49.35 – aboard Ibelle van de Grote Haart (Verdi x Robin Des Bruyeres).

Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann was motivated for another win in Aachen, and showed that the time could be bettered – but his risks came on the expense of a rail on the last upright.

Next in the ring, McLain Ward managed to get it all perfect. With the big-striding Clinta covering the ground on the long, open stretches without much effort and Ward making some picture-perfect turns the pair managed to stylishly bring the time down to an incredible 46.95 to take over the lead.

“She is a very careful mare, and I know that I can gallop to the fences and try to set a good pace to my round – but nothing insane,” Ward said afterwards. 

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson Kevin Staut and Reveur de Hurtebise HDC finished second. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

It looked hard to beat, and it would turn out that was also the case.

Germany’s Maurice Tebbel gave it a go as next in the ring on Don Diarado (Diarado x Lord Lancer), stopping the clock at 49.29 seconds, good enough for a temporary third place until France’s Kevin Staut pushed into runner-up position as next to go on his veteran Reveur de Hurtebise HDC (Kashmir van Schuttershof x Capricieux Des 6 Censes) with a time of 48.16 – which dropped Hanley to third and Tebbel to fourth. As last to go, Portugal’s Luciana Diniz was clearly up for a win – but a risky start to the jump-off resulted in the b-element of the combination down and it was not to be.

“I think he was faster everywhere actually,” Staut commented about Ward’s winning round. “I felt already from one to two that I was far away, and I knew that Cameron had done a good round but not crazy so I continued in my way,” Staut said about his tactics. 

With two incredible mares in Aachen, HH Azur – second in Wednesday’s Turkish Airlines-Prize of Europe  – and today's winner Clinta, Ward is spoiled for choice ahead of Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix – but it will be HH Azur that the American rider will partner with in the 1.000.000 Euro Major when it’s time for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping later on this weekend.

As to his choice of horse for the upcoming World Equestrian Games on home soil in Tryon later this season, Ward commented: “HH Azur is the horse that we are going to take to the WEG this year, hopefully with no bad luck. She is a more experienced horse, and we have been building throughout the season for that.”

“We’re very lucky to have two incredible mares, to support each other and they only make each other better,” Ward concluded.


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