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McLain Ward repeats first prize in $71,200 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4* at American Gold Cup

Sunday, 15 September 2019
CSI4*-W American Gold Cup 2019

Photo © Barre Dukes/Phelps Media Group McLain Ward and Franka Trichta. Photo © Barre Dukes/Phelps Media Group.


Press release from Phelps Media Group



Returning for its penultimate day of 2019 show jumping competition, the American Gold Cup, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, hosted the $71,200 Fidelity Investments®Classic CSI4* in the picturesque grass Grand Prix Ring on Saturday afternoon, with 52 challengers entered in the contest. Triumphing ahead of an elite field, hometown hero McLain Ward (USA) defended his title in the class after winning in 2018, this time in the saddle aboard Franka Trichta to emerge as the victor thanks to two swift performances to lead the lap of honor.

For the first round of riding, course designer Alan Wade (IRL) created a 16-effort pattern that featured a winding track. Riding Tequestrian Farms LLC’s Jeleena de Muze as second in the order-of-go, Lauren Tisbo (USA) turned in the first clear effort of the afternoon and Brian Moggre (USA) ensured a jump-off just two trips later with his fault-free showing aboard MTM Los Angeles, owned by Major Wager LLC. Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Cormac Hanley (IRL), Ward and Santiago Lambre (MEX) added their names to the jump-off list by the halfway mark, and they were joined in the latter portion of the class by Adrienne Sternlicht (USA), Andrew Kocher (USA) and another ride for Ward.

Producing the first clear round over the short course, Sweetnam maneuvered Alejandro, owned by Seabrook LLC and Spy Coast Farm LLC to the early lead by stopping the clock in 41.16 seconds, but his time was soon shattered by Ward and his own Rapidash, who sped through Wade’s shortened track in 38.89 seconds to eclipse them with only a handful left to contest them. Soon thereafter, the student outperformed the teacher as Sternlicht and Starlight Farms 1 LLC’s Toulago one-upped Ward and Rapidash with a quick fault-free time of 36.37 seconds, more than two full seconds faster. Not to be outdone as he final jump-off contenders, Ward returned for one final ride with the reins on Franka Trichta, the horse he co-owns with Susan Heller, and laid down a breakneck trip in 35.74 seconds, improving upon Sternlicht’s time to secure victory in the $71,200 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4* competition. Sternlicht ultimately finished in second place, and Ward added to his success as the third-place finisher riding Rapidash.

Photo © Barre Dukes/Phelps Media Group Adrienne Sternlicht and Toulago. Photo © Barre Dukes/Phelps Media Group.

Hailing from nearby Brewster, N.Y., Ward is a frequent sight at the American Gold Cup, and he has an impressive record while competing at Old Salem Farm. In 2018 alone, he topped the leaderboard in the $70,000 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4* in addition to the $2,500 Staller 1.35m Jumper class and the $80,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier CSI4*-W. With this victory Saturday, Ward notched another top result in his long list at the horse show.

The 2019 American Gold Cup will culminate with the coveted $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ New York - CSI4*-W, presented by CaptiveOne Advisors, LLC, on Sunday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m., where the top 40 athletes from Friday’s qualifier will go head-to-head for the highly sought-after American Gold Cup. Prior to the start of the feature event, the Kevin Babington Live Auction Fundraiser will be held before the $210,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ - New York CSI4*-W. Bid on a box for 21 people to The Chainsmokers on September 27, a box for 21 to Post Malone on October 9 (both shows at Boston Garden) and an autographed Boston Bruins jersey courtesy of Charlie Jacobs. Artist Sarah Lockwood-Taylor will be donating a Linocuts original of Kevin using an AK Dragoo Photography photo.

From the Winner's Circle:

Photo © Barre Dukes/Phelps Media Group. McLain Ward and Rapidash. Photo © Barre Dukes/Phelps Media Group.

On his jump-off rounds:

“[Franka Trichta and Rapidash] are both 9-year-old horses and they are great horses, but a little bit inexperienced. My plan with Rapidash was to be neat and quick and do the numbers. He has a very big stride to put just enough pressure on [the other rides]. My student Adrienne [Sternlicht] went in on a great experienced Toulago went in and blew me away so I ended up doing the same numbers with Franka Tritcha – it’s a little bit faster horse and not quite as big of a stride so I was able to keep coming forward and try to tighten everything up a bit.”

On Franka Trichta:

“She’s very new – this is only the second show we’ve had her at. I own her with myself, Susan Heller – who has been a great supporter of mine – and Ashford Farm out of Belgium. They produced the horse and did an incredible job. Our first show was the Hampton Classic where she actually almost won the Saturday grand prix other than a little bit of bad luck slipping and then came right back here two weeks later to win this class. She’s a really exciting horse for the future and we’re really excited to work and have her for the sport.”

On the American Gold Cup:

“It’s always brilliant to sleep in your own bed. We don’t get to be home quite as much as we would like and this is an incredible part of the world that we call home. It’s also a really fun week for us because we have a bunch of friends staying at the house and the event is spectacular. It’s a beautiful field and the [American] Gold Cup is an iconic event and it’s been top class show jumping all week.”

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