McLain Ward and Sapphire Win $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic World Cup Qualifier
Abby Westmark and Keebler Are Clear through Four Rounds to Win FEI Children’s Jumping Competition
Wellington, FL – February 25, 2007 – The fifth week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), the Bainbridge Florida Classic, CSI-W/WCHR Spectacular presented by the Palm Beach Post, concluded today with the $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic, CSI-W presented by the Palm Beach Post. Racing to the finish and the clear round was McLain Ward and his top horse Sapphire, who won over Schuyler Riley on Ilian and Mario Deslauriers with Paradigm.
Today’s course was designed by Germany’s Olaf Petersen Jr. It had 13 numbered obstacles with 16 jumping efforts. The hardest line came at the end of the course with a triple combination of vertical-oxer-oxer (one stride to two strides) at fence 11, straight to a skinny vertical headed into the far corner of the arena. “It was at the end of the course, and you turned away from home,” Ward said of the triple combination. “Vertical-oxer-oxer is probably the most classic test of show jumping. It’s a scope power test at the end of the course. You need a real grand prix horse that is prepared to jump a grand prix course. I think it’s a real traditional test.”
The course was set at 1.60m, and the oxers were set wide. Nine were clear through to the jump-off, while 19 had one heartbreaking rail. Only one horse retired out of the starting order of 48.
“It was starting to get a little rangier, a little scopier today,” Ward pointed out. “I think that’s going to continue on now; it’ll get a little more difficult every week. This is as tough of jumping as anywhere in the world.”
About the course, Riley added, “There were a few options, but for the most part when you walked it, if you know your horse, you could make a plan right away. I thought it was a pretty fair test, being a World Cup qualifier.”
The first to return for the jump-off was Christine McCrea on Promised Land. McCrea set out to post a fast pace and make the rest of the field challenge her. McCrea had a good time of 50.67 seconds, but had four faults at the last oxer.
Next in was Orlando, ridden by Darragh Kerins for Double H Farm. Like McCrea, Kerins really went for speed and pushed the big, bay stallion through the jump-off. Kerins made a tight turn back to the one stride on the way to the last oxer. He galloped with the crowd urging him on, but it was just a little too much when Orlando pulled a rail at the last jump. They finished with the fastest time in 48.56 seconds, but with four faults.
Ward and Sapphire were next to return. Although Ward was thinking about a clear round, he also had to contend with the reality of six very fast riders and horses that would follow him. Ward was extremely fast in the long gallop to the triple bar, counting on Sapphire’s scope. They finished fault-free in a time of 48.63 seconds, and Sapphire showed speed that is not usually seen from her.
“I went early in the jump-off and obviously there were some very fast horses behind me: Mario, Schuyler, Little Big Man – who nobody seems to be able to beat these days – Lauren Hough. I knew I had to flat out go as fast as Sapphire could go,” Ward explained. “As I’ve said before, she’s not an overly fast horse, but she’s getting better.”
Katie Prudent (FRA) and Sassicaia 11 had the third and sixth jumps down for eight faults and a time of 53.07 seconds, which would hold up for seventh place.
Known for his blistering pace, Eric Lamaze (CAN) might have caught Sapphire’s time, but after a rail at the triple bar, Lamaze let off the gas pedal. They finished in 50.62 seconds with four faults.
Fellow Canadian Mario Deslauriers and Paradigm entered the ring knowing there was only one clear round so far. Deslauriers was a little careful through the first three jumps and kept an even gallop throughout. They finished clear and moved temporarily into the second place position with a time of 51.81 seconds.
“This horse is not particularly fast on a shorter course,” Deslauriers explained. “He’s fast when you have to jump 12, 13 jumps because you can cut here and there. This, on a wide-open, straight shot like this, he doesn’t have very fast ground speed. I was trying to jump clear, to tell you the truth. It was World Cup points, [so I wanted] to hopefully get a good ribbon and see how the last few did if they leave the jumps up or not. I didn’t see McLain go, but I saw the first one go, so I knew about how fast he was.”
The one horse that everyone feared in the jump-off due to her swift jump-off times and record in this year’s WEF was Laura Chapot on Little Big Man. They started out well and very fast. They flew over the triple bar and although Chapot added a stride to the next oxer, Little Big Man cleared the jump. Chapot made the turn to the one stride and gunned for her distance, but Little Big Man was unsure and refused. Chapot circled and finished with four faults in a time of 62.98 seconds.
Olympian Lauren Hough and Casadora were next in. After a rail at the triple bar and both jumps of the one stride fell, Hough crossed the timers in 50.03 seconds and 12 faults. Afterwards, Hough mentioned that Casadora had pulled a shoe during the jump-off.
The final challengers for Ward were two-time Chrysler Classic winners and American Invitational victors, Ilian and Schuyler Riley. Riley was chasing Ward’s time, but knew a clear round would keep her in the top ribbons. She and Ilian jumped brilliantly for a clear round in 50.28 seconds.
She related, “It was a little bit of a hard decision because I know McLain, even on a ‘not-so-fast’ horse, he’s really fast. My horse is naturally fast across the ground, and I was trying to balance out the desire for a clear with the desire to try and beat McLain. I was hoping that just my footspeed with a faster horse might catch him. I wasn’t really trying to go full throttle because I wanted to leave the jumps up today.”
At 17-years-old, Ilian showed no signs of his age today. “Ilian has been jumping on this field for ten years, and he feels pretty darn good. I knew he felt good today when I was in the warm-up. When you have him feeling good, he’s such a nice riding horse,” Riley noted. “I knew we had a good shot for today. He’s a funny horse. When he has a lot of energy, he’s better. He has a certain amount of pop off the ground. He always wants to do his job, but sometimes at 17 he feels it a little more some days than others. He really felt in top form today.”
Deslauriers explained that he did not want to push Paradigm too much in today’s class. “I knew I was a few seconds too late, but it was okay with me because we have three more weeks coming up and a Nations’ Cup to do. This horse is going to get used hard the last few weeks so it’s alright to save him a little bit today,” he said.
After a slow few weeks at the start of WEF, Ward has stepped up this week to win both grand prix events. Although Ward will use Sapphire in the last few weeks of WEF for the bigger Sunday grand prix, he wanted the win today. He pushed Sapphire to test her, and the dependable mare came up with the winning effort once again.
While Ward has downplayed Sapphire’s speed ability in the past, he does acknowledge that she has improved that part of her talent. “That’s probably as fast as I’ve gone with her,” he divulged. “At the National Horse Show, I thought that was quite fast, and Margie nipped me. Sapphire is certainly getting faster and faster. She jumps a lot of clear rounds and speed has never been her forte, but it’s getting better. Maybe I was in her way for a long time.” With today’s class, Sapphire has shown an evolving performance. She and Ward will certainly be a pair to watch in the upcoming weeks.
The FEI Children’s International Jumping Competition, CSI-CH, concluded with their final two rounds this morning. As the only rider with four clear rounds, Abby Westmark of Royal Palm Beach, FL, won the gold medal with her horse, Keebler.
“Obviously, my horse did everything. He was amazing,” Westmark remarked. “Yesterday, coming into this, I was hoping I could go clean. I haven’t done a lot of big stuff yet. It feels amazing; I’m so happy right now.”
Westmark has shown in the Children’s Jumpers for two years after graduating from the pony jumpers. She has owned Keebler for a year and said, “He’s really hot. He has a soft mouth and doesn’t like a lot of people. We had my short stirrup pony that was cute, but we traded him for Keebler. It was a pretty good trade! We loved him.”
Westmark, who is 13-years-old, competed at the FEI Children’s Jumping competition in Colombia this past summer and said that she is looking forward to attending this year’s final in Mexico. “Everybody was so nice [at the finals]. I can’t wait to go back.”
The silver individual medal went to Kal Hyyppa and Cavallino Rampante, while Dani Paradyzs on Stormchaser took home the bronze.
The 2007 Winter Equestrian Festival continues next week with the Zada Enterprises LLC Wellington Masters, CSI-W on February 28-March 4.
Results of Class 100 $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic CSI-W FEI - Bainbridge Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular - February 25, 2007
T/A: 90.00 T/A: 68.00
1 843 SAPPHIRE MCLAIN WARD USA 0.00 83.71 0.00 48.63
2 359 ILIAN SCHUYLER RILEY USA 0.00 82.57 0.00 50.28
SOUTH BEACH STABLE
3 969 PARADIGM MARIO DESLAURIERS CAN 0.00 77.33 0.00 51.81
4 437 ORLANDO DARRAGH KERINS IRE 0.00 79.92 4.00 48.56
DOUBLE H FARM
5 882 HICKSTEAD ERIC LAMAZE CAN 0.00 84.35 4.00 50.62
TORREY PINES STBLE
6 27 PROMISED LAND CHRISTINE MCCREA USA 0.00 81.83 4.00 50.67
7 807 SASSICAIA 11 KATIE PRUDENT FRA 0.00 85.38 8.00 53.07
PLAIN BAY FARM
8 219 LITTLE BIG MAN LAURA CHAPOT USA 0.00 79.67 8.00 62.98
9 819 CASADORA LAUREN HOUGH USA 0.00 83.54 12.00 50.03
10 828 OLINDA TODD MINIKUS USA 4.00 79.80
11 243 IN STYLE IAN MILLAR CAN 4.00 81.04
12 937 HIDDEN CREEK'S QUERVO GOLD MARGIE ENGLE USA 4.00 81.27
HIDDEN CREEK FARM
13 966 B.C.O. OLYMP ELIZA SHUFORD USA 4.00 81.42
14 536 LORENZO ANNE KURSINSKI USA 4.00 81.54
15 921 KROON GRAVIN MOLLY ASHE USA 4.00 82.59
Results of FEI Children’s Jumping Competition
Rider, Horse- Round 1 faults- Round 2 faults- Round 1-2 time, Round 3 faults-Round 4 faults- Round 3-4 time, Total Faults- Total Time
1. ABBY WESTMARK, KEEBLER-0-0-66.12, 0-0-53.97, 0-120.09
2. KAL HYYPPA, CAVALLINO RAMPANTE-0-4-54.49, 0-0-49.94, 4-104.43
3. DANI PARADYZS, STORMCHASER-0-4-57.57, 0-0-49.75, 4-107.32
4. MARIO GAMBOA, SAN SILVESTRE-0-4-52.54, 4-0-49.04, 8-101.58
5. MARQUE CINCOTTA STEPHENS, CHAPPIE-0-0-54.08, 4-4-48.58, 8-102.66
6. PAIGE COLES, PACIFIC TOUCH-0-4-55.04, 0-4-49.85, 8-104.89
7. CHRISTINA KELLY, SERENDIPITY-0-4-53.35, 0-8-48.20, 12-101.55
8. KATIE DINAN, CORALL 13-4-8-55.36, 0-0-47.93, 12-103.29
9. MATTIAS TROMP, AMELIA-0-4-54.94, 0-8-51.60, 12-106.54
10. SAMANTHA OLIVA, LARENA-4-4-60.39, 4-0-51.30, 12-111.69
Photo Credit: Sapphire and McLain Ward, winners of the $75,000 Bainbridge Idle Dice Classic, CSI-W presented by the Palm Beach Post. Photo © Randi Muster.
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