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McLain Ward and Goldika 559 Victorious in Prix du Ministere de l’Agriculture at La Baule

Jeffrey Welles and Sampras Have Exciting First Day at La Baule with Second Place Finish

La Baule, France – May 4, 2006 – At the first Samsung Super League event of 2006, the American riders are showing their promise once again on European soil. In the third and largest class of the day, McLain Ward and Goldika 559 raced to the win in the Prix du Ministere de l’Agriculture.

The courses this week are designed by Frederic Cottier of France. The third class today was a Table A in two phases, FEI Art. 238.1.1 and 238.2.1. The class was originally a Power and Speed type course, but since it is the only chance for the horses competing in tomorrow’s Nations’ Cup to show over a large course, riders were allowed to finish the second half of the course even if they had faults in the first half.

There were 62 entries in today’s class and Ward competed in the 45th spot. He was chasing Ireland’s Cian O’Connor and Casper, who completed the course fault-free with a second half time of 26.98 seconds.

From the start, Goldika was fired up and ready to go. As Ward will be showing Sapphire in tomorrow’s Nations’ Cup, he was going for the win today with the feisty Holsteiner mare. They completed the first half of the course fault-free and continued on the speed phase, cutting turns and shaving time. They crossed the timers in 25.97 seconds to move into first place. “She’s a great old horse,” Ward said afterwards.

The only threat to Ward was Canadian Eric Lamaze and his fantastic mount Hickstead. Lamaze chased for the win, but came up short in 26.51 seconds. Ward had his first European win of 2006.

Ward recently purchased both Sapphire and Goldika 559 from Double H Farm and the Harrison Family. “It feels good,” Ward remarked candidly. “I had a great partnership with the Harrisons, but we’ve decided to go our separate ways. I purchased both horses, and I’m chipping away at that debt a little bit!”

“She’s my second horse here,” Ward went on to say. “Obviously, Goldika is a good enough horse that she could step up, but she’s here for the other classes. I went for the win today with her.”

Sapphire is looking strong for tomorrow’s Nations’ Cup class. “I jumped half of the course to get her in the ring because she hasn’t jumped since the Invitational,” Ward explained. “She felt great. [Both of] the horses feel great.”

Regarding tomorrow’s team selection, Ward commented, “It’s a great team for tomorrow. We’re trying to win the Nations’ Cup, but we’re also trying to prepare as best we can for the World Championships. Part of that is to see these other combinations that didn’t show as much in Europe as the others last year. I have full confidence that we’re going to do a great job, and I hope I don’t let them down.”

Another great American performance today in La Baule was that of Jeffrey Welles and his mount Sampras, who is owned by Abigail Wexner. The pair finished second in the Prix Ouest France, which was set at 1.45m. Sampras and Welles were 36th out of 46 in the order over the Table C, FEI Art. 239 class, with faults converted. They finished just 9/10ths of a second off the pace of winner Pius Schwizer (SUI) and Coolman V.

“Today, this wasn’t a big course, but it was careful,” Welles remarked. “They had double liverpools. He went very well, and I sort of let him gallop around. Tomorrow he’ll do the 1.45-1.50m class.”

The nine year old Holsteiner has been with Welles for four years. Welles has taken his time with the talented young horse and said, “He started to do some bigger classes in Florida, and I think he’s a horse that’s careful, very brave, but just needs to grow into the scope. I want to make sure he’s not rushed into something he’s not ready for. The second horses have to do some substantial classes in Aachen. This will be the year for him to step up a bit more.”

Classes continue tomorrow at La Baule with the Prix Equidia, the Prix du Conseil General de Loire-Atlantique, and the highlight, the Samsung Super League de France Nations’ Cup.



Official Results: Prix du Ministere de l’Agriculture, La Baule, France

1. Goldika 559, McLain Ward (USA), 0/25.97

2. Hickstead, Eric Lamaze (CAN), 0/26.51

3. Casper, Cian O’Connor (IRE), 0/26.98

4. Limbo 138, Otto Becker (GER), 0/27.10

5. Inedite de Balme, Simon Delestre (FRA), 0/27.36

6. Baltic Carrera, Alvaro de Miranda (BRA), 0/27.50

7. Flipper d’Elle *HN, Laurent Goffinet (FRA), 0/27.57

8. Ideal de la Loge, Roger Yves Bost (FRA), 0/27.85

9. Authentic, Beezie Madden (USA), 0/28.41

10. Gabelou des Ores, Stephane Lafouge (FRA), 0/28.50

11. Haxelle Dampiere, Pierre Jarry (FRA), 0/28.51

12. Nonplusultra 3, Faycal Al Chalaan (KSA), 0/28.81

24. Armani, Jeffrey Welles (USA), 1/36.24

29. Ollandaise, Megan Johnstone Lamaze (USA), 4/29.88

37. Casadora, Lauren Hough (USA), 5/36.01



Official Results: Prix Ouest France, La Baule, France

1. Coolman V, Pius Schwizer (SUI), 0/60.21

2. Sampras, Jeffrey Welles (USA), 0/61.09

3. Lorrain Z, Eric Lamaze (CAN), 0/61.20

4. Mullaghdrin Gold Rain, Shane Breen (IRE), 0/62.04

5. Kiss Me Des Joncs, Megan Johnstone Lamaze (USA), 0/62.11

6. Thats Life, Michel Hecart (FRA), 0/62.16

7. Iman de Kreisker, Julien Epaillard (FRA), 0/63.18

8. Hym d’Isigny Lassergut, Eric Navet (FRA), 0/63.41

9. N Ulisina 54, Tim Gredley (GBR), 0/64.02

10. Osta Rugs Coronation, Jean van Geenberghe (UKR), 0/65.11

11. Inquitomea, Roger Yves Bost (FRA), 4/67.77

12. New Day du Bois Philip, Gilles De Balanda (FRA), 0/68.72

PHOTO CREDIT: McLain Ward and Goldika 559, winners of the Prix du Ministere de l’Agriculture in La Baule, France. Photo © Ken Braddick/Horse Sport USA.

 

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