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McLain Ward Wins in Fifth Round of $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series

Wellington, FL – February 22, 2007 – The fifth round of the $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Series was the sole class in the Internationale Arena today during the Bainbridge Florida Classic, CSI-W, WCHR Spectacular presented by the Palm Beach Post. The hunters are center stage this week, but the jumpers still have today’s grand prix, Sunday’s grand prix, Young Jumper classes and the FEI World Children’s Jumper competition.

In today’s class, the course designer was Olaf Petersen Jr. of Germany. The class was scored as a Table A format at 1.50m in height. The time allowed was 87 seconds. Petersen set an interesting, turning course that included an option at fence four. Riders could either turn left to a one stride or right to a two stride before continuing on to the skinny fence at jump five. Another testing line was a triple bar to a vertical in two strides to an oxer in four strides that was set in front of the in-gate. Of the 57 entries, ten were clear, 18 had four faults, four retired and two were eliminated.

Ward mentioned, “It was a fun option for a speed. I thought it was a good class, not too big. All of the horses seemed to leave the ring confident for Sunday. I think you had good horses in the ribbons.”

The first to go clear out of the seventh position in the order was Michael Morrissey on Crabamboli. Morrissey and the big, grey horse were going for the slow, clean round, and they finished in 86.05 seconds. The next to take over the lead was Margie Engle on Hidden Creek’s Wapino. They took the two stride option on course and sliced a whopping 14 seconds off of Morrissey’s time. Memphis and Caitlin Shiels would make a run for it and be clear, but their time was 81.18 seconds.

The lead changed hands in the 24th spot in the order when Todd Minikus and Houlihan Lawrence’s Olinda started with a swift gallop to the first oxer. Minikus pushed her though the one stride at fence 10 and came home clear in 70.42 seconds. After the class, Minikus said, “Actually, on my first horse that I rode, I thought Pavarotti went amazingly well, but from the skinny to the triple bar he slipped, and I ended up circling. On Olinda, I came a little wider than I would have. I saw Beezie go, and for sure she was much more to the inside of my line to the triple bar. I thought Olinda went fantastic. I guess it was almost to my disadvantage that I rode one before Olinda because I was scared with the slip.”

Daniel Deusser of Germany on Stal Tops’ Hooligan de Rosyl had a deceiving pace. They finished clear in 76.65 seconds. Another clear round was notched by Christine McCrea on Promised Land in 73.25 seconds.

Beezie Madden and her dependable mount Judgement, owned by Iron Spring Farm, made a bid from the very start, had an excellent turn to the line in front of the in-gate, but they stopped the timers just short of Minikus’ time in 70.96 seconds. When asked where she was slower than Minikus, Madden answered, “I didn’t see Todd go, but I had an idea of how fast he was. I think from one to two to three, if I had hit a little better lick there, I think I might have been able to nip him. Everywhere else I thought I was pretty good, but I was a little slow there. I thought it was close. I wanted to put Judgement in to win or get a good piece of it.”

Norman Dello Joio and Glasgow were clear as well, but were well short of the leading time when they finished in 74.46 seconds. Another clean trip came from Eliza Shuford and BCO Olymp in 83.03 seconds.

The last clear round in the class and the one to take away the lead from Minikus was McLain Ward on Larioso, owned by Ward and Blue Chip Bloodstock. Ward was very fast throughout the course and came home just a hair faster than Minikus in 70.37 seconds. Ward remarked, “He’s a very fast horse. I did some adds, but he can do the adds very quickly. I knew it was going to be close.”

The riders in the top three took the left turn option on course. They explained that due to it being a one stride (compared to two in the right turn) and being fewer strides to the next jump, it was the faster option. Madden said, “Margie was quite fast everywhere else and did that (right turn) option about as fast as you can and was four seconds behind.” Ward added, “I don’t think it was possible to go right and win.”

Resigned in his second place, Minikus wryly said, “I didn’t see McLain go, [but] it didn’t surprise me. Fact of the matter is, if Beezie nips me, if McLain nips me, oh well. That’s how racing goes.”

Minikus was very pleased with Olinda, an 11 year old Dutch Warmblood mare that he has only shown at the grand prix level since last summer. “She is a green horse at this level. It’s one class at a time really – two steps forward, one step back kind of thing – until they really become very solid. I think I am going to show her on Sunday. This was her third class for the circuit so far, so she’s probably just knocking the rust off. She’s been kind of chomping at the bit, if you will, to be a very competitive mare.”

Like Minikus, Ward was happy with Larioso, who has not shown extensively in the big grand prix classes. Ward has ridden the 11 year old Selle Francais gelding for two seasons. When one of his top horses, Goldika 559, was injured in the first week of WEF, Larioso was asked to move up. “This horse has really been a second horse for me. He’s been a great campaigner, but not a Sunday horse. He’s really been thrown into the fire, and I’m proud of him handling it. A lot of horses go by the wayside here when they get in that situation,” he asserted.

While Larioso may not have as much experience, his inherent speed is something that helps him win. “He was always a fast horse, a quick type. I say that Sapphire is a bit of a slow type, but he’s always been a very fast horse and a winner,” Ward explained. “He’s a fun horse to show because you always have a chance to win the class.”

The Bainbridge Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular continues tomorrow with hunter action in four rings. The Young Jumper classes begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, followed by the FEI World Children’s Jumping competition at 2 p.m. The Bainbridge Idle Dice Grand Prix, CSI-W, presented by the Palm Beach Post is on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Results of Class 101 $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup V - Bainbridge Florida Classic/WCHR Spectacular - February 22, 2007

T/A: 87.00

1 1068 LARIOSO MCLAIN WARD USA 0.00 70.37 $7500


2 828 OLINDA TODD MINIKUS USA 0.00 70.42 $5500


3 989 JUDGEMENT BEEZIE MADDEN USA 0.00 70.96 $3250


4 936 HC WAPINO MARGIE ENGLE USA 0.00 72.93 $2000




6 1074 GLASGOW NORMAN DELLO JOIO USA 0.00 74.46 $1250




8 387 MEMPHIS CAITLYN SHIELS USA 0.00 81.18 $750


9 966 B.C.O. OLYMP ELIZA SHUFORD USA 0.00 83.03 $750






12 819 CASADORA LAUREN HOUGH USA 4.00 75.39 $500


13 243 IN STYLE IAN MILLAR CAN 4.00 75.69 $500


14 1061 EPIR LAURA BOWERY USA 4.00 76.45 $500


15 895 FLIER JIMMY TORANO USA 4.00 77.51 $500


Photo Credit: Larioso and McLain Ward, winners of the $25,000 WEF Challenge Cup Round V. Photo © 2007 Jennifer Wood.


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