TORONTO, Nov. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - In a masterful display of horsemanship,
America's McLain Ward (Brewster, NY) and Rothchild blazed a path to
victory tonight in the Ricoh Coliseum, taking top honours in the
$100,000 Hickstead FEI World CupTM Grand Prix presented by GroupBy for the fifth time in his career.
"The Hickstead Class" as it is now known, was renamed to honour the
great horse Hickstead, following his passing in 2011. Hickstead carried
Canadian Eric Lamaze to an individual gold medal, and Team silver in
jumping at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Harrie Smolders of the Netherlands finished second aboard his
firecracker of a mare, Regina Z.
Of twenty-four horses to tackle the initial round of sixteen jumping
efforts on course, just seven were able to advance to the jump-off
designed by 1976 Olympic silver medalist, Michel Vaillancourt.
"I thought it was a really smart course," said Ward when asked about the
biggest challenge out there tonight. "There were a lot of places to
have four faults, but not one terrible spot. He got you softly in a few
Smolders had the disadvantage of going first in the jump-off, having
laid down the first clean round in the first round of competition.
Said Smolders: "I had to go first in the jump-off but we had fantastic,
super-fast horses and riders in the jump-off so I knew you must do
something spectacular if you wanted to put them under pressure. So I
went as fast as possible with really short turns and I ended up second.
If you had to go first in the order with these riders following you, I
think second place is a very good result!"
Ward followed Smolders in the second round, and was able to observe the
incredible turns and angles the pair executed, in hopes of duplicating
and improving upon their time. Ward pushed Rothchild to an incredible
pace, and admits luck was on their side at the Toronto skyline wall,
where the bricks moved, but did not topple.
"I felt my horse was ready to win, but I knew not only with Harrie's
round in front of me but with what was coming behind me that I had to
do something a bit extraordinary tonight. Sometimes it works in your
favour and sometimes it all goes wrong. Tonight it was in my favour."
It is uncharacteristic to see refusals in a jump-off, but tonight the
horses of both Katie Dinan and Kent Farrington (both of Wellington, FL)
were simply unable to gallop, turn and jump in the manner and speed
which was required to be atop the leaderboard.
"We were making turns tonight in the jump-off that were probably two
strides shorter than you would make any other day," explained Ward.
"Sometimes it got a little desperate with the turns and so it did for
me, but I was able to get him to come up off the ground and it worked
The Canadians did not fare nearly as well tonight, experiencing what
simply felt like a raft of bad luck and circumstance.
Beth Underhill drew first in the order and had two jumps down. Third in
the ring, Ainsley Vince of Burlington, ON, jumped a lovely clean first
round but incurred one time fault which prevented them from moving
forward. Veterans Ian Millar and Mac Cone had a rail each, and
international division newcomer Jordan MacPherson had two down with her
very experienced mount Piccobello du Val De Geer.
Three-time Olympian, Ward says the atmosphere at the Royal is second to
none, and it's a show he hopes to get a "lifetime invitation" to
"I've been coming here since I had just turned 17, and I think I've been
coming every year since then but one. I love the city and the
atmosphere here, the crowd is phenomenal. It has a very special
"We are losing the traditional shows. Here and one other show, Devon,
has really held fast with tradition. You still see black-tie every
night and the house is packed. There are events that say 'society won't
go along with this type of formality and special environment' - Well
this just shows they are wrong. I think it's really very special."
Clearly the Royal Horse Show agrees with Ward, as he also won this
afternoon's $15,000 McKee Family International Jumper Challenge with
Wings. His American teammate Laura Kraut finished in second, and last
night's winner Conor Swail of Ireland finished third.
The Royal Invitational Dressage Cup Grand Prix was contested this
afternoon, where London Olympian David Marcus won with an overall score
Tomorrow night's Royal Horse Show features the finale of the Dressage
Cup, the crowd-pleasing Freestyle to Music competition where Marcus
will hope to maintain his lead over fellow Canadians Diane Creech, Evi
Strasser and Jacqueline Brooks.
The Thursday night horse show is an exciting double-bill of dressage and
international show jumping, with the fun and entertaining Top Score /
Gambler's Choice class rounding out the evening.
About the Royal Horse Show and 91st Royal Agricultural Winter Fair ~ A family tradition since 1922, the Royal Horse Show brings world-class
horses and riders from Canada, the U.S. and overseas, including Olympic
and World champions, to Toronto each November to compete for almost
$800,000 in prize money and prestigious titles. Over 850 horses of all
shapes and sizes participate in show jumping, dressage, indoor
eventing, driving, coaching and so much more, over the ten-days of
competition. Special features such as the President's Choice Animal
Theatre, the aMAZEing Food Journey, AG-tivity Central, Trade-Fair
shopping & educational events round out a day at The Royal. The Royal
remains a highlight of the Toronto fall social calendar, visited by
Royalty, politicians and horse-enthusiasts for generations. For
competition schedules, LIVE webcasting, results and to purchase
tickets, please visit www.royalfair.org.
$100,000 Hickstead FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix Presented by GroupBy
Rider / Hometown / Horse / Faults : Time
McLain Ward / Brewster, NY / Rothchild / 0 : 37.00
Harrie Smolders / Netherlands / Regina Z / 0 : 37.59
Laura Kraut / Middleburg, VA / Jubilee D'Ouilly / 4 : 36.14
Conor Swail / Malahide, Dublin / Game Ready / 4 : 39.00
Kent Farrington / Wellington, FL / Uceko / 4 : 46.93
$15,000 McKee Family International Jumper Challenge
Rider / Hometown / Horse / Time
McLain Ward / Brewster, NY / Wings / 48.12
Laura Kraut / Middleburg, VA / Bonito R / 49.16
Conor Swail / Malahide, Dublin / Arista / 51.37
Mac Cone / King City, ON / Vannety B / 52.71
Francois Mathy / Belgium / Elvis Van De Vrunte / 54.29
Royal Invitational Dressage Cup - Grand Prix
Rider / Hometown / Horse / Overall Score
(Judge's marks available)
David Marcus / Campbellville, ON / Chevri's Capital / 70.000%
Diane Creech / Hagersville, ON / Devon L / 67.801%
Evi Strasser / St. Adele, QC / Action Tyme / 63.901%
Jacqueline Brooks / Mount Albert, ON / D'Niro / 63.014%
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Image with caption: "America's McLain Ward and Rothchild charge over the GroupBy oxer to take the $100,000 Hickstead FEI World Cup™ Grand Prix presented by GroupBy, Wednesday evening at the Royal Horse Show. Ward also took the afternoon's $15,000 McKee Family International Jumper Challenge with Wings. Photo credit: Ben Radvanyi (CNW Group/The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131107_C5119_PHOTO_EN_33083.jpg
SOURCE: Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
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AIPS / IAEJ
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