McLain Ward (USA) piloted 15-year-old Holsteiner mare, Callas, to her first career CSI5* win in the $406,000 Fidelity Investments Grand Prix at Wellington International on Friday night. “She performed brilliant,” said McLain of the mare’s effort.
The duo had the fastest time in the 9-rider jump-off, tripping the timers at 44.03 seconds. “I actually thought the jump-off course set up pretty well for the mare,” remarked Ward. He added that Callas “cuts a little bit left,” so he was able to take a “pretty strong line” from fences 1 to 2 in the jump-off.
Ward took over the ride from Annie Revers about a year ago, with whom the mare had success with at the Grand Prix level. When Revers went off to school, she and Beechwood Stables, LLC, gave Ward the opportunity to ride her. “[Callas] had been knocking on the door, so it’s nice for us to break through and get a big win,” said Ward.
Ward, who is currently currently 9th in the FEI Jumping World Cup North American League standings for the 2022/2023 season, has his sight set on the FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha 2023. “We have another few shows here in Florida on the horizon. Then I think I’ll use [Callas], in conjunction with Contagious, at the World Cup Finals. That’s on our radar.”
Second to Kenny, Third to Farrington
Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Volnay Du Boisdeville finished second with a time of 45.09 seconds in the jump-off. “He’s an incredible horse,” said Kenny.
He and the 14-year-old Selle Francais stallion have been second in three five-star Grands Prix during their time as a team. “At some point, I hope we’ll break through,” remarked Kenny. “But he’s such a fantastic horse.”
Kent Farrington (USA) rounded out the top three aboard Landon, a 10-year-old Zangersheide gelding, with a time of 45.14 seconds.
Farrington has been riding Landon since he was a 7-year-old and has brought him up slowly. “He’s an incredible jumper, [but] his rideability was a bit difficult, which set some speed limits on me for the jump-offs,” shared Farrington. “But he’s learning to go quicker.”
Saturday’s Grand Prix was Landon’s first night class in the International Arena. “I thought it was a tremendous performance for him. This was his first night class here in the big ring and I thought he jumped incredible. I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”
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Thanks to ADM Animal Nutrition for our coverage leading up to the 2023 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final, including rider interviews, competition reports, photos, videos and more!