McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z win the $33,500 Ashcor Technologies Cup at Spruce Meadows…

McLain Ward of USA riding HH Carlos Z winner

The ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5* continued at Spruce Meadows on Friday with an exciting showdown between two of the world’s top riders in the $33,500 Ashcor Technologies Cup 1.55m. In a two-horse jump-off in the Meadows on the Green, McLain Ward (USA) and HH Carlos Z came out on top against Kent Farrington (USA) and Uceko.

The $15,000 CIBC Junior/Amateur Jumper 1.40m competition was also featured on Friday with a win for Lucas Porter (USA) and Mill’s Georgia. The ‘Pan American’ Tournament runs July 10-13, featuring the $400,000 Pan American Cup presented by Rolex on Sunday, July 13.

Uliano Vezzani of Italy set a difficult track for the 24 competitors vying for Friday’s Ashcor Technologies Cup. Just two entries were able to clear the first round course without fault, leaving McLain Ward and Kent Farrington to battle it out over the short course. Farrington went first with RCG Farm’s Uceko, but had a rail down with a time of 39.46 seconds. Ward and Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z followed with the winning clear round in 40.97 seconds.

Ward and the 12-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire) had the fastest time in Thursday’s jump-off for the $33,500 G&C Farm Cup 1.50m, but dropped an unlucky rail in the short course to finish seventh. Today, the pair was out for redemption.

“It was really unlucky yesterday. He jumped great,” Ward recalled. “The horse is on fire. He was first, second, and had one class with a time fault last week. Yesterday he jumped brilliant. It was kind of a shame of a rail because he had a very good round and he really didn’t do anything wrong. I thought today was really difficult when I walked it and obviously the results proved it. I’m just thrilled with the way this horse is going.”

“The course was very big,” Ward noted. “He (Vezzani) used a lot of the twelve-foot poles and even ten-foot poles, which obviously are lighter than the 14-footers. I thought it was just a very legitimate 1.55m track and the results showed that.”

When Farrington had a rail down in the jump-off, Ward just needed the clean round to win, but he still had to keep the time in mind.

“I wanted to be fast enough at least until deep into the course,” he explained. “When you are in that situation, you want to always try to win two ways. If you go in and you go very slow and you have a fence down, you lose the class. If you go in and you carry pace, not crazy, but carry pace and you have a jump down, you still have a chance to beat them on time as well. Kent wasn’t crazy fast either and Carlos is a very fast horse, so my thought was to get through the blue vertical over there neat, and if I was clear, then gear down and jump the last two clean. You’re trying to take your risk level out a little bit, but that is normally my strategy in that situation.”

The first round course proved difficult for many of the horses in Friday’s competition, but two of the most successful and experienced came out on top. It was a great match-up of talent between Uceko and HH Carlos Z in the jump-off, and Ward knew he could count on Carlos to take the challenge.

“Uceko is a proven veteran. He has won some of the biggest grand prixs in the world,” Ward acknowledged. “Carlos has had a little bit more of an interesting career, but he has always been a horse thought of as the utmost in quality. We were really, I think in the end, very lucky to be able to purchase him in the beginning of this year. I think with a little luck the next few years are going to be really a lot of fun with this horse because I think he is going to do this week in and week out.”

Final Results: $33,500 Ashcor Technologies Cup 1.55m

1 HH CARLOS Z: Zangersheide / G / 12 Chellano Z x Voltaire
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Double H Farm: 0/0/40.97

2 UCEKO: Dutch Warmblood / G / 13 Celano x Koriander
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), RCG Farm: 0/4/39.46

3 SUMAS ZORRO: Irish Sport Horse / M / 10 Ard Vdl Douglas x Unknown
SAMEH EL DAHAN (EGY), Joanne Sloan-Allen & Sameh El Dahan: 4/64.91

4 MARTHA LOUISE: Swedish Warmblood / M / 10 Maloubet de Pleville x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Susan & Ariel Grange: 4/68.34

5 ANTON: Warmblood / G / 10 Marlone x Orville
JAIME AZCARRAGA (MEX), Jaime Azcarraga: 4/68.51

6 RAHMANNSHOF BEFORE: Warmblood / M / 8 Tenerife VDL x Matterhorn
SANTIAGO LAMBRE (MEX), Justus Blass: 4/69.45

7 MARK Q: Irish Sport Horse / G / 12 OBOS Quality 004 x Positively
KEVIN BABINGTON (IRL), Kevin Babington: 4/69.49

8 FORTIN: Zangersheide / G / 9 Forsyth x Quinar Z
ANTONIO CHEDRAUI (MEX), Antonio Chedraui: 4/70.73

9 EREGAST VAN’T KIEZELHOF: Belgian Warmblood / G / 10 Thunder van de Zuuthoeut x Lantano
SHANE SWEETNAM (IRL), Spy Coast Farm, LLC: 5/72.59

10 PEKIN ST DENIS: Selle Francais / G / 11 Eyken des Fontenis x Quatubet du Rouet
CLAUDIA LORENZA O FARRILL (MEX), Terranova Kohima SL: 5/73.54

11 ALBERTO II: Holstein / G / 11 Acorado x Cassini I
KARA CHAD (CAN), Stone Ridge Farms LLC: 8/69.03

12 WOKLAHOMA: Dutch Warmblood / M / 11 Sheraton x Unknown
ROBERTO TERAN (COL), ARK Partners LLC: 8/69.08