McLain Ward & Bellefleur. Ph. ©The Book
McLain Ward & Bellefleur. Ph. ©The Book-->
Activity in the jumper rings ramped up Friday, August 1, 2018 at the Hampton Classic Horse Show CSI4* in Bridgehampton, NY, with qualifying classes taking place for those hoping to move forward to the weekend, and championships being awarded in divisions taking place throughout the week.
This year’s Longines FEI World Cup Final winner, and current number two ranked rider in the world, McLain Ward, of Brewster, NY, took top honours in the $15,000 LeSportsac Speed Derby Friday morning at the Hampton Classic.
Riding the cat-like, eight-year-old gray mare, Bellefleur PS Z, Ward bested the competition, and the course, to come out on top in a time of 74.227 seconds. Bellefleur is owned by Ward’s godmother, Susie Heller, and his daughter, Lilly.
The course included the natural obstacles of the bank and the open water jump scored with a rail on top.
“We’ll just keep stepping her up the ladder and we’ll see where she ends up.
“She’s really a fun horse, she’s very careful, but she’s like a little lion,” described Ward after the class. “We’ll just keep stepping her up the ladder and we’ll see where she ends up. She is naturally fast and so brave. I wasn’t sure what she was going to think about the naturals though – the bank and the open water with the rail. We had practiced them a little bit, but she hasn’t had a lot of experience with them yet. She just takes everything in stride and, you know, with her rhythm and carefulness, it allows you to stay at just the right pace. A lot of the careful horses love the grass field, and for some it is intimidating. It really depends on the personality of the horse. Bellefleur is not intimidated by much really!”
Second place went to Brazil’s Fabio Leivas Da Costa with Tosca De L’Esques, with a time of 76.051 seconds. Third went to American Molly Ashe, with Picobello Choppin PC, finishing on 76.130 seconds.
Earlier on Friday, was the $10,000 Land Rover Junior/Amateur Owner Welcome Stake. Held as a qualifier for Sunday’s $25,000 Campbell Stables Jumping Derby, the top 30 horses from the Stake class are eligible to advance.
The course also included the natural obstacles of the bank and the open water with a rail on top.
Claudia Villamil guided her own Quite Close to the top spot, finishing with a clean round and a time of 70.226 seconds. Second went to Mckayla Langmeier with Linda Langmeier’s Iliano Van D’Abelendrerf, also with a clean round and a posted time of 72.415 seconds.
After the class, Villamil shared a surprising piece of information: “I’ve never jumped a bank with this horse!” Villamil confided. “I thought she would maybe spook at the bank, but she was really brave and took everything in stride. Since this is my favourite show of the year, I wanted to be quite competitive, so I am very happy with how it turned out.”
Running through September 3, the Classic features over 200 classes in six beautifully manicured show rings; a Boutique Garden with more than 70 vendors for shopping, and a wide selection of dining options on the world-class 60-acre showground.
The Hampton Classic is one of the most spectacular equestrian events in the nation and showcases the highest levels of hunter-jumper competition. The world-class event hosts hundreds of top riders and horses from all over the nation and world.
For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, complimentary live webcasts of all Grand Prix ring competitions air on the Hampton Classic website, produced by ShowNet.