Ward & Sternlicht at Spruce Meadows. Ph. Tori Repole for NF
McLain Ward, the master from the USA scored yet another victory aboard the fantastic HH Carlos in the dramatic Mercer Cup CSI5* on the opening day of the Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on June 29, 2017.
The riders came to play en masse in the evening competition against the clock, with nearly 90 athletes coming through the in-gate. Ward rode HH Carlos Z, the 15-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano x Voltaire) that has been a consistent winner with Ward over the years.
With such a vast entry it was incredibly impressive to see young Adrienne Sternlicht, a student of Ward’s, hold on to the leading time from the top of the competition order – only to be beaten by her trainer, who entered the ring as one of the final few riders.
“Carlos is probably one of the fastest horses I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding,” Ward said following the win. “Of course it’s nice to be at the end of the order – my student Adrienne was winning – and I guess I just had to make sure she came back for a few lessons!
Sternlicht and Raia Dhelby, a 12-year-old Selle Francis mare, finished off in second place with that solid time of 64.93, which ended up being 3.69 seconds behind Ward’s winning first place time.
Finishing in third was Jaime Azcarraga of Mexico aboard his own For Fashion, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion (For Pleasure x Contender). Azcarraga, was the fastest finisher next to the American pair, crossing the timers on a clear score card and a time of 65.64 seconds. Fellow Mexican rider Jose Alberto Jr. Martinez came 4th with Sultan Du Guerpre, and Rich Fellers of the USA was 5th with HTH Crazy For Crown.
See results at this link.
Yann Candele Wins Cargill Cup 1.50m
Earlier in the day, Canada’s Yann Candele captured a thrilling victory aboard the 11 year-old Oldenburg gelding Chaventyno, for day one of FEI competitions at the ‘Pan American’ Tournament, presented by Rolex.
It was an impressive, international starting list of 56 athletes, who took to the stunning Meadows on the Green Ring for a great afternoon of top sport. The Cargill Cup 1.50m competition, set by Canadian Course designer Peter Grant, presented a test challenging both scope and efficiency from start to finish. With 17 notable combinations qualifying on clean score cards for the jump off, it was no doubt that an exhilarating second round against the clock was soon to follow.
With the advantage of going later in the jump off, Candele found the winning track by stopping the clock at 44.43 seconds.
“I made my plan for the inside turn when I first walked the jump off course, I came off of 11A,B with a lot of speed and got very close to the oxer – which ended up making for a bit of a funny turn but I got back in line and just kept going,” he remarked. “When I first walked out of the ring I wasn’t sure that I would be all that much faster but after speaking with a few other riders it turned out to be a huge advantage.”
After a great start to the Spruce Meadows Summer Series on HH Callas, McLain Ward of the USA was early to go in the jump off, and set the time to beat on this impressive mare. But with Candele’s unmatched inside track, Ward’s time to beat fell behind to finish 1.17 seconds from the win.
“I was very pleased with Callas today, I think she jumped two spectacular rounds,” Ward said. “I went early in the jump off – which I don’t always find to be a disadvantage you ride your plan. I originally thought that number fence two would come out so I didn’t look at that turn until I went in the ring. I thought about it for a stride and decided against it – I thought it would be too much start and stop. But Yann pulled it off and in the end it was a good 10 or 12 strides faster – which is significant.”
Last to go and finishing third in the Cargill Cup 1.50m was Kevin Babington of Ireland aboard Mark Q, a 15 year-old Irish Warmblood gelding. The pair finished the jump off test just 0.28 second off the pace of Ward.
“Going last in the jump off I had heard that Yann made the turn – but that it wasn’t easy. I jumped through the double and in the air I was thinking about it.” Babington said. “ I had to put on a little leg on the out of the combination so I knew my arc would be too far to make it happen – I just chickened out a little bit.”
See results of the Cargill Cup at this link.