McLain Ward & Bellefleur PS Z. ph: Sportfot.
The second week of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) began on Wednesday, January 17, with the opening class, the $8,000 Douglas Elliman Real Estate 1.45m Jumpers. Repeating his first week win, Olympic team gold medalist McLain Ward (USA) took the top spot, this time riding Bellefleur PS Z for Susan Heller and Lilly Ward. Week two of WEF continues through Sunday, January 21, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL.
There were 15 entries in the 1.45m Jumper class, which was held in a speed format. The course designer for the International Arena this week is Oscar Soberon of Mexico.
Nine of the 15 entries were clear, but it was Ward and Bellefleur PS Z, an eight-year-old Zangersheide mare by Berlin x Quidam de Revel, who were fastest around the course in 60.497 seconds. Laura Chapot (USA) took the next two spots in the results with Chandon Blue, owned by Mary Chapot, close behind in 60.606 seconds, and Out of Ireland, owned by The Edge, in 60.925 seconds.
Ward has been developing Bellefleur PS Z since she was six years old, and owns the mare with his godmother, Susan Heller.
“Well actually, Lilly owns her with [Susan],” he said. “The deal was Lilly had to be my owner so that I wouldn’t sell her. She’s a phenomenal mare. She’s super careful, brave, really game, and she’s stepping up the levels nicely.
“She’s kind of suited to everything,” continued Ward. “She’s naturally fast, and she’s very careful. It’ll be interesting to see how far she goes because she’s very game and everything we ask her to do, she seems to do really well.”
Ward plans to keep building up Bellefleur’s experience, with the goal of competing in the 1.50m classes.
“It was a nice galloping course which was nice for the opening day,” said Ward. “I thought she handled it really well. They had difficult double verticals at the end, which probably last season would have been a challenge for her, but she handled it beautifully today.”
The full results can be viewed here.