n a highly competitive field that included three silver medal-winning members of the United States Show Jumping Olympic team, McLain Ward and Tina La Boheme emerged from the group of 25 riders to claim the Authentic Cup and their share of the $125,000 prize money at the 19th annual New Albany Classic Invitational Grand Prix & Family Day in New Albany, Ohio on Sunday, September 26, 2016.
The victory marked the fourth win for Ward at The New Albany Classic (including 2004 on Goldika, 2011 on Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve, 2012 on Pjotter Van De Zonnehoeve).
Founded and hosted by Abigail Wexner at her home in New Albany, Ohio, the FEI CSI 2* and USEF 5* rated charity competition drew over 15,000 spectators and generated more than $1.7 million to support family violence initiatives in central Ohio provided by The Center for Family Safety & Healing.
This year’s class was formidable, with nine of the 25 combinations going clear over the Richard Jeffery designed course. The picturesque Ohio autumn day contributed to the great turnout and the crowd took every opportunity to appreciate the performance of the duos, cheering on the competitors as they navigated the course.
However, five pairs managed a double clear day, and in the end it all came down to who was best among Rio Olympic teammates Ward and Beezie Madden. Madden rode a quick track with Breitling LS, but it was no match for Ward, who finished 1.43 seconds faster than her with the 9 year old Selle Francais mare that Ward owns in partnership with Arthur Hawkins. Shane Sweetnam and Chaqui Z finished third, with Leslie Howard and Gentille Van Spieveld in fourth and Andrew Bourns aboard CHS Inception in fifth, all clear in the jump off. Kent Farrington was 6th after tipping a rail for four faults on Gazelle.
“We were so honored to have three of the U.S. Olympic medal-winners here to compete and they certainly did not disappoint,” said Abigail Wexner upon conclusion of the grand prix. “It was another great day of show jumping in New Albany made even more gratifying because of the significant support generated to help families in central Ohio who need our attention. I’m so very proud of the enthusiastic participation of the riders and owners, as well as the results of our collective effort to provide a memorable day for families.”
See the full results list here.