Ward and Callas Shine Bright in CHF406,000 Fidelity Investments CSI5* Grand Prix
USA’s Mclain Ward had a packed house on its feet at the end of a nine-horse jump-off in the CHF406,000 Fidelity Investments® CSI5* Grand Prix during Week 5’s ‘Saturday Night Lights’ at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). He and Callas had precision and speed in spades to tackle Frank Rothenberger’s (GER) track and win the first CSI5* event of the WEF season.
There’s another leading lady coming up in Ward’s impressive string of horses. He expertly piloted Callas, a 15-year-old Holsteiner (Casall x Coriano) to the first CIS5* victory of the mare’s career on Saturday. They eclipsed what seemed like an untouchable leading time from Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Volnay du Boisdeville, a 2009 Selle Français stallion (Winningmood x Jalisco B) owned by Vlock Show Stables. Ward clocked in at 44.03 seconds, nearly a second faster that Kenny (45.09). An even smaller margin separated second and third place, with Kent Farrington (USA) stopping the clock at 45.14 seconds with Landon, a 2013 Zangersheide gelding (Comilfo Plus Z x Quadrillo) owned by Haity MC Nerney.
Ward has been the number-one rider for Callas for about a year, but is no stranger to the mare’s talent after scouting her for previous rider, U.S. Under 25 athlete Annabel Revers.
“She’s been knocking on the door, so it’s nice for us to break through and get a big win,” said Ward of the Beechwood Stables owned mare.
“The jump-off was built for us,” enthused Ward. “She cuts a little left and so one, two I could take a straight line. I needed the Hermès to show up well off that rollback. As you saw with everybody, you had to make a sharp turn and it was a bit awkward, but I got away with that one. She performed brilliant.”
With only two to return behind him over the short course, Ward was happy to have names like Kenny and Farrington already on the leaderboard. “It’s always easier when you come after riders like Kent. When you go before you do the best round, but when you go after you certainly are at an advantage.”
Ward and Callas Shine Bright in CHF406,000 Fidelity Investments® CSI5* Grand Prix (wellingtoninternational.com)