McLain Ward and Bellefleur PS Z topped the $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Classic CSI 5* on Friday, March 9, during week nine of the 2018 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), marking the reigning FEI World Cup champion’s second CSI5* victory in as many days at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.
Fresh off a win in Thursday’s $132,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge CSI5* aboard Hija van Strokapelleken, owned by Evergate Stables LLC, Ward (USA) returned to the International Arena at PBIEC to take the win aboard another gray mare, Bellefleur PS Z, a nine-year-old Zangersheide owned by Susan Heller and Ward’s daughter, Lilly Ward.
When Ward entered the ring in the 54-entry speed class, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and her mount Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five, had set a quick time to beat of 56.19 seconds over the Alan Wade-designed course.
“I didn’t think Kristen was actually beatable to be honest. She has a much bigger stride on that horse than I have on mine,” said Ward, who was ultimately able to shave more than a second off of Vanderveen’s time, finishing on 54.80 seconds.
“My mare is very fast though, and with today’s course, the numbers allowed her to keep going where a lot of the horses had to slow down,” said Ward. “I was able to catch the second to last fence very well to do the leave out, which I normally probably wouldn’t do with her. I got such a nice jump that I thought I was okay to do it, and she made a great effort.”
Friday’s victory marked Bellefleur’s second win in the $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Classic CSI5*, having previously won the class on February 9, during WEF 5. That same week, the mare also claimed victory in the $70,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Classic CSI5*, before enjoying a few weeks off from the show ring.
“She’s been great down here,” said Ward of the mare that he will now point toward the $132,000 Hollow Creek Farm 1.50m Championship Jumper Classic Final CSI 4* during WEF 11.
“She’s a blood mare, so we don’t work her too hard because we want to watch that she doesn’t get sort of ‘race horse fit,’ so to speak. She keeps herself fit anyway. Owen Rogers who actually takes care of her does a lot of the flatwork with her. He does a beautiful job. We try to keep it really low-stress because the horse is super competitive and super ready.
“I’d say my ideal plan for her is coming to fruition,” concluded Ward. “I think she’s stepping up beautifully.”
Final results: $35,000 Bainbridge 1.45m Classic CSI5*
1 BELLEFLEUR PS Z: 2009 Zangersheide mare by Berlin x Quidam de Revel
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Susan Heller and Lilly Ward: 0/54.80
2 BULL RUN’S FAUSTINO DE TILI: 2005 Belgian Warmblood stallion by Berlin x Darco
KRISTEN VANDERVEEN (USA), Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC: 0/56.19
3 TIENNA: 2008 Canadian Sport Horse mare by For Pleasure x Polydox
DANIEL COYLE (IRL), Ariel Grange: 0/58.30
4 CHACCIAMA: 2007 Oldenburg mare by Chacco Blue x Andiamo Z
RODRIGO LAMBRE (BRA), Mario Oñate B.: 0/61.557
5 DARKO’S PROMISE: 2008 Irish Sport Horse by unknown x Semper Odem
ALBERTO MICHAN (ISR), Ruedi Stüssi: 0/61.92
6 CYBEL II: 2008 Irish Sport Horse mare by Varo x Lancer
LAURA CHAPOT (USA), Mary Chapot: 0/62.02
7 COLLIN: 2007 KWPN gelding by Colandro x Amethist
LUIZ FRANCISCO DE AZEVEDO (BRA), Luiz Francisco de Azevedo: 0/62.09
8 GK COCO CHANEL: 2008 Holsteiner gelding by Clarimo x Lerano 2
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Vanessa Mannix: 0/62.62
9 CURIOUS GEORGE: 2009 Rheinlander gelding by Codex One x Dutch Capitol
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Old Willow Farms LLC: 0/63.58
10 CULA LOU V: 2006 Westphalian mare by Chacco-Blue x Sandro
WILTON PORTER (USA), Sleepy P Ranch: 0/65.05
11 EDISON P: 2009 KWPN gelding by Lexicon x Furore
ERYNN BALLARD (USA), Looking Back Farm: 0/65.23
12 ALEX: 2004 Westphalian gelding by Arpeggio x Mon Cheri
JENNIFER GATES (USA), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/66.88