Saturday hosted the $70,000 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4* at the American Gold Cup, where McLain Ward (USA) captured yet another win in the day’s highlight event, this time aboard Tradition De La Roque, owned by Kessler Show Stables Europe B.V. The pair bested a total of 51 entries with a double-clear performance in 35.84 seconds.
Held on the Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm, Alan Wade (IRL) built a challenging 13-obstacle first round track set at 1.50m in height, which saw 11 cross the finish line with no faults to secure their spot in the jump-off.
Canada’s Mario Deslauriers was the early double-clear pathfinder in the jump-off with Amsterdam, owned by Luja LLC and Wishing Well Farm LLC. They stopped the timers in 38.13 seconds, but would take home fourth place honors at the end of the day.
Student of Ward’s and fellow NetJets® U.S. Show Jumping Team gold medalist, Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) was next to jump fault-free over the shortened course with Sagamore Farms’ Fantast in 37.44 seconds to move into the lead.
However, it was Capt. Brian Cournane (IRL) and his own and Christine Stiller’s Penelope Cruz who narrowly slid into the first place position two rounds later, finishing fourth-tenths of a second faster than Sternlicht in 37.05 seconds.
Next up in the order, Ward, who has been having great success with a new string of horses at this year’s American Gold Cup, blazed around the eight-fence track with the 11-year-old Selle Français mare. In only their second show together, they posted a time of 35.84 seconds to overtake Cournane with one more combination left to go.
“It was our first time out on the grass today, said Ward. “That’s always a factor but it’s nice to have a brave horse like [Tradition De La Roque]. I was lucky to have two shots [in the class]. [HH Gigi’s Girl] was a little unlucky in the jump-off but went beautifully. I kind of knew what the needs were to win and it felt like the horse was in good form and had a big stride so it worked out.”
Eighteen-year-old Caitlyn Connors (USA) and Express Blue GP Du Bois Madame, owned by Caitlyn Connors LLC, concluded Saturday’s competition on the Grand Prix Field with the last double-clear effort in 40.81 seconds, securing Ward the win, Cournane second place and Sternlicht third place.
With Deslauriers claiming fourth place, Connors finished in fifth place, while Richie Moloney (IRL) and Equinimity LLC’s Freestyle De Muze rounded out the double-clear standings in sixth place in 45.98 seconds.
With three wins already under his belt, including Thursday’s $2,500 Staller 1.35m Jumper class with Queen Jane, owned by Walstib Stables LLC, and Friday’s $80,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier CSI4*-W with Contagious, owned by Beechwood Stables LLC, Ward hopes to keep his streak alive heading into Sunday’s grand finale where he will ride Contagious.
The 2018 American Gold Cup culminates with the coveted $204,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ New York CSI4*-W on Sunday, Sept. 30, at 2 p.m., where the top 40 athletes from Friday’s qualifier will go head-to-head for the highly sought-after American Gold Cup. Prior to the event’s start time, Ward will retire his legendary partner, Rothchild, in a special ceremony.