TORONTO, Canada--Mclain Ward won the last two classes of the Royal Horse Show in Toronto, a speed class Friday nght, Nov. 9 and the $205,000 Jumping World Cup Saturday evening, Nov. 10.
Ward claimed the $205,000 World Cup in front of a sold-out crowd to close out the Royal Horse Show, and with the victory won the Leading International Rider title.
Riding HH Gig's Girl, Wardtopped a 21-horse starting field over tracks set by 2018 World Championship course designer, Alan Wade of Ireland, to claim the ninth Royal Horse Show World Cup title of his career.
Last to go in the jump-off, Ward executed a brilliant round to stop the clock at 32.42 seconds.
Ward’s U.S. gold medal teammate at the recent World Championships, Devin Ryan, finished in 33.88 seconds with his World Championship partner, Eddie Blue, to place second.
“IT WAS NICE to have the last spot in the order,” said Ward. “I know Devin and his horse are quick because he has beaten me a few times. Sometimes you get lucky.
“This was a gymnastics test, which is what courses are now at the highest level,” said Ward. “The mare performed beautifully the whole second part of this year and is really putting things together, and it’s a great way for her to finish her season. She has always been a spectacular jumper and I feel she has a really exciting future.”
Ward, 43, estimates that he has been competing at the Royal Horse Show for almost a quarter of a century, saying, “I love it here. Obviously, I’m not Canadian, but I think of this as a second home. The show is being run beautifully, and the organization is phenomenal. As you saw, we had a sold-out crowd, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
The victory earned Ward qualifying points for the 2019 World Cup Final, an event he won in 2017.
The 2019 edition will be held next April in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Ryan’s second-place finish placed him closer to his goal of qualifying for the World Cup, in which he placed second to Beezie Madden earlier this year.
“As I always say, take it one day at a time, but this year I am going to try to make it back to the World Cup Final,” Ryan said. “We’ll see how the cards play out, but he’s had quite a big year this year, and I think he’s a really special horse, so I don’t want to over use him.
Ali Ramsay of Victoria, BC, clean in 34.62 seconds, was third and Great Britian’s Amanda Derbyshire also clean in 35.20 seconds finished fourth riding Roulette BH for owner Gochman Sport Horse LLC, while New Zealand’s Sharn Wordley finished fifth after having a rail down.
WARD ALSO won the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open speed class Friday evening.
Six riderswere cleas in the class, with Ward finishing in the fastest time of 62.71 seconds on Tradition de la Roque, an 11-year-old black French-bred mare owned by Kessler Show Stables.
Canada’s Keean White on Leilani, was second in a time of 63.49 seconds, with Capt. Brian Cournane riding Penelope Cruz and Conor Swail on GK Coco Chanel took third and fourth places for Ireland respectively with times of 64.11 and 64.70 seconds.
Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire was fifth in 68.17 riding Roulette BH while 2017 Canadian Champion Amy Millar was sixth on Heros.
Canada’s Keean White of Rockwood, ON, finished runner-up in the $50,000 Weston Canadian Open riding Leilani for owner Lisa Marie Gauthier and Angelstone Farm. Photo by Ben Radvanyi Photography
“I love it here,” said Ward. “I think this is one of the great events in our sport throughout the world. The atmosphere, the way that they have been able to hold on to so many traditional aspects of the event, I think it’s a phenomenal evening. It’s one of the few places where I come to watch something other than show jumping.
“The Royal is something that is very special to me,” said Ward. “The environment here is brilliant. This is a crowd that really understands the sport and appreciates the animals. It still has great ties to agriculture. People make an effort to dress up and make it an important evening. I think it creates an environment that is electric and special to be a part of.”
Athletes representing seven nations traveled to Toronto for the Royal Horse Show, held as part of the 96th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and the more than 7,000 show jumping fans that packed the Coca-Cola Coliseum on Saturday night were treated to international show jumping at its finest.