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McLain Ward to defend his World Cup title beginning April 11 in Paris, France

PARIS, France--Ten of the nation's top U.S. show jumpers will compete for the FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Paris, France, April 11-15, at the AccorHotels Arena.

Mclain Ward on Azur in warm upbrinkman4 10 0095Mclain Ward on HH Azur in the warm-up ring (Photo by Shannon Brinkman)The U.S. contingent will face stiff competition from the likes of Sweden's Henrik von Eckermann, Frenchman Kevin Staut and other top Europeans coming off an indoor season from a field of 38 competitors.

Among the veterans, McLain Ward of Brewster, N.Y., the reigning FEI World Cup Jumping Final champion, will ride HH Azur, Double H Farm and François Mathy's 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare.

The four-time Olympian and three-time FEI World Equestrian Games competitor will look to defend his title on the bold, bay mare that carried him in 2017.

"Any of the 37 best riders in this final are able to win the title," said Ward. "The bottom line for me will be focusing on my job and our performance. But with HH Azur, my main concern will be to ride her as best as possible and if I succeed, I will have a good chance of winning."

Ward and HH Azur most recently placed third in the $384,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI5* and won the $132,000 Winter Equestrian Festival Challenge Cup Round V CSI5* during week five of WEF.

Ward and HH Azur anchored the U.S. Show Jumping Team to a silver-medal finish at the 2017 Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain, last September.

 

ALISON ROBITAILLE of Upperville, Va., will ride Ace, a 13-year-old KWPN gelding owned by Bertram and Diana Firestone, in her fifth FEI World Cup Jumping Final appearance.

Most recently, the duo were top-five in the $265,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI5* during week five of the 2018 HITS Ocala Winter Festival.

They also were top-five in the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Washington CSI4*-W for the President's Cup at the 2017 Washington International Horse Show and were members of the 2017 silver-medal winning U.S. Show Jumping Team at FEI Jumping Nations Cup in Mexico.

Robitaille served as part of the U.S. team at the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games in Rome.

Devin Ryan of Long Valley, N.J., and Eddie Blue will make their Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final debut.

Ryan and the 9-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC, recently placed second in the $35,000 Longines FEI World Ranking Class CSI3*-W at the 2018 Live Oak International.

They also served as the reserve combination for the NetJets® U.S. Show Jumping Team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA in February.

They placed second in the $265,000 Longines Grand Prix CSI5* during week five of the 2018 HITS Ocala Winter Festival.

Elizabeth "Beezie" Madden of Cazenovia, N.Y., a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time FEI World Equestrian Games competitor, won the FEI World Cup Jumping Final in 2013 in Göteborg, Sweden, with Simon.

For this year's final, Madden will ride Abigail Wexner's 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion Breitling LS.

They won the $205,000 Grand Prix CSI4* and the $205,000 CSIO4* Grand Prix during week 11 and week eight of WEF, respectively.

Madden and Breitling LS placed second in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Thermal CSI3*-W at the 2018 HITS Coachella Desert Circuit.

Madden contributed to the silver-medal finish of the U.S. Show Jumping Team at the Longines FEI Nations Cup Final in Barcelona, Spain last September, with Darry Lou.

 

KRISTEN VANDERVEEN of Wellington, Fla., appears in her first Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final aboard Bull Run's Faustino de Tili, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood stallion owned by Bull Run Jumpers Five LLC.

The North American Junior and Young Rider Championship alum earned her spot in the Final after winning the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Ocala Grand Prix at the 2018 Live Oak International.

She and Bull Run's Faustino de Tili also placed in the top 10 in the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping New York CSI4*-W at the 2017 American Gold Cup.

Sarah Scheiring of Chester, N.J., will ride Cheval Equestrian LLC and Molly Ben-Menachem's 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Dontez.

The pair comes off of an impressive season with several strong finishes that include top-five finishes in the Longines FEI World Cup Qualifier and the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Guadalajara at the 2018 Triple Copa Scappino CSI4*-W as well as a third-place finish in the $130,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Calgary at 2017 Royal West CSI3*-W.

This will be the combination's first Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final.

Andrew "Andy" Kocher of Howell, N.J., will make his Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final debut with Navalo de Poheton.

Kocher and the 17-year-old Selle Français gelding owned by MKO Equestrian LLC won the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Del Mar at the 2017 Del Mar International World Cup Week.

 

CHARLIE JACOBS of Boston, Mass., returns for his fourth Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final.

He and Cassinja S, the 12-year-old Zweibrücker mare owned by CMJ Sporthorse LLC, placed in the top 10 in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Ocala CSI3*-W at the 2018 Live Oak International, as well as in the $130,000 FEI World Cup Jumping Washington CSI4*-W for the President's Cup at the 2017 Washington International Horse Show.

The combination also contributed to the gold-medal win of the U.S. Show Jumping Team in the 2017 BMO Nations' Cup at Spruce Meadows.

From the West Coast Sub-League. Richard Spooner of Agua Dulce, Calif., will ride in his 15th FEI World Cup Jumping Final on either Chatinus, a 10-year-old Hanoverian gelding that he owns with Tracy Katayama, or Arthos R, a 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by CNS Logistics, Inc.

Spooner and Arthos R most recently won the $40,200 Desert Classic CSI3*-W during week four of the 2018 HITS Coachella Desert Circuit, as well as the $50,000 Las Vegas National Winning Round Jumper Classic at the 2017 Las Vegas National Horse Show.

On Chatinus, Spooner claimed the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Las Vegas CSI4*-W presented by Interactive Mortgage at the 2017 Las Vegas National Horse Show to qualify for the Final.

Jamie Barge of Malibu, Calif., and Luebbo return to the Final for their second consecutive year.

She and the 13-year-old Oldenburg Springpferd gelding owned by Kylie Co. placed in the top 10 in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Ocala Grand Prix CSI3*-W at the 2018 Live Oak International and the $100,000 FEI World Cup Jumping Thermal CSI3*-W at the 2018 HITS Desert Circuit, respectively.

The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final gets underway Thursday evening with the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final I (Jumping Speed Class).

Watch it live on FEI TV beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST.

View more information about the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final.

Alix Coleman

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