McLain Ward and HH Azur (RedBayStock.com)
Calgary, Alta. – The United States’ McLain Ward and HH Azur went head-to-head against Great Britain’s Scott Brash and Ursula XII in a nail-biting jump-off at the CP International Grand Prix presented by Rolex on Sunday. Because the defending champions went triple-clear, Ward and HH Azur needed to complete the jump-off less than 41.19 seconds. Unfortunately, they had a rail at fence two, a Rolex vertical, to end on four faults for second place. Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca and Ensor De Litrange LXII finished third with one time fault. Kent Farrington and Voyeur, also part of the U.S. contingent, finished just outside the top three with four faults.
“I thought she [HH Azur] jumped in great form. She is still a young horse and learning against the clock, and she jumped three rounds. That gets better with maturity. I think as amazing as she is, the future is bright for her,” said Ward.
The biggest Grand Prix in the world lived up to its hype. Leopoldo Palacios designed two challenging courses that tested all 40 combinations. In the first round, 21 combinations accumulated faults. A daunting triple combination with two liverpools forced 12 combinations to retire. However, Ward (Brewster, N.Y.) and Farrington (Wellington, Fla.) demonstrated why they are Olympic Team Silver medalists, as each got past the triple combination with ease. They joined Brash and De Luca as the only four combinations to post clear first rounds.
The top 12 advanced to the second round where they faced a new set of jumps. Ward and HH Azur, Double H Farms and Francois Mathy’s 2006 Belgian Warmblood mare, continued with a clear round, while Farrington and Voyeur, Amalaya Investments’ 2002 Dutch Warmblood gelding, added four faults with a rail down at element “A” of the double combination. Brash and Ward advanced to the jump-off, the fourth jump-off in Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Grand Prix history.
Quentin Judge (Wellington, Fla.) and Richard Spooner (Agua Dulce, Calif.) also competed as part of the U.S. contingent but did not advance to the second round. Judge and HH Conrad, Double H Farms’ 2005 Holsteiner stallion, finished on eight faults. Spooner and Cristallo, Show Jumping Syndication International’s 1998 Holsteiner gelding, ended on 12 faults.
From the USEF Communications Department