McLain Ward & Callas. Photo © Sportfot.
USA’s McLain Ward had a packed house on its feet at the end of a nine-horse jump-off in the CHF406,000 Fidelity Investments® CSI5* Grand Prix during Week 5’s ‘Saturday Night Lights’ at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF). He and Callas had precision and speed in spades to tackle Frank Rothenberger’s (GER) track and win the first CSI5* event of the WEF season.
There’s another leading lady coming up in Ward’s impressive string of horses. He expertly piloted Callas, a 15-year-old Holsteiner (Casall x Coriano) to the first CSI5* victory of the mare’s career on Saturday. They eclipsed what seemed like an untouchable leading time from Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Volnay du Boisdeville, a 2009 Selle Français stallion (Winningmood x Jalisco B) owned by Vlock Show Stables. Ward clocked in at 44.03 seconds, nearly a second faster that Kenny (45.09). An even smaller margin separated second and third place, with Kent Farrington (USA) stopping the clock at 45.14 seconds with Landon, a 2013 Zangersheide gelding (Comilfo Plus Z x Quadrillo) owned by Haity MC Nerney.
Ward has been the number-one rider for Callas for about a year, but is no stranger to the mare’s talent after scouting her for previous rider, U.S. Under 25 athlete Annabel Revers. “She’s been knocking on the door, so it’s nice for us to break through and get a big win,” said Ward of the Beechwood Stables owned mare.
Gazelle Retired from Sport in Wellington International Ceremony
Kent Farrington’s 17-year-old mount Gazelle was officially retired from sport on Saturday evening, February 11, in a ceremony at Wellington International.
During their storied career together, Farrington and Gazelle – owned by Robin Parsky – enjoyed victories across the globe. Their trophy case includes winner Grand Prix of Aachen in 2019, winner Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva in 2017, and twice winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Spruce Meadows in 2017 and 2016.
Gazelle (Kashmir van Shuttershof X Indoctro) and Farrington also led the victory gallop during the Fidelity Investments® Grand Prix in 2017, making Saturday a poetically appropriate evening to celebrate the mare’s successes and healthy retirement.
With great admiration to Gazelle, Parsky noted, “After 10 years of extraordinary accomplishments at the most prestigious show jumping events in the world, it was a difficult decision for Kent and me to have Gazelle leave her sporting career, but I am delighted to report that she is in terrific condition, and she will be heading for a well-deserved life of green pastures and sunshine.
“Kent and I had a great experience here in 2017 when Gazelle won the Fidelity [Investments®] Grand Prix, so we decided that we would let her retire at the top of her game here. To be able to have her fans thank her and know how much we appreciate her, that is what we wanted. Thank you to all of Wellington and everyone here at WEF for helping us do this wonderful tribute to an incredible horse.”