McLain Ward Cruises to Victory in the $15,000 Speed Derby at the Hampton Classic
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Activity in the jumper rings picked up speed Friday morning at the Hampton Classic, with qualifying classes taking place for those hoping to move forward to the weekend’s finals, and championships being awarded in divisions having taken place throughout the week.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist and 2018 WEG team gold medalist McLain Ward claimed victory in the $15,000 Speed Derby Friday afternoon, his second win this week with new mount Silberrose. The Derby course included the natural obstacles which the Classic’s grand prix ring is known for: the bank, the open water and the beautiful trimmed hedges.
McLain Ward and Silberrose en route to victory in the $15,000 FEI Speed Derby at the Hampton Classic. © Shawn McMillen
Ward had not tested his new mount over Derby-style obstacles prior to competing at the Classic, but explained that as in life, a positive attitude can take you a long way.
“She’s really a game, brave, competitive mare and she was really on form today,” said Ward of Silberrose. “I knew she had jumped the water before, but I didn’t know how she would be to the bank.
“With a Derby course, if you have a horse that you know you can count on not to be afraid of those different fences, that’s always a great benefit. Even in those places, you can shave a bit of time by taking more risk. Today we saw some of the riders really taking time and setting up the natural fences. It helps that she’s also just a really fast horse. She doesn’t waste a lot of time. She doesn’t have a huge stride but the way the lines were set up today, I could do the same number of strides as the bigger horses without slowing down.”
Ward and Silberrose stopped the clock in 60.199 seconds with Ireland’s Richie Moloney and Shane Sweetnam taking second and third positions with times of 62.759 and 63.316 seconds respectively. Moloney rode Boriena H and Sweetnam rode Kecho Du Sud.
Diego Lorca of Costa Rica with Di Vadine, winners of the $10,000 Junior/Amateur/Amateur-Owner Welcome Stake at the Hampton Classic.
© Shawn McMillen
The first class in the grand prix ring Friday morning was the $10,000 Junior/Amateur/Amateur-Owner Welcome Stake. It was won by 19-year old Diego Loria, representing Costa Rica in his first trip to the Classic. The top three times were all under a minute, and within tenths of a second of one another. Loria and his mount Di Vadine had a winning time of 58.928 seconds. Second went to Bronte Gray-Rochon of Canada and Williamstown Guidam in 58.939 seconds and third to American Catalina Peralta with Conti in 59.074 seconds.
“The class was extremely challenging with a bunch of great riders,” said Loria. “We found a really steady rhythm, I tried not to hold too much and we found good distances. She’s really fast on her own and we were able to leave out strides in most of the lines. We did the bank very fast; others held a lot more coming down the side of the bank. We found a great distance from the bank to fence five – I think that’s where we were able to win it today.”
Victoria Birdsall and Maestro Van Het Binnenveld won the $10,000 SHF Enterprises 7 & Under Young Jumper class as well as the overall Championship for the 7 & Under Jumpers at the Hampton Classic. © Shawn McMillen
In the $10,000 SHF Enterprises 7 & Under Young Jumper class, six horses advanced to the jump-off from the original starting field of 24. Of those six, just two were able to leave the jumps in the cups. Israel’s Ilan Ferder with Massimo went clean in a time of 38.344 seconds to take the lead. Last to jump, Ferder’s student, Victoria Birdsall, bested her boss with Maestro Van Het Binnenveld to the win in a time of 35.419 seconds.
“Nobody in the jump-off was clear until my boss and trainer Ilan Ferder jumped clear and he was pretty fast!” said Birdsall. “This horse is pretty careful so I knew I could go for it, and Ilan always likes us to go for it. He stayed out of the way of the jumps and I stayed out of his way.
“The young horse division is about having the horses be confident which comes from preparation at home. They are learning but they also need to be enjoying their job. This horse loves to jump, so for me it’s about getting to a good spot and leaving him alone.”
With Friday’s win and consistent results in Tuesday and Wednesday’s classes, Birdsall and Maestro Van Het Binnenveld were crowned Champions in the SHF Enterprises 7 & Under Jumper division. Reserve went to Brianne Goutal-Marteu and Goodwill V/D Coefering.
Saturday, September 1st is Kids Day
presented by News 12 Long Island
at the Hampton Classic!
Featuring activities for the entire family from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., children under 12 are admitted free and can receive a free pony ride with Steppin’ Out Ponies, dance to the hits with DJ Ray from Jarrell Entertainment, get their faces painted and much more! News 12 Long Island will be handing out complimentary sets of coloring pencils while supplies last. Kids can participate in the “Horseless Horse Show” to benefit JustWorld beginning at approximately 3:00pm.
The Grand Prix ring will be active all morning, including the $15,000 Carolex Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Classic followed by the feature class of the day, the $72,000 LONGINES Cup scheduled to start at 2:00 p.m.
Hunters continue with the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owners, The Competitive Equestrian Small Junior Hunters, the Snaks Fifth Avenchew Small Pony Hunters and more.