Wellington, Florida, USA – March 06, 2022 – Competition for week 8 at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), presented by Premier Equestrian, concluded on Sunday, March 6, with the $216,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSIO 4*, presented by Four-time Olympic medalist McLain Ward (USA) and his veteran partner HH Azur, owned by Double H Farm, led the victory gallop. The 2022 WEF continues with WEF 9, sponsored by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, on March 9-13.
There were 48 starters in Sunday afternoon’s grand prix, and they contested a course designed by Nick Granat (USA) and Steve Stephens (USA). Eight were clear to advance to the jump-off. Amanda Derbyshire (GBR) and Cornwall BH started the short course first but a rail for four faults in 36.75 seconds left them in fourth place. Karl Cook (USA) and Helen Signe Ostby’s Coachella 4 also had four faults in a slower time of 38.05 seconds for seventh place.
McLain Ward (USA) and HH Azur were next into the ring and “Annie” stretched her stride out to blaze around the course clear in 35.22 seconds, setting an unbeatable time.
“She was really covering the ground great,” affirmed Ward. “I always have to watch a little bit of her left turn. That’s always been her weak side, so I was a little worried about the Fidelity jump, but I made sure she jumped it before I tried to turn back too quick. She really performed beautifully, and we were able to get the nine [strides] home and put just enough pressure on these guys that we held up.”
Ward’s student Lillie Keenan (USA) and Agana van het Gerendal Z, owned by Chansonette Farm LLC, were quick in 37.20 seconds but with four faults; they finished in sixth place. Hilary McNerney (USA) rode her own Captain Cooper to eighth place after eight faults in 38.28 seconds.
Final Results – $216,000 JTWG, Inc. Grand Prix CSIO 4*
1) McLain Ward (USA) & HH Azur – 0 / 0 – 35.22
2) Ioli Mytilineou (GRE) & Levis de Muze – 0 / 0 – 36.84
3) Ben Maher (GBR) & Faltic HB – 0 / 4 – 36.30
Source: Press Release by Jennifer Wood Media, Inc. for ESP – Equestrian Sports Productions / WEF – Winter Equestrian Festival
Photos: © Sportfot