Wellington, FL – February 1, 2015 – Week four of the 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival, sponsored by Fidelity Investments®, concluded on Sunday with the $85,000 Suncast® 1.50M Championship Jumper Classic featured in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). The class saw a win for McLain Ward (USA) and Double H Farm’s HH Carlos Z in a very fast 20-horse jump-off over Todd Minikus (USA) and Quality Girl. They were followed by Irish speedsters Darragh Kenny and Conor Swail in third and fourth places, respectively.

Course designer Guilherme Jorge (BRA) saw 62 starters on his final course for week four with 20 clear rounds to jump-off. Twelve were double clear over the short course, and the times were blazing. Ward and HH Carlos Z completed their course in 37.26 seconds, just ahead of second place finishers Todd Minikus and the Quality Group’s Quality Girl, who clocked in at 37.41 seconds. Darragh Kenny and Toffolon Partners LLC’s Gatsby finished third in 38.26 seconds. Kenny also tied for fourth place with Conor Swail in the same time of 38.47 seconds. Kenny’s second ride was aboard Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo. Swail rode Ariel and Susan Grange’s Martha Louise.

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z

Ward and HH Carlos Z had a great start to their partnership beginning last season in Wellington and went on to an excellent year with top finishes throughout North America. The pair earned two wins and several top placings at Spruce Meadows over the summer. They won the prestigious $125,000 President’s Cup Grand Prix CSI 4*-W at the Washington International Horse Show in October, and they went on to a great win at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto to cap off their 2014 season. The 13-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Chellano Z x Voltaire) is a jack-of-all-trades and has already inked a great start to this year’s winter circuit.

“He is a very fast little horse, and he is very careful,” Ward stated. “He was actually unlucky not to win the WEF (Challenge Cup) on Thursday. He jumped a hell of a round and had a bit of a cheap rail, which I could take responsibility for. In that jump-off, with that many fast riders, you knew it was all or nothing.”

“He had a pretty nice first season with me,” Ward said. “He is kind of what I would call a workman-like horse. There is not a job at the show he can’t do. He jumped the biggest grand prix in the world very well last year at the Masters, and he will win a Table C speed class on Wednesday at a horse show. He kind of does it all. He plugs into every role, and he has been a great asset to the Double H team and my string.”

“I really enjoy him. He is a trier and gives a lot,” Ward declared. “I thought he was a little unlucky on Thursday not to win the class, so it is nice that he came back just as strong, if not stronger, today.”

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z in their winning presentation

McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z in their winning presentation

In the jump-off, Ward followed two very fast rounds already set by Darragh Kenny. He also had some very fast riders still to come, such as Todd Minkus and Conor Swail, but the time held on to win.

“I knew Darragh’s round was pretty phenomenal,” Ward detailed. “I felt like I had a good round, but for sure those guys on their best day could have caught me. That is always the way, but it was our luck and we needed it. We needed a little break. We had a bit of a slow January, so we needed something to turn.”

With a great win in hand, Ward and HH Carlos Z will jump a few more classes in the next few weeks as they prepare to represent the United States in the $100,000 FEI Nations Cup, presented by Kingsland Equestrian, during week eight’s CSIO competition. Ward also looks to jump Carlos in the $500,000 Rolex Grand Prix CSI 5* to conclude the WEF circuit in week 12.

Jim Anderson and Dominus Finish WEF 4 as the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 50 and Over Section B Champions

Over two days of competition Jim Anderson, from New York City, dominated the Camping World Adult Amateur Hunter 50 and Over section B with Maria Takacs’ horse, Dominus. Anderson guided Dominus to a first, second and two thirds over fences to finish as division champions.

Laurie Stevens rode her own Santiago to reserve champion honors. Stevens and Santiago had a first and second over fences, paired with a third place in the under saddle.

Dominus and Jim Anderson

Dominus and Jim Anderson

Dominus and Anderson beat out 16 other competitors in just their third show together. “I showed him [Dominus] for the first time at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in August and was lucky enough to be able to lease him for the WEF circuit,” Anderson commented.

Although Anderson and Dominus are a new pair, Dominus is veteran in the hunter ring. In past seasons Dominus has competed with Takacs in the Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3, but Takacs is now busy with her daughter’s riding career and does not have time to compete on her own.

Along with Dominus, Anderson also has previous experience in the hunter ring. Anderson explained, “I came back to riding about five years ago after having an Amateur-Owner Hunter career in the 90s, and it’s been great!”

While Anderson is excited to continue to show Dominus in the Adult Hunters, he also has a younger horse coming to Florida later in the season. Anderson hopes that his trainer, Christopher Payne, will be able to get his other horse started in the Pre-Green Hunters.

With only one month of the WEF circuit complete, Anderson is looking forward to upcoming weeks. One of the weeks Anderson is most looking forward to is WEF 6, which is a World Championship Hunter Rider (WCHR) sponsored week. Anderson is a co-founder of the WCHR program and still is active in it today.

Dominus and Jim Anderson in their championship presentation

Dominus and Jim Anderson in their championship presentation

When Anderson is not competing he lives in New York City where he owns his own marketing company.

The 2015 Winter Equestrian Festival continues next week with Ariat® International, Inc. as the title sponsor of week five’s CSI 3* competition on February 4-8, 2015. The week will feature the $127,000 Ariat® Grand Prix CSI 3* on the grass jumping field at The Stadium at PBIEC on Sunday, February 8. The weekend also highlights the 6th Annual Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments®, which will be the main event on Saturday, February 7, under the lights of the International Arena at PBIEC. The pro-am team competition has distributed more than $6.2 million to Palm Beach County nonprofits over the past five years. For full results and more information, please visit www.pbiec.com.

Final Results: $85,000 Suncast® 1.50M Championship Jumper Classic

1. HH CARLOS Z: 2002 Zangersheide gelding by Chellano Z x Voltaire
MCLAIN WARD (USA), Double H Farm: 0/0/37.26

2. QUALITY GIRL: 2003 Oldenburg mare by Quidam’s Rubin x Dobrock
TODD MINIKUS (USA), Quality Group: 0/0/37.41

3. GATSBY: 2004 Irish Sport Horse stallion by Simba x Cruise On
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Toffolon Partners LLC: 0/0/38.26

4. MARTHA LOUISE: 2004 Swedish Warmblood mare by Maloubet de Pleville 1039 x Wolfgang
CONOR SWAIL (IRL), Ariel and Susan Grange: 0/0/38.47

4. PICOLO: 2003 Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Alme
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Oakland Ventures LLC: 0/0/38.47

6. FEROX B: 2005
Belgian Warmblood gelding by Quidam de Revel CSF x Contender
LAURA KRAUT (USA), Mike Collins: 0/0/39.23

7. BALOUS DAY DATE: 2005 Oldenburg mare by Balou du Rover x Domino
MOLLY ASHE-CAWLEY (USA), Louisburg Farm: 0/0/39.30

8. EXQUIS WALNUT DE MUZE: 1999 Belgian Warmblood gelding by Nabab de Reve x Chin Chin
HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Team Exquis: 0/0/39.54

9. RECONNAISSANCE: 2005 Swedish Warmblood gelding by Camaro M x Irco Mena
LAUREN HOUGH (USA), Laura & Meredith Mateo: 0/0/40.61

10. CARISMA: 1999 Swedish Warmblood mare by Cardento 933 x Maraton 600
DANIELLE GOLDSTEIN (ISR), Israeli Equestrian Partners: 0/0/41.58

11. WITH WINGS: 2003 KWPN gelding by Larino x L. Ronald
KAREN POLLE (JPN), Karen Polle: 0/0/43.28

12. CHALLENGE Z: 2005 Zangersheide stallion by Carthago x Cordelme Z
MARIO APPEL (BRA), Mario Appel: 0/0/43.61

Photo Credit: Photos © Sportfot, An Official Photographer of the Winter Equestrian Festival, us.sportfot.com. These photos may be used only in relation to this press release and must include photo credit.