Aachen, Germany—July 20
In 2017 McLain Ward discovered Clinta at the CHIO Aachen under Germany’s Philip Rüping. Ward spent seven months negotiating with the previous owner, Paul Schockemöhle. Now he is riding the super mare here himself, under the ownership of Sagamore Farms, and the pair secured the victory in the Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The best 25 pairs from Round 1 qualified for Round 2 against the clock, but faults from the first round carried over. The 11-year-old Oldenburg mare (Clinton—Last Flight, Lord Pezi) had no faults when she entered the stadium the second time (as has been the case for every grand prix in which Ward has ridden her since April). And she certainly made no mistakes against the clock—turning in a lightning quick round in 46.95 seconds.
But that was no surprise for Ward. “She jumps spectacularly,” he said. “And so carefully that at first we weren’t even sure whether she would actually ever jump at top level. But she has proven that she is capable of everything!”
Clinta will show in one more big class on Saturday, while her stable mate HH Azur will be Ward’s choice for the Rolex Grand Prix.
“I am so lucky to have two such amazing horses here; they are both brilliant,” he said. “They are slightly different in character – Azur has an ease and a blood, an athleticism about her, you can see it in the way she stands. Clinta is a bit quicker, moves a bit faster, and her jump is a little more dynamic. The similarity between the two is they have that wonderful quality of giving everything they have to you.”
Clinta left the veteran 17-year-old Reveur De Hurtebise and Kevin Staut trailing behind. The French Olympic team gold medalists from Rio 2016 crossed the finish line in 48.16 seconds. Staut took the opportunity to put something straight: It is not true that Reveur De Hurtebise isn’t going to compete again after a poor performance at the Longines FEI World Cup Finals in Paris.
“Perhaps we worded it a little misleadingly,” said Staut. “He is not going to compete at any more championships, which puts him under too much pressure.”
That’s why Staut is not placing his bets on the speedy chestnut for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday, but instead on his Nations Cup horse, Silver Deux de Virton. However, he added, “I would have a better chance with Reveur though!”