CALGARY, Alberta, Can. — The United States’ McLain Ward and HH Azur went head-to-head against Great Britain’s Scott Brash and Ursula XII in a nail-biting jump-off Sept. 11 at the CP International Grand Prix, presented by Rolex. Because the defending champions went triple-clear, Ward and HH Azur needed to complete the jump-off under 41.19 seconds. Unfortunately, they had a rail at fence two, a Rolex vertical, to end on four faults for second place. Italy’s Lorenzo De Luca and Ensor De Litrange LXII finished third with one time fault. Kent Farrington and Voyeur, also part of the U.S. contingent, finished just outside the top three with four faults.
“I thought she jumped in great form,” McClain said of HH Azur. “She is still a young horse and learning against the clock, and she jumped three rounds. That gets better with maturity. I think as amazing as she is, the future is bright for her.”
The “biggest Grand Prix in the world” lived up to its hype. Leopoldo Palacios designed two challenging courses that tested all 40 combinations. In the first round, 21 combinations accumulated faults. A daunting triple combination with two liverpools forced 12 combinations to retire. However, Ward and Farrington showed why they are Olympic Team Silver medalists, as each got past the triple combination with ease. They joined Brash and De Luca as the only four combinations to post clear first rounds.
Richard Spooner also competed as part of the U.S. contingent on Cristallo, Show Jumping Syndication International’s 1998 Holsteiner gelding, but ended on 12 faults and missed the second round.