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Ward Wins WEF Challenge Cup Finale

Horse Show Press Release

April 2, 2004 -- McLain Ward of Brewster, NY, riding Hurricane I for Turnabout Farm won the $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Finale CSI-W today at the Tournament of Champions in Tampa, Florida. Topping a field of 36 horses, Ward rode the fastest of three clear rounds in a six-horse jump-off to claim victory and $9,000 in prize money. Laura Linback of Mundelein, IL, aboard Remember Me 9 owned by Woodrun Farm placed second. Anne Kursinski of Frenchtown, NJ, riding Sun God for owners Ron and Cheryl Krise placed third.

The $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Finale was the ninth and final class in the 2004 WEF Challenge Cup Series. Ward notched five wins in the series, including three aboard Hurricane.

"We had a good run," said Ward. "He jumped super all circuit."

Luc Musette of Belgium designed the 16-effort Round One, which featured a double at No. 5 and a triple at No. 11 with Time Allowed set at 79 seconds. Rails fell at every fence except for No. 7 but the big bogeys were the triple, which caught 16 riders and No. 12 added faults to 13 horses' trips. In addition to Hurricane, Ward also rode Goldika 559 and Quickstar II Z, both owned by Double H Farm, and had one rail down with each of them in the first round, ending up in tie for seventh place with the 17 four-faulters. "Hurricane was my third ride so I was able to correct some of the little mistakes I had with the earlier rides," explained Ward.

Six horses went clean for the eight-effort tiebreaker. Kursinski led off and set the pace with her clear round aboard Sun God in 39.02 seconds, well under the 52-second time allowed, but it was only good enough for third place. Ward immediately overtook her lead, posting a blazing clear round in 35.83 seconds. The remaining four riders chased Ward's time, but could not catch him. Going third in the order, Beezie Madden of Cazenovia, NY, aboard Authentic logged four faults in 46.11 to finish fifth. Schuyler Riley of Hobe Sound, FL, and Opus Sept had a rail in 38.43 for fourth. Linback went clean in 38.57 for third. Todd Minikus of Loxahatchee, FL, aboard Sasha accumulated 12 faults in 40.60 seconds for sixth.

"Everything just showed up great for us," said Ward, noting that his mount is an older, experienced horse. Missy Clark trains the 15-year-old German warmblood gelding.

The $30,000 WEF Challenge Cup Finale was also the final World Cup Qualifier for the East Coast League, and determined the final tally of points. The seven highest scoring riders from the East Coast will represent the US at the World Cup Final in Milan, Italy, on April 21-25, 2004. Topping the league was Molly Ashe of Wellington, FL, with 89 points. Ward was right behind Ashe with 81 points. "I'll take Goldika and Sapphire to the World Cup," Ward said.

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