McLain Ward in driver's seat as World Cup qualifying enters homestretch

Ward and Cerise at the 2018 Palm Beach Masters
Credit : Sportfot

Tuesday 06 February - 16h13 | Ian Clayton

McLain Ward in driver's seat as World Cup qualifying enters homestretch

Pole position, cruise control, in the fast lane. 

 - McLain Ward in driver's seat as World Cup qualifying enters homestretch

Ahead of this spring’s 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Show Jumping Final in Paris, there is no shortage of car metaphors to describe defending World Cup champion McLain Ward of the United States.

After his victory last year with HH Azur in Omaha, Nebraska, Ward was automatically qualified for the Paris competition, which is scheduled for April 11-15 at the AccorHotels Arena. Nevertheless, the World No.3 is tied for first place in the standings after six of seven qualifiers in the North American East Coast league. With one competition to go, in Ocala, Florida in March, Ward has 52 points, level with compatriot Alison Robitaille and 12 points ahead of Isabelle Lapierre of Canada in third.

At this past weekend’s $220,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Wellington in Florida – won by Cita and Irish rider Daniel Coyle, who is based in Canada and competes in North America – Ward finished fifth on HH Callas, a result worth 12 points. Laura Kraut and Confu were second with fellow American Margie Engle third on Royce. And having taken part in five of the six qualifiers to date (outside of the kick-off in Bromont, Quebec last August), Ward has picked up 17, 17, 6, 5 and 12 points at the different shows, with the top four scores being kept. The Eastern Sub-League is allocated seven places for American riders, with the Western Sub-League given three U.S. spots.

In the West, American Richard Spooner is in the lead with 58 points, ahead of Mandy Porter and France’s Eric Navet. The top Canadian is Laura Jane Tidball in 7th, with Canada and Mexico given two places each in the Final. The final World Cup qualifier in the West takes place this week in Thermal, California, from February 6-11. 

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