McLain Ward wins again with ‘adrenaline junkie’ who isn’t ridden between classes

  • McLain Ward and Catoki claimed another win yesterday at the Winter Equestrian Festival in the $37,000 Bainbridge Companies 1.45m CSI5*.

    “We have had to learn about him a bit because he is certainly a different type of horse, but once we did, he has basically been a winning machine,” said McLain of the petite 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, who is by Catoki out of a mare by Caretello B, that he owns with Marilla Van Beuren and Bob Russell.

    “We never ride him. He turns out every day. He jumped the last five star two weeks ago and I didn’t sit on him again until the schooling area, and that’s a hard thing to trust and it took us a while to get to that place where we realised that’s what worked for him. He’s an adrenaline junkie and that’s what kind of keeps the RPM at a manageable rate.”

    The contest saw an impressive 68 horse and rider combinations contending against the clock in the single round speed class, but they couldn’t overcome one of the fastest combinations in the world, Olympic team gold medalist McLain and Catoki.

    “I thought Alan [Wade] did a great job with today’s course, and I just tried to go fast but take a moment where I needed to and trust his footspeed,” said McLain.

    Wednesday’s five-star class winner, Ireland’s Darragh Kenny with Gourvernante VDL looked set to add another victory to his name for the week, until compatriot Bertram Allen and Emmylou took to the course. Darragh’s previous leading time of 59.19 seconds lasted until Bertram shaved almost two whole seconds off the clock to jump ahead with a time of 57.69 seconds. The victory looked in the bag for Bertram, but nothing was certain as McLain and Catoki went third from last and took the lead in 57.15 seconds.

    “He has been unbelievable this season, and I think he’s won something almost every time we’ve brought him out,” said McLain.

    “I had known Catoki when he was with a rider from New Jersey and we thought he could be really competitive,” said McLain. With several five-star speed class wins and success in the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix already added to their title in the 2022 season, the pair has proved to be a force to reckon with.

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