Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum Wins but McLain Ward and Sapphire put in an Impressive Effort to Hold on to Second at 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Final
RELEASE: April 19, 2009
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Joanie Morris
Las Vegas, NV – Defending champion, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum, looked impossible to beat throughout the 2009 Rolex FEI World Cup Final. Shutterfly was faultless going into the final round of the final leg.
Looks matter: She became the third person, and the first woman to win three World Cup titles. She did it all with Shutterfly.
That meant heart break for McLain Ward and Sapphire who chased the German combination through all three legs, jumped two immaculate clear rounds. But it didn’t matter, Michaels-Beerbaum and Shutterfly were perfect.
“These are the best horses and riders, so it was very, very close,” said Michaels-Beerbaum. “It’s the hardest win I’ve ever had. McLain left me no room for error. A big win for me for a couple of reasons not just because McLain made it so difficult but because it was the most perfect, winning all three days. He’s a once in a life time horse to win at 16 years old.”
They were fastest in the speed class and fastest in the jump-off in the second leg, all they had to do to maintain their lead was jump two clear rounds today. Michaels-Beerbaum asked and the 16-year-old Hanoverian gelding answered.
“It’s a great honor to ride a horse like that” said Michaels-Beerbaum about the horse she has ridden since he was six. “He’s the kind of horse that comes along once in a lifetime. He has had the same groom for 10 years, I’ve ridden him since he was a young horse. We are like an old married couple.”
Sapphire never said no either to McLain Ward, but she was just a little bit slower in both the speed class and in the jump-off on Friday, so even though Tom Grossman and Blue Chip Bloodstock’s 14-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare was foot perfect today, she had to settle for runner-up. With two World Cup points, she and McLain were hugely popular with the American crowds.
“I’m very proud of what my horse and I did this week,” said Ward. “If I was going to do it again I would do it the exact same way. I’m proud of my team, I gave everything I had, my horse gave everything she had. I came up two seconds short, its a fine line in sports.”
Anthony D’Ambrosio’s courses were big and scopey, the second course caused significantly more trouble on Sunday afternoon, with only seven clear rounds – four of which belonged to the top four horses, meaning the top places remained unchanged.
“The difficulty of the triple combination increased from round one to round two,” said D’Ambrosio. “In general I would say that the course grew a little bit.”
Albert Zoer and the hugely popular Oki Doki was third on just four points, the Dutch rider and the 13-year-old KWPN gelding shone, putting in consistent efforts over the three rounds.
“Oki Doki is always a fighter and he does everything for me,” said Zoer. “I really love him.”
Michaels-Beerbaum leaves Las Vegas with $270,000 and three brand, new Rolex watches.
For complete results and more information, please see: www.worldcuplasvegas.com
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If you have questions, please contact Joanie Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attached photo is of McLain Ward and Sapphire. Please only use with this press release and credit Shannon Brinkman.