Morgan Ward Makes Moves on Jiran R to Win $24,500 Horseflight Jumper Classic

Another week of exciting action during the HITS Ocala Winter Circuit came to a close on Sunday, and while all rings ran full steam ahead, spectators flocked to the Grand Prix ring for the day’s featured event. Following an exciting and large jump off, the $24,500 Horseflight Jumper Classic found its winner in the fast combination of Morgan Ward and Jiran R. 

The jumpers brought their A-game for the competition, as 14 out of 34 original starters secured a jump off spot, and eight of those contenders made it through both rounds without penalty. Ocala’s Hunter Holloway looked primed to take the win but ended up settling for second place with the Hay’s Investment Corp’s nine-year-old KWPN mare (Elvaro) entry, Kalina N, having posted a time of 40.47 seconds. Ward blazed in on the Morlynn Farm‘s 10-year-old Anglo European gelding (Winston-Jumper R) ready to leave it all on the field, and that’s exactly what the pair did, shaving four one-hundreths of a second from Holloway’s time to take the win in 40.42 seconds. 

Morgan Ward and Jiran R. Photo by ESI Photography

“I honestly didn’t know if I would catch up to her,” Ward explained, of following Holloway’s top round, “but my horse is so fast-footed and doesn’t spend too much time in the air, so my plan was just to keep going, especially on the rollback to the last fence. Just keep going.” 

Never one to be counted out of the ribbons, Francois LaMontagne delivered another exceptional performance, this time with Groupe Zacar Inc’s eight-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Kannan), Lacros VDL, to secure the final spot in the victory gallop. 

The ring’s classic competition kicked off with a series of featured junior/amateur events prior to the main event. The $5,000 Pyranha Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic debuted the start to a busy day ahead, and young rider Madison Kondracki landed a one-two punch to claim both the first and second positions of the class. With her 16-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Sir Shutterfly) Shutterfly, she posted the fastest time across the short course, landing clean in 31.12 seconds. 

The $7,500 Signature Brands 1.35m Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic was up next where Paige Jones piloted Amberfax Farm, Inc’s 14-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Thunder Van De Vrombautshoeve Z), Tupac Van De Vrombautshoeve Z, into the pinnacle position. Jaime Alnwick took the final junior/amateur win of the day as she and Scott Keach’s 10-year-old Australian Warmblood mare (Kannan), Wild Kat, posted the best result in the $7,500 Vitaflex 1.45m Junior/Amateur Jumper Classic.