It was a fight to the finish for two of the fastest horses in the business—Daniel Bluman’s (ISR) Cachemire De Braize and McLain Ward’s (USA) Catoki—in Thursday’s $38,700 FEI 1.45m Two-Phase Grand Prix at Old Salem Farm.

Stopping the jump-off clock at 26.47 seconds, Bluman proved uncatchable on Alan Wade’s 16-effort track, besting a field of 63 competitors. Ward, fresh off his clutch, double-clear performance with Contagious for Team USA in the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup USA in California, gave it his all with speed-specialist, Catoki.

Alas, the American rider and the 14-year-old Westphalian gelding (owned by Marilla Van Beuren) couldn’t quite catch Bluman and Cachemire, stopping the clock in 27.06 seconds to take second place. Katie Dinan (USA) and the 13-year-old Selle Français mare, Atika Des Hauts Vents, took third in 27.12. 

“He’s a very interesting horse. He’s the only French horse that I ride, and I haven’t had many French horses in my career,” Bluman has said of the 11-year-old Selle Français gelding, whom he’s been paired with for nearly three years. The pair have racked up wins from Traverse City, Michigan to Saugerties, New York, boasting a stellar, clear-round average of 75% in 2023, according to Jumpr App.  

“He’s [very unique] in his ways. He has a bit of a difficult mouth, but he’s scopey, and he wants to be careful,” added Bluman.

Fortunately, it seems, the quirky bay horse has jumped his way into a long-term position on the Israeli rider’s string, thanks to both his killer speed and endearing personality. “That rideability is not the easiest, but we’ve grown together, and he’s very loved in the barn,” Bluman said. 

“He has a very sweet personality, and a strong personality, in his own way. I think it’s a horse that probably will remain with me for the rest of his career since he’s kind of difficult to ride.”

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Show continues this week, May 16-21, concluding with Sunday’s main event: the $200,000 Empire State Grand Prix.