American Eve Jobs won second place at Thermal, and Canadian Lisa Carlsen took third in Leg 4 of 7 for the Western Sub-League.
The Toronto stands were sold out for the evening event, featuring a tough compact course by veteran designer Alan Wade of Ireland. With the smaller indoor arena, both horse and rider were tested to execute perfect timing and strides.
In a scaled-down version of the first course for the jump off, Canadian Ali Ramsay had the crowd going wild when she turned in a smart clear round in 34.62 seconds.
American Ryan was up next and squeaked in with a faster time of 33.88 seconds to move into the lead.
When Sharn Wordley of New Zealand had a fence down for 4 penalty points, and Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire rode clear but in 35.20 seconds, it looked like Ryan might have a chance at the win.
But riding last, Ward sliced his lines as close as possible, shaving seconds off his time for a clear round in 32.42 seconds for the victory.
At Thermal, the stadium lights were just blinking on and the temperature dropping as the five jump-off riders readied themselves for a tricky outdoor course by Brazil’s Marina Azevedo.
With both John Pearce and Carlsen of Canada picking up 4 faults apiece, the door was open for American rider Jobs, who rode clear with a conservative time of 43.97 seconds.
Nassar pushed the speed just a hair more, and finished in 43.89 seconds, enough to bump Jobs into second. Would his time hold?