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  • Writer's pictureCatie Staszak

How McLain Ward Pays the Bills: Catoki By the Numbers

McLain Ward and Catoki. Photo by SportFot.

McLain Ward (USA) wins a lot with a myriad of different horses, and when you think of the Brewster, NY based Olympian, you can't help but think of names like Sapphire, Rothchild, HH Azur and Clinta.

The speed horses (Remember HH Carlos Z?) often get overlooked, but Ward has made a point to recognize the breadwinner of his string. He'll tell you, it's not the 1.60m horses that pay the bills. It's the speedster, Catoki, who carried Ward to yet another win in Wednesday's CSI5* 1.45m ranking class at WEF 7.

“That’s his job: to cover these shows and try to win these second classes," Ward said. "I always say he pays the entries and the bills for the rest. He’s a blast. He’s always in for a shot, and he really does his job well.”

The 14-year-old Westphalian gelding joined Ward's string at the end of 2019, and the small diminutive bay quickly made winning a habit. We've collected the numbers to truly illustrate the gelding's prowess.

Since January 2020, Ward and Catoki have won a remarkable 21 international classes, with more than 52% of those wins coming at the five-star level.

In 46 international starts since 2021, Catoki has averaged less than just 4.37 faults and a finish position in the top 11. At the 1.45m height—the standard height for speed contests—he has averaged just 2.67 faults, with an average finish position at the height of 11.5. And In 18 starts at the CSI5* level, Catoki holds his form, averaging 2.5 faults and a finish position of 12.88.

Keep in mind that prize money is distributed at minimum to the top 12—meaning, Catoki is almost always bringing home a check. In 2022, Catoki boasted an outstanding win percentage of 29.41% and finished on the podium 41.18% of the time.

Undoubtedly, at least some of Catoki's success must be attributed to management. Despite his winning record, his connections have clearly identified his strengths in speed contests and have rarely asked him to jump above his comfort level at 1.45m. Catoki has made just 10 starts with Ward at 1.50m or above and has never jumped 1.60m (outside of special competitions, like a Puissance, which he has twice won at the Washington International Horse Show, or a national standard Grand Prix, which he won earlier this year to kick off his 2023 campaign).

At 1.45m, does Catoki have a weakness? Unsurprisingly, Ward, as a rider, is very balanced and even-leaded across his mounts. Overall, there is only a slight left-lead weakness (46.72% vs. 45.08%). However, Catoki has faults far more often off the left lead—76.92% of his faults came off the left in 2022, with just 23.08% off the right. Any course set primarily off the right lead will bode better for this combination.

Moreover, Catoki's faults most often tend to come at the end of the course. This could be a result of several factors: the high amount of energy the bay expends; the fact that he is building in power throughout the track; and that generally, courses tend to get more technical at the end. According to Prixview Next Gen data, 66.67% of Catoki's faults come in the final third of the course. These fences tend to be verticals (62.5% of the time).

If conditions are right, it's hard to pick against Catoki. Add this top speed horse to your fantasy selections


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