Bridgehampton, N.Y. – Aug. 25, 2019 – Fantast was fantastic to open the 44th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show, taking Adrienne Sternlicht to the top spot in the $30,000 Land Rover Jumper Challenge presented by Jaguar, Sunday afternoon. They bested fellow American Molly Ashe Cawley and Berdien by a mere four one-thousandths of a second, stopping the clock in 63.661 seconds to Cawley’s 63.665.
Of the 29 starters in the field, just seven were able to deliver clean rounds over the impressive introductory course designed by Michel Vaillancourt of Aiken, SC.
Sternlicht, team gold medalist at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG), had the advantage of going after several others had gone, giving her the opportunity to see the jumps and evaluate the Hampton Classic’s newly renovated Grand Prix field following the million-dollar investment and rebuild over the past year.
“I had the advantage of knowing my horse is quite seasoned at speed classes,” explained Sternlicht following the victory gallop. “He has great foot speed, so it may not look like he’s moving fast. Often times I can add a stride through the turns and still know that I’m getting across the jumps. I tried to play those strengths and leave out strides where I could. The new field feels amazing, it’s really firm and really consistent across the whole surface. As riders we really favor that.”
McLain Ward, her WEG gold-medal teammate, and Olympic silver medalist Peter Leone agreed and emphasized how dramatic the improvements are with the new footing.
“It was PERFECT,” stated Ward. “Absolutely spot on. Not a single blade of grass was out of place.”
Runner-up Cawley had even more reason to appreciate the improvements in the footing as her horse was competing with just two ‘studs’ for traction in her shoes, similar to the cleats soccer players wear to maintain grip on grass surfaces.
“Berdien is just eight years old and she got a little green and star-struck at the beginning of the course,” explained Cawley. “She was really comfortable by the end of the course. It’s a tall order to go in and go full-tilt right off the bat when you haven’t competed at that level before. She hesitated a little in the turn from the second to third jumps and I had to kick her to go forward – she went, but that hesitation was more than enough to lose the four-thousandths of a second behind Adrienne.”
Third place went to Geoffrey Hesslink with HH Casey Jones, who finished in a time of 64.389 seconds.
$30,000 Land Rover Jumper Challenge, presented by Jaguar
Place / Horse / Rider / Country / Owner / Faults | Time
1. Fantast / Adrienne Sternlicht / USA / Starlight 1 Farms LLC / 0 | 63.661
2. Berdien / Molly Ashe Cawley / USA / Louisburg Farm / 0 | 63.665
3. HH Casey Jones / Geoffrey Hesslink / USA / Double H Farm / 0 | 64.389
4. Agana Van Het Gerendal Z / Lillie Keenan / USA / Chansonette Farm LLC / 0 | 64.447
5. Boriena H / Richie Moloney / IRL / Caitlin Creel / 0 | 66.441
6. Jasmijn Van De Renthoeve / Callan Solem / USA / Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC / 0 | 66.774
7. Conrad 119 / Molly Ashe Cawley / USA / Louisburg Farm / 0 | 67.492
8. Cloud 39 / Mario Deslauriers / CAN / Wishing Well Farm LLC / 4 | 63.454
9. E-Boy W / Peter Leone / USA / Gabriella Greco / 4 | 64.199
10. Manhattan / Georgina Bloomberg / USA / Gotham Enterprizes, LLC / 4 | 64.390
11. Fabio / Savannah Unger / USA / Savannah Unger / 4 | 64.492
12. Hallelujah / Brianne Goutal-Marteau / USA / Remarkable Farms LP / 4 | 65.603