New York, N.Y. – April 25, 2019 – Riders Europe claimed their fourth consecutive Riders Masters Cup title on Saturday, April 27, at the Longines Masters of New York, held at NYCB LIVE, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Longines Masters of New York concludes on April 28 as the third leg of the Longines Masters Series following stops in Paris and Hong Kong.
In a concept unique to the Longines Masters, the Riders Masters Cup pits five-member teams from Europe and the United States in a head-to-head battle.
Now in its second season, the Riders Masters Cup is held at the Longines Masters of Paris in December before the innovative concept crosses the Atlantic for the Longines Masters of New York. Robert Ridland, team captain of Riders USA, put together a strong team to face off on home soil against Riders Europe, captained by Philippe Guerdat, for the fourth edition of the Riders Masters Cup.
In what has quickly become a crowd favorite, each captain picks a rider to go head-to-head with a rider from the opposing team. Strategy plays a large part, as each captain has the ability to change the match-ups for the second round and can even go so far as to switch out a rider’s horse for a fresh one.
The opening round saw Lillie Keenan, Riders USA team’s requisite Under 25 rider, matched up against Pius Schwizer riding Cortney Cox. Keenan dropped two rails for eight faults riding Chaccolette while Schwizer kept them all in place, giving Riders Europe the advantage of 10 points to Team USA’s five points.
Things were quickly tied up at 15 faults apiece however when Harrie Smolders incurred four faults riding Cas 2 while Kristen Vanderveen turned in a clear round for Riders USA aboard Bull’s Run Faustino de Tili.
In the sport of show jumping, fortunes can change quickly as Laura Chapot discovered when her mount, Chandon Blue, took exception to the signature “We Ride The World” wall and was eliminated. That meant Riders USA received zero points while Riders Europe gained 10 for Darragh Kenny’s four-fault ride aboard Sweet Tricia. Riders Europe pulled into the lead with 25 points to Riders USA’s 15.
When Olivier Philippaerts incurred four faults with Insolente des Dix Bonniers, the door was wide open for three-time Rider Masters Cup veteran McLain Ward who produced a beautiful clear riding Rapidash. Riders USA was back in the mix with 25 points, trailing just five points behind Riders Europe’s total of 30 points.
In the final match up, Devin Ryan for Riders USA dropped one rail with Cooper. Edward Levy, the Under 25 representative for Riders Europe, kept all the rails in place to give his team another 10 points.
At the end of the first round Riders Europe was out in front with a total of 40 points while Riders USA were still well within striking distance with 30 points.
Tactics came into play with the team captains strategizing about their match-ups for the second round, which is run in a speed format with double points on the line.
In the opening match for the speed round, Ward and Rapidash were again clear but Pius Schwizer changed horses, bringing out Ulane Belmaniere to finish faster and gain 20 points for Riders Europe. The score now stood at 60 for Riders Europe, 40 for Riders USA.
Repeating the match-up from the opening round, it was Levy against Ryan. Levy brought in a new horse, Starlette de la Roque, and had one rail down for a three-second time penalty and final time of 59.65 seconds. Ryan gave it his best shot with Cooper but two rails down led to a six-second time penalty, giving him a total of 63.09. Riders Europe pulled further ahead with 80 points to the 50 held by Riders USA.
The third match-up saw Keenan and Chaccolette go clear in a time of 56.90 seconds while her opponent for the second round, Philippaerts and Insolente des Dix Bonniers, incurred a three-second time penalty for a total time of 59.86 seconds. Finally, Riders USA could see light at the end of the tunnel as their 70 points still put them in the hunt against Team Europe with 90.
It was not to be, however, as the fourth match-up would tell the final tale. Kenny was first into the ring and provided a moment of drama when his mount, Sweet Tricia, had an unexpected refusal. Despite the six-second time penalty applied for a refusal, Kenny’s adjusted time of 66.98 seconds still held up against the 69.48 seconds posted by Chapot and Chandon Blue after the pair had two rails down.
With only 80 points to its credit, it was mathematically impossible for Riders USA to catch the 110 points already on the board for Riders Europe. The final match up went ahead and further cemented Riders Europe’s victory when Smolders came out ahead of Vanderveen. The final score was 130 for Riders Europe, 90 for Riders USA.
Coming into New York, Riders Europe had won the first three events. Much to the disappointment of the supportive New York crowd, Riders Europe maintained its supremacy, remaining unbeaten in the fourth battle to date.
“I am proud of this group,” said captain Guerdat of his Riders Europe team. “I was able to create a real team spirit since the beginning of the week; we have all been eating together, for example.”
“It seems like it was a pretty big margin and, in some ways, it was, but with just a couple things going differently we could have won it,” affirmed Ridland. “It’s not fun losing. I don’t enjoy losing and none of us were particularly happy about that but the format, I think, is tremendous. It’s unique and we will be back again in Paris and we hope for a different result.”
“For the sake of the competition, it would be nice if Riders USA manage to win in the Riders Masters Cup,” retorted Guerdat. “But for that to happen, Riders Europe will have to change the team leader – I like to win too much!”
And so a new battle begins.
Pieter Clemens Scores Stylish Win in Sam Edelman 1.50m
Pieter Clemens put his best foot forward to win Saturday evening’s Masters One Sam Edelman 1.50m. The list of riders who moved forward to the 10-horse jump-off read like a who’s who of international show jumping but the 25-year-old Belgian was undeterred, taking a daring inside turn to solidify his position among the best of the best.
First to go in the jump-off, Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire immediately went to the top of the leaderboard and stayed there with a time of 35.05 seconds riding Luibanta BH. Rider after rider attempted to better her time to no avail until the final competitor entered the ring. Clemens was all business aboard Caldero, and his daring turn had the crowd gasping before he thundered through the timers in 34.82 seconds to take the win.
Demonstrating the camaraderie within the international show jumping community, the inside turn that would prove to be the key to his victory was suggested by John Madden, husband of two-time U.S. Olympic team gold medalist Beezie Madden.
“I didn’t plan to do it but John Madden came to me just before I was about to go in and told me to take a look, he thought it was possible to go inside there,” explained Clemens, who has worked for 2006 World Champion Jos Lansink for the past four years. “So, I went to take a look and it worked!”
Clemens will certainly have fond memories of his first trip to America!
Italian Horse Power Prevails in Lamborghini Masters Power Six Bar
Italian Olympian Emanuele Gaudiano showed the crowd what it takes to clear a height of 2.01 meters and win the Lamborghini Masters Power Six Bar competition on Saturday afternoon. As the fences rose with each round so did the excitement level in the NYCB LIVE coliseum. As riders attempted to jump ever increasing fence heights, one by one they fell by the wayside until there was only one man left standing.
“This horse has a lot of scope so he was a good choice for this class,” said Gaudiano of Chalou, a 10-year-old Oldenburg stallion owned by Equita Kft that will also be his mount for Sunday’s grand finale, the Longines Masters of New York Grand Prix. “He was very powerful because I gave him a nice long break before the show. He has had one month of relaxing and doing flat work.
“It’s a very nice class for the crowd, they really enjoy it,” continued Gaudiano, 32, who earned a €10,000 bonus for successfully jumping higher than two meters. “I had a lot of fun because my horse jumped great!”
Kristen Vanderveen (USA) and Bull’s Run Almighty had left all the rails in place but elected to withdraw from the fifth and final round, automatically putting them into second place. American Jennifer Gates riding Pumped Up Kicks and Swiss ace Pius Schwizer aboard Ulane Belmaniere both faulted in the fourth round to tie for third place.
Young Talent Showcased in Masters Two Lami-Cell U25 1.45m
Riders looking to make the leap into the grand prix ranks found the perfect stepping stone at the Longines Masters of New York. The Masters Two Lami-Cell U25, open to competitors aged 25 and under, showcased the talent of tomorrow.
California’s Natalie Dean prevailed in a five-horse jump-off by posting the only clear round to take the win aboard Don’s Diamant, an 11-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion. Coco Fath (USA), 18, riding Exotik Sitte and Canada’s Dannie Murphy,19, riding Isabeau de Laubry both incurred four faults in the jump-off with Fath’s time of 34.30 seconds giving her the edge over Murphy, whose time was 34.79 seconds.
“I think it’s really nice for us to have the U25 division where we are not always competing against the pros that have had longer experience,” said Dean, 20, of Palo Alto, California. “I think it helps us to have something to aim for during the week, and it’s a really special class.”
Dean is making her Longines Masters debut and noted, “It’s amazing to win here! It’s such a special show. I think the horses really like this facility and they all seem to be really relaxed. The organizers make all of the presentations really special, right from the 1.15m division to the five-star events. It’s definitely one of my favorite shows!”