“It’s been a dream week, I doubt I’ll ever be able to repeat something like this,” said Israeli rider Daniel Bluman after winning the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix – a memorable event in and of itself. Beating McLain Ward to earn it? Also pretty great. But when this is your third FEI win of the weekend? That is a streak that you only get a few times in your career.
Daniel’s first win of the weekend was the $40,000 Sovaro Speed Stake on Thursday which he won on the 10-year-old mare, Bacara. The next night he came back and won the $86,000 Grand Prix qualifier on her again, as well as sending Ladriano Z through to the ten-horse jump-off to qualify him for the Grand Prix on Sunday.
“With Ladriano Z, I thought I went as quickly as I could with him, because he will go Sunday in the grand prix, and I couldn’t just let him run all the way,” related Bluman following the class.
“With Bacara, I was able to watch Darragh Kerins’ jump-off from the in-gate before going in the ring. It was beautiful, and I knew I would have to just go for it.”
With that, Bacara finished out her week on a high note, and Daniel had the luxury of sitting out one of the top horses at the show to focus on a great run with Ladriano Z, a nine-year-old Zangersheide gelding (Lawito x Baloubet du Rouet).
On Sunday, the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix got underway, and the day proved a touch windy. A bogey Jaguar fence with a touch of terrain tripped up multiple riders (ten pairs had a rail at this fence alone) and only the absolute elite gained entry to a second round. For a long time, it looked like there might not be a jump-off at all.
“I don’t think Alan Wade makes many mistakes,” said Brianne about the first round after the event. “There was a reason why the jumps were put where they were. When we walked the course, we noticed the field has a little bit of a grade uphill in places, and you had to be really careful from the Jaguar gate. The six strides of that line drew you in a little bit to the front rail of the next jump, so you’d think you had a decent distance, and once you got there it was a short stride and then it was uphill again. It caught a lot of people.”
Brianne Goutal was the first to break the clear round barrier, and the addition of Daniel and Ladriano and McLain Ward with HH Callas meant a jump-off showdown for the ages.
McLain and his darling chestnut mare went all-out for the title and had the fastest time of the day by two full seconds, but the pair pulled rails on the last two fences of the course to leave them third.
Brianne rode a slower but very accurate course, but with the pressure on and fences at maximum technical challenge and height, they too had a rail.
Daniel simply had to ride clear, but still did it in a clipping time and in perfect measure to win his third FEI title of the weekend.
"It’s been a dream week, I doubt I’ll ever be able to repeat something like this."Daniel Bluman Official and Ladriano Z win the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix presented by Sovaro at The Hampton Classic Horse Show, Bluman's 3rd FEI win in 4 days! 👏🏻
Posted by USEF Network on Sunday, September 3, 2017
“It played out the perfect way, only three in the jump-off, which is beautiful because you get to go in knowing you already have a nice piece of the pie.” said Daniel after the event. He was clearly overjoyed with the win. “I’m happy to be here again for the third time this week, it’s really been a fantastic and I’m delighted with the result. It’s definitely a Hampton Classic for the books.”
Shockingly, this stellar winning streak was not enough to secure leading rider of the show, which went to Richie Maloney of Ireland.
Overall, Daniel hauled in $149,180 over the course of the show as well as a Longines watch, making it a haul for the ages and cementing him as one of the most successful equestrians in Israel’s history.
Go Daniel, and Go Jumping!