Returning for its 48th year, the 2018 American Gold Cup kicked off FEI competition on Wednesday afternoon with the addition of the $10,000 1.45m Jumper CSI4* class, presented by Morrissey Management Group, at Old Salem Farm. Irish athletes Shane Sweetnam and Willie Tynan captured the top two placings respectively, while the USA’s Adrienne Sternlicht finished in third.
Sixteen entries challenged Alan Wade’s (IRL) speed track, racing for the quickest time and fewest faults across 12 obstacles with two double combinations. Tynan set the pace to beat and topped the leaderboard through much of the class with Michelle Guardino-Dettelbach’s Fancy Girl, posting a clear round in a quick time of 63.46 seconds to best previous leaders, Lacey Gilbertson (USA) and Baloppi, by nearly four full seconds. It appeared the impressive time from Tynan and the 8-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare would stand as his subsequent competitors were unable to catch his pace fault-free.
Newly crowned FEI World Equestrian Games™ team gold medalist, Sternlicht, challenged Tynan’s time, finishing hot on his heels with a clear round in 63.82 seconds aboard her newer mount Fantast, a 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood owned by Sagamore Farms. Falling just short, Sternlicht would ultimately capture the third place finish.
Second to last in the starting order, Sweetnam guided his long-time partner and proven winner, Cyklon 1083, to a blazing and uncatchable time of 61.29 seconds to capture one of the first FEI victories of the week. The 17-year-old stallion, owned by Spy Coast Farm, LLC, holds an impressive record of countless wins in his seven years with Sweetnam.
“[Cyklon 1083] has won an awful lot of classes in his life so he’s naturally very quick,” Sweetnam shared. “I tried to stay as tight as I could [to each fence]. I think that made the difference in the end. I didn’t do less strides, but the turns back to the fences helped.”
No stranger to the winner’s circle at the American Gold Cup, Sweetnam captured the Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4* with Indra Van De Oude Heihoef in 2017 and hopes to repeat his success in Friday’s $80,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier CSI4*-W and in Sunday’s highly anticipated grand prix.
“I have come to the American Gold Cup several years in a row now. I won the Saturday class here last year and I’d like to hopefully win another good class here. I’d really like to be in contention for the grand prix here. I’ve always had one unlucky rail so I am hoping to change that this year.”
Earlier in the morning, Kristen Vanderveen (USA) bested 45 entries in the $8,000 Danbury Porsche Audi 1.40m Jumper class with Bull Run’s Prince of Peace, owned by Bull Run Jumpers Six LLC, completing a double-clear finish in 34.940 seconds for the victory. Beezie Madden (USA) claimed second place aboard Jiva, while Molly Ashe Cawley (USA) rode Picobello Choppin PC to third.
Following, the $5,000 Douglas Elliman 1.40m Jumper CSI4* saw Israel’s Daniel Bluman capture a one-two finish with Cartouche and Entano in fault-free times of 64.03 and 67.66 seconds, respectively. Third place was awarded to Peter Lutz (USA) aboard his own and QBS Equestrian LLC’s Sam 1091 with a clear effort time of 69.32 seconds.
Competition at the American Gold Cup will resume on Thursday, Sept. 27, in the Annex Ring at 8 a.m. with the $2,500 Staller 1.35m Jumpers and will highlight the $35,000 Trelawny Farm Welcome Stake CSI4* on the Grand Prix Field at 2 p.m. The American Gold Cup will culminate on Sunday, Sept. 30, with the week’s featured event, the $204,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ New York CSI4*-W, at 2 p.m.
1. Cyklon 1083 / Shane Sweetnam / IRL / 0 | 61.29
2. Fancy Girl / Willie Tynan / IRL / 0 | 63.46
3. Fantast / Adrienne Sternlicht / USA / 0 | 63.82
4. Baloppi / Lacey Gilbertson / USA / 0 | 67.33
5. VDL Wizard / Callan Solem / USA / 0 | 70.75
6. Copain Z / Cormac Hanley / IRL / 4 | 63.61
7. Eyecatcher / Mattias Tromp / USA / 4 | 63.76
8. Venice Beach / Quentin Judge / USA / 4 | 66.03
9. J’adore Van Het Klinkhof / Erynn Ballard / CAN / 4 | 67.65
10. USA Normande / Margie Goldstein-Engle / USA / 4 | 68.78
11. Crack Elle Chavannaise / Mattias Tromp / USA / 4 | 69.27