Devin Ryan Carves Name into American Gold Cup History with $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W Win
North Salem, N.Y. – Sept. 17, 2017 – The 2017 American Gold Cup at Old Salem Farm came to an end on Sunday as some of the world’s top international show jumping athletes competed for the coveted American Gold Cup trophy in the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W. The United States claimed the top prize for the second year in a row as Devin Ryan secured the victory aboard the 8-year-old KWPN gelding Eddie Blue.
“I have a great horse and I knew it was a great field out there. I was probably the least experienced of all those riders in the jump-off. I’ve been watching them all season trying to learn from them. I just went out there today and rode my plan.” said a poised but euphoric 35-year-old Ryan. “Eddie is a great horse. I’ve had him since he was 4 years old and I’ve known since he was 5 years old that he would be able to jump all the big classes. He’s a very brave horse and a field like this suits him. He has a lot of stride and scope so there is time to organize him. Because the field fit the horse, I thought this was a great place to step him up.”
The top 39 athletes from Friday’s $86,000 American Gold Cup Qualifier CSI4*-W, presented by Windsor Show Stables, came forward to compete on the Grand Prix Field in Sunday’s grand finale over two challenging tracks designed by Alan Wade and Nigel Jess.
The large first round course utilized the field’s natural slopes and hills to test athletes over a series of 14 obstacles, where a majority of faults were collected through the Longines triple combination (oxer-oxer-vertical). Five combinations advanced to the jump-off after producing clear efforts in the first round.
Brianne Goutal (USA) kicked off the tie-breaking round with Remarkable Farms LLC’s Nice De Prissey. The pair won the 2013 American Gold Cup together but concluded Sunday’s competition on 4 faults in 40.12 seconds, which would garner them fourth place in the final standings.
Canada’s Mario Deslauriers and Bardolina, owned by Wishing Well Farm, LLC, experienced an unfortunate parting of ways at the third element of the eight-fence jump-off, resulting in an elimination. Both horse and athlete received a round of applause for their efforts after immediately getting back on their feet and reuniting.
Just coming off their recent win in the Silver Oak Jumper Tournament’s $75,000 Agero Grand Prix at the end of August, Ryan and Eddie Blue, owned by LL Show Jumpers, LLC, claimed the first clear performance of the jump-off. They blazed around the short course in 37.75 seconds, knowing world number three ranked show jumping rider and New York native McLain Ward (USA) would be following him in the order-of-go.
Ward and HH Callas, owned by Double H Farm, took their turn on the Grand Prix Field next, also finishing clear but one second behind Ryan in 38.34 seconds.
“My father won this class 31 years ago, which I am very aware of. I have been trying to win this class for a long time and I’ve been second a lot, but it eludes me,” said McLain. “I was thrilled with the mare today. She has been really good. She was third at the Hampton Classic. Devin is a very fast rider. He’s always going forward and the horse has a very big stride. I knew I couldn’t do the same numbers so I knew it had to be a very good round to win. In hindsight, you see an inch here or an inch there but you also risk having a jump down. I did the best round I thought I could do but [Devin] was a little better today. That’s the sport and hopefully I can get this win before I retire.”
Jack Towell and Evergate Stables LLC’s Lucifer V were the final challengers of Sunday’s main event. They posted the fastest 4-fault effort in 39.51 seconds for third place, while Ward took home second place honors.
“I was disappointed with myself,” said Hardin after the event. “My horse jumped very well and I should have taken more of a shot. I was too slow, and if I didn’t have the rail I still would have been too slow. I think I should have left out in the first two lines. It wasn’t my horse’s fault, I just wasn’t on it from the start.”
The American Gold Cup is one of only seven events that comprise the East Coast division of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League. Top equestrian athletes compete in the league at events all across North America in order to qualify for the prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final to be held in Paris, France, April 10-15, 2018. As for whether or not Paris is in his long term sights, Devin was diplomatic but hopeful.
Prior to Sunday’s grand prix, the M. Michael Meller Style of Riding Award was presented to the USA’s Heather Caristo-Williams, who exhibited an outstanding combination of horsemanship, skill and presentation while competing at the 2017 American Gold Cup. In addition, Sandra Ruiz received the Old Salem Farm Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, which was created by Old Salem Farm head trainer Frank Madden as a way to recognize members of the U.S. hunter/jumper community for their selfless contributions to the sport they love.
Re-live all of the action from Sunday’s grand prix at the American Gold Cup with NBC Sports Network’s broadcast of the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W on Friday, Sept. 22, at 11 p.m.!