Next Generation of Show Jumping Superstars Showcased in U25 Grand Prix EEM
The show jumping stars of the future were put in the international spotlight Saturday night by EEM with the U25 Grand Prix, open to athletes aged 25 and under. Founder and producer of the Longines Masters, EEM affirmed its commitment to propelling the next generation forward in their sporting careers.
It was an all-American podium finish, much to the delight of the home crowd, with Catherine Wachtell (USA) of Long Valley, NJ, snatching the win following a five-horse jump-off. Coached by Todd Minikus (USA), who is competing in the Masters One division in New York, Wachtell, 23, earned the victory with a time of 34.96 seconds aboard Indy van de Roten, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare owned by Autumn View Farm.
Hot on her heels was 17-year-old Samantha Cohen (USA) and Carmen, her 11-year-old grey Dutch Warmblood mare. With Olympic team gold Medalist Laura Kraut as her coach, Cohen gave it her best effort trying to catch Wachtell but fell short of the win when stopping the clock in 35.75 seconds to finish runner-up. Taking third step on the podium was Samantha Wight, 20, who took a conservative approach, jumping clear in a time of 40.92 seconds aboard Edison.
“It’s a great division and I think it’s one of the most competitive because you have all the young talent and really amazing horses,” said Wachtell, a recent Georgetown University graduate who will be attending Fordham Law School in New York in the fall. “It’s tough, but it’s really awesome to be a part of!”
Harrie Smolders Scorches to Victory in Masters One Kingsland 1.45m
The world’s best show jumping athletes were once again showcased at the Longines Masters of New York in the $60,000 Masters One Kingsland 1.45m on Saturday, April 28. Dutchman Harrie Smolders (NED), who is poised to ascend to the number one position in the Longines World Rankings, topped a six-horse jump-off to take the win.
Riding the 13-year-old Holsteiner stallion Capital Colnardo for owner Copernicus Stables, Smolders took charge of the jump-off by blazing around the shortened jump-off track in a time of 33.12 seconds, overtaking the lead from Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA), who had stopped the clock in 34.05 seconds aboard the nine-year-old Oldenburg stallion, Chalou. Edward Levy (FRA) took third position on the podium riding Rafale d’Hyverniere after posting a clear jump-off performance in a time of 34.84 seconds.
“It was quite a good class with only six clears,” said Smolders of the Masters One 1.45 competition presented by leading European apparel company, Kingsland. “(Course designer) Louis Konickx did a good job; it was quite delicate. It was not very big, but still tough in enough to jump. The time was perfectly set. In the jump-off, there were very fast ones straight away. I saw Emanuele Guadiano and thought he had a good pace; into the double combination he could have gone maybe a little faster. That is the only place he left a little gap, and that is where I tried to beat him.”
Of his appearance in the inaugural Longines Masters of New York, which joins Paris and Hong Kong in the series, Smolders noted, “It is always a high-standard event, very exclusive with high quality service. We are always happy to come to the Longines Masters anywhere in the world!”
American Victory as Devin Ryan Tops the Lamborghini Masters Power Six Bar
Requiring horsepower in its own right, the $20,000 Lamborghini Masters Power Six Bar saw the fences grow higher and higher as competitors fell by the wayside. The last man standing was Devin Ryan (USA) and his 12-year-old Hanoverian mare, Florida, the only pair to successfully clear the final height of 1.80m and claim victory.
Hot off his impressive second-place finish in the recent 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Final in Paris, the Longines Masters of New York was Ryan’s first appearance back on American soil. Hailing from nearby New Jersey, Ryan did not disappoint the home crowd, who willed the pair over each of the six fences on their way to the win.
“I decided I was going to do it for the spectators,” said Ryan, 36, of his decision to enter the Lamborghini Masters Power Six Bar with Florida, a horse he started riding last fall that goes by the nickname ‘Bambi’.
“She’s a really careful mare and it’s always good for a horse to go in a ring and do something a little different. It was just like doing a gymnastic at home. I don’t normally jump this high at home but if the horse can do it, it can do it. She’s super easy to deal with, but when she puts her eye on a jump she turns into a spitfire and she lights up.”
Three riders tied for the runner-up spot after having a fence down in the final test. Longines Ambassador of Elegance Jane Richards Philips (SUI) partnered with Calinesse de Guldenboom and two up-and-coming American female show jumping stars, Mavis Spencer (USA) aboard Dubai and Kristen Vanderveen (USA) riding Bastian 86, all tried their best, but only Ryan successfully left all the rails in the cups in a true demonstration of horse power.
Canada Atop Masters Two Mark Cross Podium
Kicking off Saturday competition at the Longines Masters of New York, two-time Canadian Olympian Mario Deslauriers climbed to the top of the podium after claiming the Masters Two Trophy Mark Cross 1.40m. Deslauriers and Curo, a nine-year-old Oldenburg gelding were fastest in the one-round speed event to cross the timers clear in 57.11 seconds for the win.
“Curo is a blast to ride,” said Deslauriers, who competes for his home country of Canada, but now calls New York City home. “It was a nice change to bring him inside and show him the new fences, the crowd, and all the activity. He really grew up a lot this week.”
Deslauriers is at the Longines Masters of New York with his 18-year-old daughter Lucy, who is competing in the Masters One CSI5* division, saying, “Overall, the event is great and a nice new flavor. To have an indoor event with all the background performances, the boutique area, and this level of sport is a fresh look and I think we need more of that.”
Fellow Canadian competitor Wesley Newlands took second and Samantha Wight (USA) finished third.
Jennifer Kocher Wins Masters Three Oscar de la Renta 1.25m in Fine Fashion
Saturday’s highlight competition in the Masters Three division, the Oscar de la Renta 1.25m, was won by Jennifer Kocher (USA). The win did not come easily as eight riders passed the first round test to advance to the jump-off over the course set by Louis Konickx of the Netherlands.
Four riders again jumped clear in the tie-breaker with Kocher posting the winning time of 36.02 seconds riding Elion V, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion owned by her husband, Andrew Kocher (USA), who is contesting the Masters One division at the Longines Masters of New York.
Tori Corts (USA) finished second with a time 36.90 seconds riding the 14-year-old Chico Bello while Sweden was represented on the podium by Sophie Mörner, the only rider to qualify two horses, both owned by Lövsta Stuteri, for the jump-off. It was her younger mount, the nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, Elliot, who stopped the clock in 38.46 for third place.