Nayel Nassar of Egypt treated the crowd to a fabulous finish in the $400,000 Longines Grand Prix of New York, the grand finale of the Longines Masters of New York on Sunday, April 28, at NYCB LIVE.
German course designing mastermind, Frank Rothenberger, created a difficult test for the 29 horse and rider combinations brave enough to accept the challenge, knowing 12 of them would be lucky enough to move on to the second round. Six riders representing six different nations managed to jump clear over the tough track and were joined by the six riders who had posted the fastest four-fault rounds for an all-deciding final.
Going in reverse order of standing and carrying faults forward from the first round, the tension mounted as the double clear performances began to present themselves. Captain Brian Cournane of Ireland was the first to jump double clear with Dino but his conservative time of 45.88 seconds left the door wide open for the riders who followed. Israel’s Daniel Bluman received a huge cheer from the crowd when he jumped clear in a time of 41.95 seconds with Landriano Z, putting him in fourth in the final standings.
Olivier Philippaerts, 25, of Belgium was one second faster in 40.93 seconds riding H&M Cue Channa 42 and looked unbeatable but, as the saying goes, it’s not over until it’s over.
Dutch show jumping sensation Harrie Smolders, currently ranked number four in the world, did the seemingly impossible by leaving all the rails in place and racing home in a time of 39.46 seconds to move to the top of the leaderboard riding Une de l’Othain, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare owned by his student, Jennifer Gates, and her Evergate Stables LLC.
But there was one challenger still to come and there was no doubt about his ability to be fast. Nassar and Lucifer V had claimed Friday’s highlight event, the Longines Speed Challenge, and were hungry to taste victory again.
In a breathtaking performance, Nassar’s partnership with the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, also owned by Evergate Stables LLC, was on full display as they cleared hurdle after hurdle with the greatest of ease, and in a deceptively fast time. When they galloped home through the timers in 38.59 seconds, the crowd erupted. New York had its winner!
“He’s such a trier and an athletic horse; he’s faster than anything I’ve ever ridden before with a natural ability to leave the jumps up,” said Nassar, 28, of Lucifer V. “He really jumps with his heart and it’s an incredible partnership to have a horse like that. He loves to go fast! You know you have a chance to win every time you come out. It’s an incredible feeling and I’m grateful to have him.”
Not only was Nassar the first rider to ever win both the Longines Speed Challenge and the Longines Grand Prix at the same event, he was the first to do it with the same horse.
“It’s unexpected, really!” said Nassar when asked what it was like to write Longines Masters history. “It means the world. Thank you, Christophe [Ameeuw], for providing us with this platform. We can’t showcase what we do without a platform to do it on and I’m really grateful. I’ve always loved these shows and hopefully I can keep making it a target of mine.”
Runner-up Smolders didn’t think there was anything else he could have done differently to beat Nassar.
“With my horse, this is one of her first five-star shows and she is just starting to understand the game and what it’s all about,” said Smolders, 38. “It’s an incredibly successful day for Evergate Stables. A first and second place finish in a grand prix doesn’t happen very often!”
“Here in New York, a star is born!” said Ameeuw, the creative maestro behind the Longines Masters Series. “When you have the winner of the very famous Longines Speed Challenge on Friday and today you win this Longines Masters Grand Prix here in New York, a star is born. Thank you so much Nayal, you did an amazing job.
“Thank you so much to our sponsors because without sponsors it’s impossible to do this. Impossible! Thank you to Longines, and all of the sponsors who partner with us,” continued Ameeuw.
As the curtain comes down on yet another fabulous edition of the Longines Masters of New York we look forward to the next event, the inaugural Longines Masters of Lausanne, to be held from June 20-23, 2019. The Swiss stop will mark the first outdoor event included in the Longines Masters Series and it is especially fitting that it will be held in the Olympic capital of the world as well as the home country of Longines.
“Lausanne is a fantastic opportunity,” said Ameeuw. “Lausanne is the Olympic capital and Lausanne is the headquarters of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI). When we speak about Paris, Hong Kong, New York, and now on the way to Lausanne it’s a very, very important step for us. Longines is again the title sponsor and we are so thankful to add Lausanne to the Longines Masters Series.”
Fear not, New York! After Lausanne, Paris and Hong Kong, the Longines Masters Series will return to New York from April 23-26, 2020.
Madison Goetzmann Makes Her Move to Win Equo App Grand Prix
Madison Goetzmann of Skaneateles, NY, kept cool and calm under pressure to win the Masters Two Equo App Grand Prix 1.45m on Sunday at the Longines Masters of New York. From the original 26-horse starting field, exactly half managed to jump clear over the track set by course designer Frank Rothenberger and advance to the jump-off. Despite being 18 years of age, Goetzmann showed composure beyond her years to deliver the winning round in a time of 32.82 seconds riding Prestigious, her 12-year-old Westphalian gelding.
“He was incredible!” said Goetzmann of her partner of two years. “He has really been on top form. He hasn’t touched one rail all week. I think that’s one of the faster jump-offs I’ve done on him; he was so game for every inside turn and all the leave-outs and I really couldn’t be happier with him.”
Ireland’s Jonathan Corrigan came the closest to catching her time but was still more than two full seconds off the winning pace, clocking in at 34.94 to finish runner-up riding Loughnavatta Indigo. Lindsay Douglass of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, and Butterfly Tibri Z rounded out the top three with a time of 37.16 seconds.
Joanna Wolffer Tops Masters Two Top Jock Grand Prix
With 19 horses qualified for the jump-off, victory in Sunday’s Top Jock 1.25m was especially sweet for Joanne Wolffer of nearby Sag Harbor, NY, at the Longines Masters of New York. There was no doubt as to Wolffer’s supremacy; she held off the 18 other jump-off contenders by posting a winning time of 26.13 seconds to edge out New York’s Sima Morgello, who stopped the timers in 26.68 seconds to finish runner-up with Azur van Overis Z. Riding for Israel, Ariel Bluman took third place with a clear jump-off performance in 26.69 seconds aboard Euphoria.
“I’ve had my horse since he was six and we’ve grown together,” said Wolffer of Antonov, her 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. “We just connect, and I know that he loves me as much as I love him. When you have that type of partnership it can be incredible. He gives me the confidence to do it.”
It was Wolffer’s first time competing at the Longines Masters and to say she was impressed would be an understatement.
“This show makes you feel so special when you win; they make you feel so good with a victory gallop and a podium presentation,” said Wolffer, 37, whose Wolffer Estate wines were featured as part of the Longines Masters of New York hospitality. “As amateurs, we never get that and it’s really fun for us. It doesn’t feel like it’s just another show. It feels so special!”
Re-live the Action of the Longines Masters of New York on CBS Sports
Watch the best riders of the world compete in the 2nd edition of the Longines Grand Prix of New York on Sunday April 28, at 9PM ET.
For full information on the 2018/2019 Longines Masters, visit www.longinesmasters.com.
Final Results: $400,000 Longines Grand Prix of New York CSI 5*
1 LUCIFER V: 2006 Westphalian gelding by Lord Dezi x Grandeur
NAYEL NASSAR (EGY), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/0/38.59
2 UNE DE L’OTHAIN: 2008 Selle Français by Conterno Grande x Cento
HARRIE SMOLDERS (NED), Evergate Stables LLC: 0/0/39.46
3 H&M CUE CHANNA 42: 2006 SWB mare by Cardento 933 x Robin Z
OLIVIER PHILIPPAERTS (BEL), Malin Baryard AB, Stuteri Arch: 0/0/40.93
4 LADRIANO Z: 2008 Zangersheide gelding by Lawito x Baloubet du Rouet
DANIEL BLUMAN (ISR), Over the Top Stables LLC: 0/0/41.95
5 DINO: 2008 KWPN gelding by Vingino x Coriano
CAPT. BRIAN COURNANE (IRL), M/M Robert Stiller: 0/0/45.88
6 BREITLING LS: 2006 Dutch Warmblood stallion by Quintero x Accord II
BEEZIE MADDEN (USA), Abigail Wexner: 0/4/39.58
7 CASSINI Z: 2007 Oldenburg gelding by Cassini II x Capone
DARRAGH KENNY (IRL), Southern Ways Equestrian Ltd: 4/0/40.72
8 CORTNEY COX: 2009 Mecklenburg gelding by Carlo x Espri
PIUS SCHWIZER (SUI), HM-Stables Ag. and Pius Schwizer: 4/0/41.93
9 CASPAR’S LASINO: 2009 Holsteiner gelding by Caspar x Lasino
DEVIN RYAN (USA), Market Street, Inc.: 4/0/43.73
10 DSARIE: 2008 KWPN mare by Veron x Ahorn
BEAT MÄNDLI (SUI), Grand Road Partners LLC: 4/0/43.97
11 REBECA LS: 2006 La Silla mare by Rebozo la Silla x Cassini I
EDWARD LEVY (FRA), Remarkable Farms LP: 4/4/40.86
12 CREEDANCE: 2007 Dutch Warmblood gelding by Lord Z x Notaris
KENT FARRINGTON (USA), Kent Farrington & R.C.G Farm: 4/8/42.26