Competitors and spectators alike couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful afternoon of sport at the American Gold Cup CSI4*-W in North Salem, NY on Friday, September 16th. The third day of competition got underway with the $86,000 American Gold Cup Grand Prix Qualifier presented by Windsor Show Stables. In front of a home crowd, New York native, Georgina Bloomberg secured Friday’s title class win aboard Caleno 3.

“I’ll be riding Lilli in the Grand Prix on Sunday so because this was Caleno’s last class of the week I knew I could leave it all out there. I thought I might as well go fast and try to win,” said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg clocked a time of 36.53 seconds with her own 12-year-old, Warmblood gelding taking over the lead from 17-year-old Lucy Deslauriers and Hester (Wandor van de Mispelaere x Palestro vd Begijnakker) who finished 2nd with a time of 37.25 seconds. Deslauriers has now claimed a pair of four-star, 2nd place finishes in just under two weeks—she was also 2nd in the Grand Prix Qualifier at The Hampton Classic Horse Show on September 2nd. Adrienne Sternlicht and Toulago (Toulon x Carthago Z) finished in 3rd with a time of 37.73 seconds.

“I’ve seen Lucy go in so many jump offs but I’ve actually never had to go against her against the clock so it was fun to do. She was really fast and I knew I had to take some chances if I was going to beat her,” added Bloomberg. “I turned a little tighter early on than I would’ve liked to but I was lucky enough that he left the jumps up. He’s jumping well so I felt it would be fun to go out there and try for the win.”

The stage was set by Ireland’s Alan Wade, who utilized the expanse of the grass Grand Prix Field by incorporating the natural slope of the ring into Friday’s track for a nice flowing course that riders could really sink their teeth into. Seventy-three starters took to the twelve obstacle, Round One track; however, only 11 produced clear rounds. Russia’s Ljubov Kochetova elected to withdraw, resulting in a jump off of ten.

“I think having a course designer at this sort of show that knows the field very well helps,” said Bloomberg. “Alan also does the spring shows here a lot so he gets to know how the horses are going to go out here and how the ground is going to be. I grew up riding here. It’s a hard field to ride on, there’s a lot of slopes and hills and spooky areas. So it’s an advantage for me for sure to come here and really know how the ring is going to ride, what they’re going to look at and where they might get stuck up.”

The pressure of the class was palpable, as only 40 riders will qualify for Sunday’s $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Grand Prix. Multiple riders hoped to increase their chances of qualification by competing with two horses.

The one stride combination that rode out of a corner near the VIP tent had its fair share of lowered poles. Other faults on course came from having to fit a tight five strides between a skinny vertical and a wide set oxer at jumps three to four.

“In Round 1 I think the triple really caught some people up. I actually left a stride out of the line on both my horses to the last jump,” Bloomberg commented. “I saw a lot of people try to add in the last line and had a rail down. Both my horses have big strides so I thought it would be better to get there a little on a gap. I thought the course was really nice but the last line to the liverpool was definitely the biggest question of the day.”

The first clear round of the afternoon came early on in the order as Beezie Madden, third to enter the ring, kept all the poles in place aboard Quister (Kannan x Eyken des Fontenis). The second clear came five combinations later with Venezuela’s Pablo Barrios. Following Barrios, with a string of clears back-to-back were Kochetova and Johnathan McCrea from the United States.

Katie Dinan and the 11-year-old gelding Dougie Douglas (Ard VDL Douglas x High Roller) were 52nd to enter the ring, and finished as the only clear round marked by a single time fault. Also just missing out on jump-off contention were Rio Olympic Team Silver Medal members, Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, who both accrued four faults.

Irishman Richie Moloney also fell victim to four faults with a pole down over the last fence. A single rail at fence 12 would plague many rounds including Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, Ireland’s Shane Sweetnam and young American Catherine Tyree.

In the jump off round, six pairs finished their day on a double clear score sheet. Peter Lutz and his 2016 World Cup Final mount Robin Du Ponthual (Elf d’Or x Calypso d’Herbiers) finished in 6th place on the slowest of those double clears. Laura Kraut and the talented 9-year-old Confu (Contact Me x Cambridge) took a temporary lead on their clear, but eventually settled for 5thplace. Ireland’s Conor Swail finished 4th aboard Cita (Casall x Pik Ramiro).

Bloomberg, who picked up valuable experience with Caleno 3 (Calido ASS x Lancer II) during a summer tour in Europe, won the class by a healthy margin in 36.53 seconds.

Source: Noelle Floyd.com

Photo by Lucio Landa