The marquee event of today’s Hampton Classic was the $50,000 Longines Cup won by Mattias Tromp from North Salem, NY. Tromp bested a field of 41 starters and picked up a thrilling win - the biggest win of his career - in front of an enthusiastic, well-heeled Hamptons crowd.
The 13 obstacle Alan Wade-designed course looked to be a breeze as the class started with 3 of the first 4 horse and rider combinations coasting around faultless and within the time allowed. But as the afternoon progressed, only another 5 would be added to the jump-off.
Wade admitted the course wasn’t an easy one to design. “It’s quite a different class to judge because you have a number of competitors riding young horses or they were stepping up themselves to this level so I was just trying to find a balance. It wasn’t easy but I think we had good sport.”
Though rails fell throughout, the vertical-vertical-oxer triple combination acted as the day’s bogey, with elements 9A and 9C keeping the jump crew busy. Situated along the rail and heading toward the in-gate, the triple had more than a few distractions that likely caused the faults to pile up.
First to jump-off was Eliza Lehrman and Fenom van Klapscheut who opted for clean over fast, keeping the rails up but clocking in over the 48 second time allowed and picking up a single fault. Catherine Tyree followed aboard Enjoy Louis, her Belgian Warmblood gelding, putting in a lovely clear in 42.74.
When Tromp and the ground-covering Avon entered 2 rides later they were clearly aiming for a win, opting for an inside turn to a Longines vertical, Tromp never taking his foot off the gas. The pair clocked in at 38.34, 4.4 seconds faster than Tyree.
Tromp, who benefits from the counsel of McLain Ward, had the turn on his mind early on. “There was a question of an inside turn. whether to go inside or around to the Longines vertical, fence 14. When I went in I looked at that turn and thought it was doable so I decided to give it a shot and see what happened.”
Of the remaining 4 riders in the jump-off, only Colombian rider Pablo Mejia Villa and his Reglisse Top jumped clear in 40.96, sealing a 2nd place win and dropping Tyree down a peg to third. Pablo was clearly thrilled to come in 2nd in one of the bigger classes he and the bay mare have jumped together. He described Reglisse Top as “very relaxed and confident with her job” at the press conference.
Tyree’s third place finish has rocketed her to the top of Longines Leading Rider Challenge heading into tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
“I’m very excited,” said Tyree of leading the challenge, “I’ll be riding a newer horse tomorrow in the Grand Prix but I feel very confident. It really is a great testament to the horses that I’m lucky enough to have and the program we have North Run. They take such great care of my horses and I know that whenever I walk into the class there’s nothing my horse and I can’t do. It’s a really great feeling and I’m excited to be wearing the armband tomorrow.
It should be noted that due to tropical storm Hermine the $300,000 Hampton Grand Prix has been moved to 12:30pm on Sunday, it was originally scheduled for 2:00pm. If you can’t be there, it’ll be live streamed on the Hampton Classic website.
Article by Ashley Fairfield-Remeza