Daniel Bluman continued his hot streak in New York to win the $300,000 Hampton Classic 4* Grand Prix this afternoon. It’s been a dream week for Bluman who has been unbeatable in Long Island, picking up wins in the $40,000 Sovaro Speed Stake and the $86,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier earlier in the week.
Ominous skies held as 31 riders took to the 14 obstacle, 17 effort track designed by Alan Wade. Just 3 horse and rider combinations found their way without fault, the last fence dashing the hopes of many - including defending champion Richard Moloney and World Cup veteran Callan Solem. The Longines triple combination set next to the celebrity-laden VIP tent also caught many combinations off guard, with all three elements falling frequently.
Brianne Goutal and her bay Stallion Nice de Prissey were 7th to go in round one and the afternoon’s first clear with a spectacular effort. Three rounds later, McLain Ward and HH Callas promised the crowd a jump-off, the veteran show jumper continuing his stellar record in the class that he’s won 6 times previously. It looked like a two horse race as the class came to a close, until Daniel Bluman - 29th in the order - and Ladriano Z upped the ante with a faultless ride.
Goutal put in a quick and tidy jump-off round, but her tight approach to the Longines double cost her 4 faults. She ultimately stopped the clock at 46.18 seconds. Ward, who many considered the obvious favorite, nailed the early tight turns of the jump-off but paid for their quicker pace, having the last two verticals down. Though they stopped the clock at 44.10, 8 faults meant Ward would have to wait until next year for his 7th Hampton Classic Grand Prix.
A clear round would win it for Bluman and Ladriano Z, but they pushed the pace anyway, in case of a rail. The pair were flawless, beautifully completing the jump-off in 46.09 seconds, an ecstatic Bluman capping off the weekend in the best way possible.
“When I walked the course I honestly thought there were going to be a few more clean rounds,” said Bluman at the press conference following the presentation. “I think it was nicely built, careful enough, big enough, as Alan’s courses have been all week. I don’t think there was any place where the horses really had to struggle. It played out the perfect way, only three in the jump-off, which is beautiful because you get to go in knowing you already have a nice piece of the pie.”
By Ashley Fairfield-Remeza