Heading into the jump-off for the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington (USA), Daniel Bluman (ISR) did not want to take a big risk to the third fence in the short track, a spooky wall. But then his competitive spirit took over. Bluman's bold turn to the fence put him on track to victory over a seven-horse jump-off with his longtime partner, Ladriano Z.
"Jump number three was a very, very difficult fence in the jump-off, because my horse looks at the wall," he said. "My plan was not to take a big risk, but then then I just did!"
The duo crossed the timers of Guilherme Jorge's (BRA) jump-off track in 35.13 seconds. Nicholas Dello Joio (USA) and Cornet's Cambridge (Balou du Reventon) galloped furiously to the last fence to finish a close second in 35.47 seconds, with Hunter Holloway (USA) and Pepita Con Spita (DSP Con Spirit ) third in 35.99 seconds on a night of top sport at the 139th National Horse Show.
"You see the people in the crowd - the kids having fun and cheering. Many years ago, we were those kids watching the National Horse Show and cheering for the riders we liked. It's always cool when people show up and the class turns out to be an exciting one, like it was tonight," Bluman said.
Bluman has been partnered with 14-year-old Ladriano Z for more than five years, and the pair has represented Israel at multiple championships. But Lexington's win was especially meaningful after the bay missed a year of competition due to injury, between 2020 and 2021.
"We weren't really sure what was going to happen [with] his career," Bluman said. "Last year, this was the first grand prix [back] that he jumped, and he finished third, and since then he's had a pretty good run. He doesn't show that often. He's been second multiple times and third, but tonight he won. I'm really happy that he gets to put his name [in the history books] at a prestigious horse show."
Having also finished second at Washington (USA) with Gemma W, Bluman moved into second in the NAL standings with 37 points, behind only Conor Swail (IRL), who has 40 points. Devin Ryan (USA) sits third with 26 points.
"If I do go [to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final], I will go with both [Ladriano Z and Gemma W]," Bluman said.
source: edited Press Release