Seven of 23 riders returned to jump off for the blue on Sunday in the $300,000 LONGINES Hampton Classic Grand Prix Presented by Land Rover, and it was Israel’s Daniel Bluman who soared to victory with a blistering time of 34.750 seconds.
Bluman, two-time Olympic veteran and 2017 Hampton Classic Grand Prix champion, piloted Blue Star Investments’ Gemma W, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood mare, around the ring after five-time U.S. Olympian McLain Ward took the lead, finishing in a time of 36.790 seconds. Bluman had the advantage of watching Ward’s round.
“I was watching everything McLain did carefully,” Bluman said. “He’s a fast rider, and he loves to win this class. Then the crowd went crazy when he finished, and I had so many emotions at that point. I just said to myself that I was going to give everything – absolutely everything – I had. I was going to take all the risks, and I was going to beat him. I wasn’t going to be slower than him today. And it worked out.”
“It was a really incredible feeling,” Bluman added. “It’s really special not only because it’s the Hampton Classic, but because it’s McLain Ward on his home turf. To beat him today is definitely going to be one that I'll remember.”Ward has won the Hampton Classic Grand Prix a record seven times, and this year he brought his 2021 Olympic partner, Contagious, to compete. The 12-year-old German Sport Horse gelding, owned by Beechwood Stables LLC, helped Ward clinch Team Silver at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
“He’s a super quality horse,” Ward said. “He’s always been very, very careful, and he’s a fighter. My team has that horse in spectacular form right now from preparing for the Olympics, where we achieved a dream result. It’s nice that he was able to return home and be fit and ready to go, which is a testament to all the care from our team.”
Schuyler Riley (USA) rounded out the top three in both the Hampton Classic Grand Prix and the LONGINES Rider Challenge, collecting a total of 325 points. After finishing second with Katherine Gallagher’s Robin de Ponthual in Friday’s Grand Prix Qualifier, she piloted the 16-year-old Selle Français gelding to a fault-free time of 37.420 seconds.
The 16-effort, 1.60m course designed by Ireland’s Alan Wade featured several rollback turns, a double combination, and a triple combination. In the jump-off, the turn from the Jaguar obstacle to the red fence before the final jump home was where Ward felt he made a mistake.
source: PRess Release