Bridgehampton, NY - Aug. 29, 2012 - Irish rider Ronan McGuigan scored a narrow victory on Capall Zidane in Wednesday morning’s $7,500 Wolffer Estate 1.4m Open Jumper class, but McLain Ward, a two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist, galloped to victory on Lucky Lord 20 in the afternoon’s $7,500 Equinimity 1.45m Open Jumper class, presented by Ariat.
McGuigan, 38, now lives in Far Hills, N.J., and with a time of 55.46 seconds, he topped an Irish sweep, as Shane Sweetnam took second on Elastique (56.50) and Darragh Kenny took third on Zhum CW (58.24).
The Irish have been the riders to beat so far at the Hampton Classic, with Sweetnam already winning one class and either Kenny or Darragh Kerins placing in all five open jumper classes held so far. “We’re hungry!” said McGuigan with a smile. “Plus, we do a lot of jumping on grass at home, so we’re used to riding in a ring like this. The horses can sometimes be a little bit wary on the grass, but so far this ring has been brilliant.”
McGuigan, who lived in Bridgehampton for seven years after moving to the United States, bought Capall Zidane, 8, as a 5-year-old, and he hopes the Dutch Warmblood will soon become a competitive grand prix horse. “He’s always been just a top horse,” said McGuigan.
Ward, of Brewster, N.Y., had to really ride fast (56.06 seconds) to beat Sweetnam by a second on Cyklon 1083 (57.09) and Kerins on S&L Zeppelin (59.92). Cyklon 1083 won the $20,000 Nicolock Time Challenge on Sunday.
Ward, 36, has won the Hampton Classic’s featured event, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix, a record six times, including 2009 and 2010 on his Olympic Gold Medal mount Sapphire, who is now retired, and last year on his 2012 London Olympic mount, Antares F.
The 37th annual Hampton Classic Horse Show runs through Sunday, Sept. 2, and features world-class show jumping competition, as well as magnificent shopping and a variety of entertainment attractions. The Classic features six show rings with more than 100 classes of competition for horses and riders of all ages. A wide range of jumper, hunter, equitation, short stirrup and leadline classes are all part of the Classic’s schedule, as well as competitions for riders with disabilities.
The highlight of the Hampton Classic is the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier on Sunday, September 2. The Grand Prix, open to horses that successfully complete Friday's $50,000 Spy Coast Farm/Young Horse Show Series Grand Prix Qualifier, features Olympians, World Champions and other show jumping veterans such as defending champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist McLain Ward. This year, the Grand Prix is part of the new Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge which awards a $200,000 bonus should the same horse-and-rider combination win the $100,000 Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon, $250,000 FTI Grand Prix at the Hampton Classic, and $250,000 Alltech Grand Prix at the Alltech National Horse Show. Ward won the Wells Fargo Grand Prix of Devon on Antares F in May and now stands to win the $200,000 bonus should he ride Antares F to wins in the remaining two events in the Taylor Harris Triple Crown Challenge.
For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the Classic. These broadcasts can also be seen on line at www.wvvh.tv.
All classes held in the Grand Prix Ring will also be available live throughout the horse show on webcasts provided by ShowNet. Access to this pay-per-view stream may be found on the Hampton Classic website at www.HamptonClassic.com, or via ShowNet membership at www.ShowNet.biz. In addition, most of the Classic’s jumper and hunter classes from all other rings will also be available, many live, through ShowNet at www.ShowNet.biz.
Two additional outlets, the USEF Network.com, Presented by SmartPak, and HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, will both offer free live webcasts of the Classic’s featured event, the $250,000 FTI Grand Prix and FEI World Cup™ Qualifier on Sunday, September 2 starting at 2:00 p.m. EDT. These free live webcasts are available at www.USEFNetwork.com and www.HRTV.com.
Further information on the Hampton Classic Horse Show is available at the Hampton Classic website at www.HamptonClassic.com or by calling 631-537-3177. Hampton Classic Horse Show, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.
Photo: McLain Ward and Lucky Lord 20 won the $7,500 Equinimity 1.45 meter Open Jumper Class, presented by Ariat. (Shawn McMillen photo)