New York, NY - Central Park's Trump Rink was alight with excitement Friday night as the inaugural Central Park Horse Show (CPHS), presented by Rolex and produced by The Chronicle of the Horse, continued with its second day of show jumping competition under the beautiful New York City skyline. The evening featured a $50,000 "NYC vs. The World" Team Speed Challenge, presented by Donald J. Trump, with a win for Suncast® Corporation's World Team. Representing his home nation of Ireland, Conor Swail won the competition overall with the leading round aboard Lansdowne.
A $5,000 Junior/Amateur Speed Challenge was held later in the evening with a win for 22-year-old New York based rider Hilary McNerney and Oscar. Kent Farrington, the number 3 ranked rider in the world, guided the winning efforts in both competitions serving as captain of the victorious Suncast World Team as well as training McNerney to her win. The Central Park Horse Show, presented by Rolex continues through Sunday, September 21.
Friday's Speed Challenge featured teams for Land Rover of America NYC with riders representing the home city of New York matched up against international riders representing the Suncast Corporation World Team. Steve Stephens of Palmetto, FL, set the track for the competition, which was run in a faults converted speed format. The world team was the winner overall, topping 10 of the 15 match-ups while the team for NYC, captained by Georgina Bloomberg, settled for second.
In addition to team prizes, the top eight individual riders shared in a $50,000 purse with a win for Ireland's Conor Swail riding Susan and Ariel Grange's Lansdowne. The pair laid down a blazing fast clear round in 45.83 seconds to win their match-up and the winner's share of prize money.
Jessica Springsteen (USA) was second individually riding Stone Hill Farm's Davendy S to a clear round in 47.23 seconds. Shane Sweetnam rode to third place for his home nation of Ireland with a clear round in 47.40 seconds on Cyklon 1083.
Farrington commented on the event following another great evening of competition representing his winning team. "I think this is one of the best venues we can have to showcase our sport," he stated. "It is really exciting to be here and be a part of this event, getting it off the ground. A special thank you to everybody that has put big efforts into making this happen - Mark Bellissimo, Donald Trump, Rolex being our sponsor here, all the staff of the park, and everybody that has helped. I think for the first year, it's a success, and I know there will be big efforts into making it better. I think that this could turn into a major stop on our tour and turn into a world-class event."
With a very talented group of experienced international competitors on his team, Farrington's job as captain was easy. "If you look at my list of riders they don't need any advice," Farrington declared. "They know what their plan is. They all know what they are doing, so I don't really need to do anything."
Conor Swail knew his plan with top mount Lansdowne, with whom he has had many international wins together. "I was fortunate that I have Lansdowne, and he is my top grand prix horse," Swail acknowledged. "It was a lot of fun tonight. The horse has done a lot of big classes, so it was nice for him to run around and be able to enjoy himself and go as fast as he could. You have a good plan before you go in and you try and execute it the best you can, and thankfully it came off very well for me tonight. The horse was fabulous."
"It's fantastic to be invited to this show, to be a part of such a fantastic event here," Swail added. "I think in the future it can grow to be one of the biggest shows in the world."
Mark Bellissimo of International Equestrian Group (IEG) was happy with another great night of competition and congratulated the riders. He looks forward to planning an even better event next year and is already brainstorming great ideas with everyone involved.
"I think we cut our teeth on this and hopefully we'll have a good blueprint and learn a lot of the different elements or areas of feedback," Bellissimo stated. "Some riders have some very good ideas. We are very excited about the future of this event, and I think we will spend the next weeks and months figuring out how to work on a strategy for Central Park version number two."
Chrystine Tauber, President of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), was on hand for the competition as well and thanked Bellissimo for putting the event together. "To be able to bring sport horses right into the heart of New York City and have this backdrop is an absolutely amazing opportunity for our sport," Tauber stated. "We are going to continue working together in the future to build this event. It has gone very smoothly. I want to thank everybody, and we look forward to coming up with some really interesting events that we can develop. I think this is a world-class stage, and we will make it into a world-class event going forward on all levels."
Friday night also hosted a $5,000 speed competition for the junior and amateur riders. The class saw a win for Hilary McNerney riding Amy Carr's Oscar with a clear round and the winning time of 51.87 seconds. For her victory, McNerney was presented with a VertuoLine Chrome Nespresso machine.
Brianne Link and E-Bay had a rail, but were still very fast to finish second in 53.05 seconds with their faults converted into time. Yamin Rizvi and Peacock Ridge Farm LLC's Delilah jumped clear in 55.57 seconds to finish third.
"I'm super grateful because my horse is so fast, and I wasn't worried about going into this ring with him," McNerney said of her ride. "He can do anything. He's a little bit older; he's 18, so we try not to do too much with him."
McNerney just graduated from Duke University and got Oscar this summer when she decided to get back into riding. "Kent got me this horse who is amazing. I went to school and decided to just take those four years and focus on school," she explained. "I'd ride occasionally when I could. After school I wanted to take a year and see how it goes and get back into it. I missed it for the four years."
McNerney recently moved into the city and was very excited to compete in Central Park at this inaugural event. "Walking into the ring, it was like, 'Wow, we're in Central Park!' It's really cool to ride in this ring and show," she expressed. "It was surreal. I'm very lucky to be able to compete here. Oscar has done everything. Ben Maher had him, and he has done Aachen and five-star grand prix. He loves it, and he loves to win. I just try to hold on and get him in the right place, and he's good."
The Central Park Horse Show, presented by Rolex continues on Saturday with two matinee performances at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. followed by a special evening of dressage. The Central Park Dressage Challenge, presented by The Axel Johnson Group, will host some of the world's top dressage horses and riders, featuring Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth and American superstars Steffen Peters and Ravel.
The U.S. Polo Assn. Central Park Polo Challenge will conclude the weekend on Sunday afternoon at 3 pm. Entertaining matinee performances will also be held on Sunday at 9 am and 12 pm. For more information, please visit www.centralparkhorseshow.com.
Final Results: $50,000 "NYC vs. The World" Team Speed Challenge Presented by Donald J. Trump
- 107 LANSDOWNE CONOR SWAIL 45.83
- 164 DAVENDY S JESSICA SPRINGSTEEN 47.23
- 174 CYKLON 1083 SHANE SWEETNAM 47.40
- 130 PROF DE LA ROQUE DARRAGH KENNY 47.45
- 152 HESTER LUCY DESLAURIERS 48.00
- 143 ORIENTALES DEVIN RYAN 48.31
- 134 WAOMI KENT FARRINGTON 48.77
- 123 ALL IN KATHERINE STRAUSS 49.27
- 163 BALLADE VAN HET INDIHOF BRIANNE GOUTAL 50.83
- 172 OREADE DES DAMES ADRIENNE STERNLICHT 51.64
- 159 BOTTOM LINE KAREN POLLE 51.76
- 133 G AND C FLASH TAYLOR ALEXANDER 52.11
Final Results: $5,000 Junior/Amateur Speed Challenge
- 129 OSCAR HILARY MCNERNEY 51.87
- 111 E BAY BRIANNE LINK 55.05
- 167 DELILAH YASMIN RIZVI 55.57
- 150 BELLE BLEU S CLOE HYMOWITZ 55.78
- 110 TIMO ARIEL EPSTEIN 56.79
- 148 FIREFLY PHILIP RICHTER 56.98
- 176 MANCHESTER ALEXANDRA WORTHINGTON 57.46
- 149 CHARON ALEXA EFFRON 58.20
- 135 CASEY CLAIRE SCHREDER 62.27
- 132 GOLDEN DREAM VAN'T HEIKE GABRIELLE BAUSANO 67.65