In one of the most exciting jump-off rounds in the 41-year history of the Hampton Classic, Richie Moloney (IRL) blazed around the course on Carrabis Z, owned by Equinimity, LLC, to claim the top prize in the $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix, presented by Longines.
"It's special, it's a great show and always a great crowd here," said Moloney. "We try to have our horses in top form for this week. It means a lot to win the Grand Prix here. My horse has been amazing, this is his fourth grand prix win. It's very good to have him and I'm lucky to have my owners at Equinimity, and a great staff. I'm just thankful, without all of those people this wouldn't be possible."
The victory gave Moloney the $30,000 Longines Rider Challenge as the horse show's leading open jumper rider for third time in four years. He received 100 points for a final total of 337.5, which put him 98 points ahead of Catherine Tyree who finished second with 239.5. McLain Ward finished in third with 226 points.
Five horses out of the 29 starting entries representing six nations made it to the jump-off by turning in clean rounds over the Alan Wade-designed course. In the jump-off, all five went clear, leaving it up to the Longines timers to determine the winner. The first to go in the jump-off was the defending champion, Karen Polle (JPN) on With Wings. They set the mark to beat with a clean round in 41.54 seconds. Four-time Olympic medalist Beezie Madden (USA) was next on Quister de Guldenboom, owned by Abigail Wexner, and they finished two-tenths of a second faster to take the lead with 41.33. Charlie Jacobs (USA) and Cassinja S then shaved off another two-tenths of a second to move into first place with 41.12.
"I am blessed with a great support team whose hard work plays a key role in any success my horses and I achieve," said Jacobs of his Reserve Championship. "They deserve to be sitting up here every bit as much as I do."
Somehow, Moloney found a shorter track to go nearly two seconds faster than Jacobs and he jumped into the lead with a time of 39.57 seconds with just one to go. "Everything showed up nicely," said Moloney. "I took a bit of a chance in the second to last fence and I rubbed it. I was a little lucky, but I guess it was our day."
Andrew Welles (USA) tried his best to beat the lightning fast round of Moloney's on Brindis Bogibo, owned by AEM Enterprises, LLC. He stopped the timers in 41.15, only three one-hundredths of a second slower than Jacobs, good for third place.
"It's unbelievable," said Welles. "I am so fortunate to be able to ride this horse. He rode seven rounds this week, counting jump-offs, and turned in seven clean rounds. This was a beautiful way to end an amazing week. To be third in this Grand Prix is just incredible."
Source: Press release from Hampton Classics / Photo (c) The Book LLC.
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