After spending most of the year recovering from a broken leg while competing at the 2016 Winter Equestrian Festival, 22-year-old Catherine Tyree (USA) of Chicago, Illinois, is making a comeback and proved she is back in top form on Saturday at the American Gold Cup. Less than a week ago Tyree finished second in the HITS Saugerites $1 Million Grand Prix CSI5*, but on Saturday she piloted Mary Tyree's Bokai, a 10-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding, to the win in the $86,000 Fidelity Investments® Classic CSI4*.
"This is a relatively new horse for me," said Tyree. "I just got him at the beginning of July so we haven't done much together. He's an incredible horse and I feel so lucky to have him. It was hard this winter sitting and watching, but if anything it made me want to come back and give it my all after that. The horses have been absolutely incredible and I have the most incredible team at North Run. It's a really nice feeling to be able to pull off the win for them because everyone works so hard."
Course designer Alan Wade set a technical first round track, which saw only two horse and athlete combinations produce clear rounds out of 53 to advance to the jump-off.
"I am very happy I went early because I walked the course and I was able to have my plan and stick to it," said Tyree. "I am kind of my own worst enemy because when I watch people have problems I psyche myself out. This way I was able to go in, trust my horse and know what I had to do. He jumped fantastic in the first round so I was really happy with him."
It was Tyree and 17-year-old Lucy Deslauriers (USA) who returned to vie for the victory on the Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm during Saturday's highlight event.
Tyree was up first and blazed around the eight fence serpentine in 34.530 seconds, but finished on 4 faults. Deslauriers only needed a clear round to win the class with Lisa Deslauriers' Hester, however the pair also collected 4 faults in the jump-off and tripped the timers in 34.790 seconds - just 2/10ths of a second off the winning pace - to finish in second place. Tracy Fenney (USA) and Mtm Reve du Paradis, owned by Mtm Farm, took third place honors with 1 time fault in the first round.
"Lucy is a fantastic competitor," said Tyree. "I've know her for a really long time and she's a great rider and she has a great partnership with that horse so I knew coming in that she was going to be quick. That was probably my third jump-off with the horse so I just wanted to make sure I was fast enough and if I had one down, just stay on it. You never know what is going to happen and at the end of the day we had one down but he was great."
The $35,000 Hermès Sellier Cup preceded Saturday's feature class with a starting field of 53 entries. Georgina Bloomberg continued her winning streak in her hometown of New York, claiming her second blue ribbon at the American Gold Cup with Gotham Enterprizes, LLC's Manodie II H.
"I bought Manodie II H at the end of last year," said Bloomberg. "I didn't bring her to Europe this summer so I haven't been able to ride her as much as I would have liked. Whenever I did come home, I would make some time to spend getting to know her and forming a partnership. She's very careful and scopey, and I think she has a lot of potential for the future. I wasn't sure that I was going to go in there and take a shot at it, but everything came up. She has a big stride and she's quick across the jumps. I am definitely going to aim her for some of the bigger classes in Florida. I am going to spend the fall rebuilding our relationship since I've been away from her all summer."
Fifteen entries cleared Wade's first round course to move on to the jump-off, but only four were able to jump double clear. Christine McCrea and Nektarina B, owned by Candy Tribble, were the first to jump clear over the short course, crossing the finish line in 38.810 seconds, which would hold up for fourth place. Amanda Derbyshire and Luibanta BH, owned by David Gochman, were the next to successfully tackle the jump-off course six rounds later. They took over the lead in 36.488 seconds.
Bloomberg followed Derbyshire with her second mount qualified for the jump-off. She piloted the 11-year-old Oldenburg mare to a faultless effort and outpaced Derbyshire by two seconds in 34.800 seconds to grab first place honors. Alison Robitaille and Bertram and Diana Firestone's Konstanze were the final horse and athlete to enter the Grand Prix Field for the $35,000 Hermès Sellier Cup. They finished with no faults in 37.158 seconds to round out the top three of the class.
"It's was a really nice, inviting course," said Bloomberg. "I think it was perfect for some of the second string horses here and some of the up-and-coming riders. I've been jumping so many big shows all summer it's nice to come and just have a nice, inviting 1.45m course. It was really fun out there, I really enjoyed doing it. I rode two horses in this class that I haven't been able to show much this summer and it was fun to get to know them again on the field out there."
As the American Gold Cup gears up for its final day of competition, Bloomberg looks forward to competing her trusted and experienced mount Lilli in Sunday's $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping New York CSI4*-W.
Source: Press release from Phelps Media Group, Inc. // Pictures © The Book LLC
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