PHOTOS BY Jump Media
NNayel Nassar of Egypt treated the crowd to a fabulous finish in the $400,000 Longines Grand Prix of New York, the grand finale of the Longines Masters of New York (LMNY) on April 25-28. Nassar took breathtaking risks as he galloped around the jump-off of the grand prix with Lucifer V, turning in a clear round and the winning time. The crowd packing NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Uniondale, NY, erupted in cheers.
“He’s such a trier and an athletic horse,” said Nassar, 28, of Lucifer V, who is owned by the Evergate Stables, LLC of his girlfriend, Jennifer Gates. “He’s faster than anything I’ve ever ridden before with a natural ability to leave the jumps up. He really jumps with his heart, and it’s an incredible partnership to have a horse like that. You know you have a chance to win every time you come out. It’s an incredible feeling, and I’m grateful to have him.”
It was Nassar’s second big win of the week, as he and Lucifer V also sped to victory in the Longines Speed Challenge on April 26. Not only was Nassar the first rider to ever win both the Longines Speed Challenge and the Longines Grand Prix at the same event, he was also the first to do it with the same horse. “It’s unexpected, really!” said Nassar when asked what it was like to write Longines Masters history. “It means the world. Thank you, Christophe [Ameeuw], for providing us with this platform. We can’t showcase what we do without a platform to do it on, and I’m really grateful.”
In the innovative team competition of the Riders Masters Cup on April 27, Riders Europe kept its remarkable streak alive, winning a fourth consecutive title in the series. In a concept unique to the Longines Masters, the Riders Masters Cup pits five-member teams from Europe and the United States in head-to-head speed battles.
Now in its second season, the Riders Masters Cup is held at the Longines Masters of Paris in December before the concept crosses the Atlantic for the Longines Masters of New York. Robert Ridland, team captain of Riders USA, put together a strong team of Laura Chapot, Lillie Keenan, Devin Ryan, Kristen Vanderveen, and McLain Ward to face off against the Riders Europe team of Darragh Kenny, Edward Levy, Olivier Philippaerts, Pius Schwizer, and Harrie Smolders and captained by Philippe Guerdat.
Each Riders USA competitor faced off in two rounds of speed duels against a rider from the Riders Europe team to put points on the board. Before the last match-up, Riders Europe had a commanding lead. The final score was 130 for Riders Europe and 90 for Riders USA.
“I am proud of this group,” said captain Guerdat of his Riders Europe team. “I was able to create a real team spirit since the beginning of the week.”
The thrilling action of the international stars of the Riders Masters Cup and the Masters One CSI5* classes kept the crowds cheering all week, and riders in the Masters Two CSI2* division showed that the future of the sport is bright with big wins in an electric atmosphere. Fans were also entertained by the AKC Agility Premier Cup, where top canine athletes competed over an obstacle course of their own. Younger riders got their chance in the spotlight in the IHSA Metropolitan Equitation Invitational, where collegiate riders competed in front of judges Brianne Goutal-Marteau and the legendary George H. Morris.
The Longines Masters 2018-2019 series finishes at the Longines Masters of Lausanne on June 20-23. The 2019-2020 season begins again at Longines Masters of Paris on December 5-9 before continuing on to Hong Kong in February 2020 and back to New York in April 2020.