Lexington, Kentucky, USA – Nov. 2, 2019 – Showcasing the top level of equestrian sport from around the world, the $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI 4*-W brought 11 countries and some of their best athletes to the Alltech Arena of the Kentucky Horse Park. The feature event holds a distinct spot on the annual schedule of the National Horse Show, drawing the largest crowds of the week for the highly-anticipated event. Head-to-head competition was the name of the game for athletes in the evening class, all vying for valuable ranking points in hopes of attending the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April of 2020. Ultimately, it was 18-year-old Brian Moggre (USA), the youngest-ever winner of the class at the National Horse Show, and Major Wager’s MTM Vivre Le Reve who captured victory, garnering precious qualifying points and the lion’s share of the prize money for their efforts in the highlight event.
First to tackle designer Ken Krome’s (USA) 16-effort track, Kelli Cruciotti (USA) and Hadja Van Orshof served as the early trailblazers, successfully finding their way around the course without incurring any faults. With her trip aboard Brego R’n B, Katie Dinan (USA) forced a jump-off as the second clear athlete of the evening, and she was soon joined by Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Karen Polle (JPN) and David Blake (IRL), each of whom qualified aboard their respective mounts by the midway break. Adding their names to the list in the latter half of the class, Rowan Willis (AUS), the eventual winner Brian Moggre (USA) and Beät Mandli (SUI) each maneuvered their horses to clean initial performances to stay in the hunt.
All told, 12 partnerships managed to leave all the fences intact, but four duos fell victim to a single fault, meaning only eight would advance to the short course. An even greater number looked to be on track to earn eligibility into the jump-off, but more than a couple downed their only rail at the final fence of the course to keep them out of contention.
Proving to be the pacesetters for the tie-breaker round, Kelli Cruciotti (USA) and Hadja Van Orshof logged the first double-clear effort of the night, tripping the timers in 38.63 seconds to take the early lead. However, the duo would finish in fourth place.
Karen Polle (JPN) & Kino
Three exhibitors later, Polle piloted Kinoshita Group’s Kino (Lord Z x Chambertin) around the Alltech Arena at breakneck speed, tripping the timers in 34.44 seconds to best the original frontrunners by an incredible margin of more than four seconds.
Though that time set a swift precedent, Moggre laid on the gas aboard the 10-year-old Westphalian gelding (Ustinov x Chello II). MTM Vivre Le Reve as the second-to-last in the returning order in an effort to secure his second Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ victory of the year, crossing the finish line in 34.22 seconds to propel to the top of the leaderboard.
Brian Moggre (USA) & MTM Vivre Le Reve
Returning for the jump-off in the reverse order in which they qualified, Mandli and Simba had the advantage as the final contenders to contest the abridged pattern and, although they looked to potentially be on pace to usurp the leaders, faults at the final fence kept them off the podium. As the quickest double-clear partnership, Moggre and MTM Vivre Le Reve were crowned the champions, followed by Polle and Kino in the runner-up spot.
David Blake (IRL) & Keoki
David Blake (IRL) and Pine Hollow Farm’s Keoki (Catoki x Cassini I) claimed third place with a solid jump-off performance in 36.87 seconds.
As the victor of Saturday night’s festivities, Moggre secured his second Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ win of 2019 after also leading the lap of honor in the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Ocala CSI3*-W in March. Now with 41 points to his name, the young athlete sits in second place in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ standings for the North American Eastern Sub-League, just shy of Beezie Madden’s cumulative 48 points. Moggre is no stranger to the winner’s circle in Kentucky, coming off summer victories in both the $36,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic CSI3* and $25,000 Hagyard Lexington Classic Grand Prix at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Leading International Open Jumper Rider – Daniel Coyle (IRL) & Leading Lady Rider Award Winner – Lillie Keenan (USA)
Further awards were honored upon deserving exhibitors following the final victory lap, with both Daniel Coyle (IRL) and Lillie Keenan (USA) ending the night with new distinctions. As the Leading International Open Jumper Rider, Coyle was presented with a one-year lease of an Audi Q7 from Audi of Lexington, while Keenan earned the Mr. and Mrs. Cunniffe and Ms. Laura Sexton Leading Lady Rider Award.
Kevin Babington Fan Club
Over the course of the week, the “Bid for Kevin” fundraiser allowed for the equestrian community to participate in raising funds to benefit Kevin Babington, a beloved show jumping competitor who took an unfortunate fall earlier in the summer that resulted in a spinal injury. Individuals were able to bid on riders competing in the $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI 4*-W for a chance to win lessons with some of the sport’s greatest athletes. Whoever “bought” the victorious rider – in this case, Moggre – will receive five private lessons with Beezie Madden (USA), Shane Sweetnam (IRL), Kent Farrington (USA), McLain Ward (USA) and Margie Engle (USA). Surpassing the goal of $75,000, the funds raised amounted to an incredible $87,245.
The 2019 National Horse Show will return to the Alltech Arena on Sunday morning for the ASPCA Maclay National Championship, presented by Chansonette Farm. As the last national equitation final of the year, 129 leading junior riders will battle it out for the championship honors. The 2019 National Horse Show will conclude with the crowning of the Maclay champion, wrapping up its 136th year of prestige and tradition.
Brian Moggre (USA) & MTM Vivre Le Reve during the awards ceremony
Brian Moggre (USA) – $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI4*-W Champion
On his reaction to winning:
“That moment for me was something that I never expected to feel, especially in this year and where I am in my career. That horse is so special to me and has taken me through all of the ranks. I won my first FEI grand prix with him at Live Oak in the spring, another World Cup class, so to be able to win that and the 4* this week was not even in my imagination. He was really on his game today and luckily I was on mine. It was awesome.”
On where he took risks in the jump-off:
“I think that the places that made up the time for me was the turn back to the combination on the side, fences 10a and 10b, and to the last jump I took a gallop for it and really hoped that he was on it and he was seeing what I was seeing. I didn’t necessarily make too tight of turns but I stayed on a galloping pace and he saw all of the jumps. We both wanted that win very badly.”
On working towards Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals in 2020:
“World Cup Finals is a huge goal of mine. I did the class at Split Rock in Ohio and I did the World Cup at the American Gold Cup to touch all of the bases so far. I found out about a week ago that I got into Toronto next week for the Royal Fair, so I will do that and hopefully it will keep going as it is going and we will be in Las Vegas for the Finals.”
Karen Polle (JPN) – $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI 4*-W
“I have had Kino for two and a half years now and we don’t have much experience in really fast jump-offs, so this was our biggest accomplishment together so far. I was really, really happy with how he jumped today. He tried really hard in the first round and in the jump-off I took a bit of a shot. I was really happy with how he handled all that, and going into next year our partnership is starting to solidify really well and hopefully we can keep performing like this going forward.”
David Blake (IRL) – $225,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Lexington CSI4*-W
On his plan for the course:
“Walking in we knew it was going to be tough because of the amount of clears that there were in the qualifier, so it was a great course tonight. The turn to fence four was very unusual I thought. It was my first indoor show on that horse so it was quite unusual to turn into the wall and that caused a lot of damage for people. The course seemed to suit bigger horses with stretchy distances, so I was happy with how it all walked because my guy has a big step so it was all as I walked.”
On competing Keoki in his first indoor horse show:
“It is my first indoor in the USA and his first indoor ever so I didn’t fancy that the atmosphere was big enough when we went in because Karen was right before and she was clear, so that got him on his toes a little bit. I really enjoyed it. I would like to thank the sponsors and the organizers, because I just got in on the last minute so it was worth the trip.”
Ken Krome (USA) – Course designer
On his course:
“I designed it so that young people would do really well! It is such an amazing group of horses and riders here. I was trying to come up with a test that would be fair but stiff enough to bring out the best ones. It certainly seemed like we got horses and riders that were really in sync with each other and really trusted one another. It seemed that it took a lot of youth and extra vigor with your horse to show and come out really nicely.”
Mason Phelps, Jr. – Chairman of the National Horse Show
On the National Horse Show”
“I am really pleased that we are going to continue to be in the World Cup tour as we move forward from 14 to eight events. We are so pleased that we were selected as one of those and we look forward to a brighter future. If we can secure funding it will be a 5* next year, we hope!”
For more information, please visit nhs.org.
For full results, please click here.
Source: Press release by Elaine Wessel / Phelps Media Group for the National Horse Show
Photos: © Phelps Sports / Elaine Wessel / Georgie Hammond / Emma Miller