Lexington, Kentucky, USA – November 03, 2022 – Show jumping competition made its debut at the 2022 National Horse Show (NHS) Thursday, November 3rd. Welcoming some of the world’s top show jumping athletes and their mounts, the CSI 4* designated competition featured a star-studded lineup of 38 horse-and-rider pairs representing 11 nations, including the likes of Brazil, Belgium, Australia, Israel, and the United States. At the conclusion of the two rounds, it was Devin Ryan (USA) and Eddie Blue who secured the top spot in the spectacle class of the day, winning the $73,800 International Welcome Stake CSI 4*.
Course designer Guilherme Jorge’s (BRA) 16 effort track proved troublesome for the first few pairs in the Alltech, as spectators did not see a clear round until the fifth combination in the order, Devin Ryan and LL Show Jumpers LLC’s Eddie Blue. Luiz Francisco (BRA) and Santa Cecilia Stables LLC’s Nashville forced a jump-off nine rides later.
Many horse-and-rider combinations encountered troublesome areas on course, but commonly saw rails down at fence two at the far end of the ring, as well as in the triple combination from 5a to 5b along the outside rail going away from the in-gate. Many riders also struggled with fences 9a and 9b, heading down the center line also going away from the gate. Upon the completion of what proved to be a difficult first round, eight pairs representing six nations moved on to take on Jorge’s jump-off.
The nine-effort jump off track featured the same jumps seen in round one, with the exception of jump one, which tracked in the opposite direction and modified into a vertical instead of the previous oxer. Returning to the Alltech Arena in the order they went clear in the first round, Ryan and the 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (VDL Zirocco Blue x Marlon) contested first, posting a double-clear ride in 41.48 seconds. “When it came down to the jump-off, I know he’s not naturally the quickest horse, but he has a big stride and he is a very careful horse, ” explained Ryan about his mount, Eddie Blue. “So I can turn back on a fence and maybe don’t have to give him as much room and know he can get it done.”
Francisco and the nine-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding blazed a faster time than Ryan, but two rails down on course kept them out of top contention. Egypt’s Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Evergate Stables LLC’s Igor Van De Wittemoere were next to contest, also picking up eight faults on course with a time of 45.15 seconds. Following Nassar, Nick Dello Joio (USA) and The Berry Group LLC’s Cornet’s Cambridge posted a 45.38 second time and four faults upon completion of their round.
Ireland was the next nation to contest as Shane Sweetnam (IRL) and Gizmo Partners LLC’s James Kann Cruz crossed under the Longines and National Horse Show arch. The pair posted the second and only other double clear effort of the evening, with a time of 42.25 seconds – just short of Ryan’s time – to claim second place honors at the conclusion of the class.
Daniel Bluman (ISR) and Over The Top Stables LLC’s Ladriano Z left it all in the Alltech as they navigated tight inside turns in hopes of overtaking Ryan’s lead, but took fence one down in doing so, crossing the timers in 42.98 seconds with four faults to land them just outside a podium finish.
Samuel Parot (CHI) and his own Chrystal Blue posted eight faults on the board with a time of 46.41 seconds, while Evan Coluccio (USA) piloted Hampton Green Farm LLC’s Valdes Z to the third fastest time of the class, crossing the Longines timers at 41.53 seconds with four faults, making them the fastest four fault-er and rounding out the top three awards.
Ryan feels confident going into Saturday’s World Cup Qualifier, as he and his trustworthy partner, Eddie Blue have seen many winner’s circles throughout their partnership. “Eddie gives you a lot of confidence as a horse because he has produced so many clear rounds” commented Ryan. “I always feel really good [going into the ring] and we will give [The World Cup Qualifying Class] a shot. He has been to The World Cup Finals [Omaha, NE] once as a nine-year-old in 2018, and he was second, so he does like indoors. He’s all around a great horse, a lifetime horse.”
Final Results – $73,800 International Welcome Stake CSI 4*
1) Devin Ryan (USA) & Eddie Blue – 0 / 0 – 41.48
2) Shane Sweetnam (IRL) & James Kann Cruz – 0 / 0 – 42.25
3) Evan Coluccio (USA) & Valdes Z – 0 / 4 – 41.53
Source: Press Release from the National Horse Show
Photos: © NHS / Phelps Sports