Moloney in the Money at Hampton Classic

Because of weather warnings having to do with Tropical Storm Hermine, the Grand Prix’s start time was moved up from 2 to 1 p.m.
Richie Moloney and Carrabis Z went for it in the Grand Prix’s jump-off on Sunday, rubbing a rail at the penultimate Hampton Classic jump on the way to an almost-two-second victory. Durell Godfrey

Richie Moloney, a native of Ireland who was the Hampton Classic Grand Prix’s third-place finisher to Kevin Babington (also an Irishman) two years ago, won the big prize this time, speeding through a pared-down eight-obstacle jump-off course Sunday afternoon in 39.57 seconds, a couple of ticks faster, it turned out, than his nearest competitor, Charlie Jacobs, who was the last to go among the five horse-and-rider combinations to have gone clean in the first round.

Because of weather warnings having to do with Tropical Storm Hermine, the Grand Prix’s start time was moved up from 2 to 1 p.m., though nothing untoward (as it often has in the Classic’s 41-year history) happened. In fact, the day was sunny, cool, and beautiful, with wind that was more delightful than threatening. 

The Grand Prix win earned Moloney, who rode Equinimity’s Carrabis Z, a black gelding, $99,000 and, as the Classic’s rider of the week, another $30,000 from the Grand Prix’s and rider-of-the-week sponsor, Longines. 

It equaled the best payday he’d ever had, the slim, redheaded, quiet-spoken Irishman said afterward. For the week, he and his mounts took in about $150,000 in all, he estimated.

It’s the third time in the past four years that Moloney has won the Longines rider-of-the-week award. Another Irishman, Shane Sweetnam, won it last year after Moloney had won it twice in a row.

After winning the 2014 Grand Prix, Babington said of Irish riders, “They like the grass.”

The course designer — yet another Irishman — Alan Wade, one who, according to the show’s press officer, Marty Bauman, is considered by the riders to be “a genius,” presented them with a demanding course. Many came to grief in the first round at the second oxer in a triple in front of the Chalet tent (this writer counted three refusals and eight rails down there), but Wade said later that he didn’t see it as being particularly treacherous, that it was essentially a triple like any other.

There had been a number of faults, as well, at the vertical that led into the triple, and at a tall fence following the water jump — apparently because the riders had to “shorten up” to get over the former, and because their horses were confronted by the latter moments after stretching out over the water.

Andrew Welles, the Grand Prix’s third-place finisher, said, when asked about the triple, “It was fairly short . . . it was a little short between 7a and 7b, but it was a very fair test. It’s always tough when you have two oxers [high spread fences]. . . .”

McLain Ward, recently returned from the Rio Olympics, where the United States won a silver in team jumping, won Friday’s $75,000 Grand Prix qualifier, and thus was the last to go in Sunday’s first round, though the six-time Grand Prix winner here and HH Carlos Z had a knockdown at the fence that followed the water jump, which was near the end of the course.

As a result of having won the Grand Prix qualifier, Ward won the charity competition, a first here this year, which meant that at least $16,100, the total collected as of Monday from the sales of rider-autographed baseball caps, is to go to Caring Hearts for Canines, the charity with which he had been matched.

In other big-money classes over the course of the week, Mattias Tromp won the $50,000 Longines Cup; Leslie Howard won the $40,000 Sovaro Speed Stake; Katherine Strauss of Southampton won the $25,000 Campbell Stables Show Jumping Derby. (She was also the show’s junior jumper champion.) 

Lauren Fischer won the $15,000 Carolex Junior amateur-owner classic and the $10,000 low junior jumper classic; Georgina Bloomberg won the $10,000 Royalton Farms open jumper class; Jazz Johnson Merton won the $10,000 Strong’s Marine low amateur-owner jumper classic; Stephanie Danhakl won the $10,000 Hermes hunter classic, and Phoebe Topping of Swan Creek Farms in Bridgehampton won the 14-and-under $2,500 Marshall & Sterling children’s hunter division, riding Perfektionist, owned by Tracey Topping.

In addition, Peter Leone, who has a 1992 Olympic silver medal to his long list of credits, and who was spelled by Bauman in the WVVH-TV broadcasting tent while he rode Wayfarer in the Grand Prix (finishing with two rails down, coming out of the triple and after clearing the water jump), received the Equis Best Presented Horse award.

Among a long list of champions and reserve champions were Philippa Ammann of Two Trees Stables, reserve champion in short stirrup equitation 10-and-under, Section B; Enchanted, ridden by Two Trees's Caroline Cole, in children’s hunter small-medium pony, Section A; Topping and Perfektionist in children’s hunter horse 14-and-under, Section A; Sastune, ridden by Brett Lieb of Bridgehampton, in the local amateur-owner hunter division; Eliza Kimball of Water Mill, who rode Adore in the children’s hunter horse 14-and-under division, Section B; Ella Bikoff of Bridgehampton, who, on Happy Feet, was reserve champion in the children’s hunter small-medium pony division, Section B, and Justine Ryan of East Hampton, reserve champion on Carrusel in adult amateur hunter 18-35, Section B.

Swan Creek Farms reported that Phoebe Topping also won the Children’s Hunter Classic, that Isabel Culver of Sag Harbor was reserve champion on Cabaret in the local junior hunter division, that Alice Keller was the only junior rider to place (eighth) in the Marders Hunter Derby, on Union Jack, and that Epic, a horse owned by Phoebe Topping, placed fifth in the opening day’s T.H.I.S. junior medal and in the Marshall & Sterling junior medal. 

Moreover, Rumple Minze, another horse owned by Phoebe Topping, won several second-place ribbons in the large pony hunter division; Ashley Van Den Bol of Sag Harbor finished second in two children’s hunter 14-and-under classes, riding Godsend; Emma Siskind and Marzipan finished in the top ribbons in the large children’s hunter pony, and Evelyn Berkoski, Sadie Culver, Kailey Eberhart, and Victoria Porter “all competed and ribboned in the leadline class on local day.”

Correction: Philippa Ammann and Carolina Cole ride at Two Trees Stables in Bridgehampton, not Stony Hill Stables in Amagansett as previously reported.

Aside from rain on the third day, the sun shone throughout the week at the 41st Hampton Classic in Bridgehampton. Katherine Strauss of Southampton was the show’s junior jumper champion and won the $25,000 Campbell Stables Show Jumping Derby.
Sophia Pilla, a niece of the Car Doctor, Ryan Pilla, placed sixth among 47 competitors in Saturday’s $5,000 M&S Children’s Jumper Classic.
Andrew Welles and Brindis Bogibo, a chestnut gelding, were third in the Grand Prix. Durell Godfrey and Jack Graves Photos
Phoebe Topping won the 14-and-under $2,500 Marshall & Sterling children’s hunter division and the Children’s Hunter Classic riding Perfektionist, owned by Tracey Topping. Jack Graves