Uniondale, N.Y.—April 28
Nayel Nassar and Lucifer V seem to have a knack for outdoing themselves each time they step in the ring. While they partnered together only 11 months ago, they’ve quickly become the pair to beat in international competitions. The pair you don’t want behind you in a jump-off.
Two days after winning the Longines Speed Challenge, held at the Longines Masters of New York in Uniondale, New York, Nassar and the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding Lucifer V returned to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum to make history with a win in the $400,000 Longines Grand Prix of New York.
“[Lucifer V] loves to go fast; it’s the weirdest thing,” said Nassar, who became the first person in history to win both the speed challenge and grand prix at a Longines Masters event. “He doesn’t like to go fast in the warm-up or at home, but once he gets in the ring he seems to be really at ease with himself once I put the jets on, and it’s just an incredible feeling and I’m grateful to have him.”
Nassar and Lucifer were one of 12 combinations to qualify for the jump-off. As last to go, they crossed the timers in a winning 38.59 seconds.
“I didn’t know how he would come out today after I ran his legs off on Friday,” said Nassar. “The first round was a little tricky; he was bouncing off the walls, he was still in speed mode a little bit skimming the jumps. He came back for the jump-off and jumped even better, and I knew once I got over that first fence that I might have a shot to win it.”
The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders came in a close second to Nassar with a final time of 39.46 seconds. Smolders rode the 11-year-old Selle Francais mare Une de l’Othain, a horse, like Lucifer V, owned by Jennifer Gates’ Evergate Stables.
“To be honest, I didn’t think [I could catch Nayel],” said Smolders. “With Beezie [Madden] and then Nayel behind me I knew they’re very experienced horses, very fast riders.
“With my horse, it’s one of its first five-star shows and she’s starting to understand the game, what it is about,” added Smolders. “But I think it’s an incredible, successful day for Evergate with an honor like that with the first and second place in a five-star grand prix. That doesn’t happen very often.”
Olivier Philippaerts took third with H&M Cue Channa 42.