Uniondale, N.Y.—April 27
The Longines Speed Challenge, a staple of the Longines Masters series, is hailed as the “fastest class in the world.” Speed and technique factor into the Table C, faults converted 1.50-meter class, factors Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding Lucifer V utilized to win the class at the Longines Masters of New York.
“It took six months or so for us to get in a bit of a groove, but over the last three months he’s been incredibly consistent and incredibly competitive,” said Nassar. “I’m just really grateful to have him and grateful for Evergate [Stables] to be trusting me with him. He’s just such a cool addition to the string, and there’s really not much to complain about; except that he has his quirks, but at this point, we’ll deal with them. It’s no problem at all.”
On the third day of competition at the Masters, held at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, 22 competitors fell short of matching Nassar’s sharp time of 58.45 seconds.
“He’s a naturally really quick horse; I knew that if I just got on a bit of a lick and kept it the whole way around that I’d be in a pretty good spot,” said Nassar. “It’s [Evergate Stables owner Jennifer Gates’] birthday today, and I told her that I wanted to win one for her, so I was really glad that I could get it done even with the rail. It’s pretty crazy that he was still able to win that class even with a fence down.
“I was still surprised today because with a fence down you never really know, but I tried,” he added. “I definitely wanted to give it a go; I knew he was a fast horse, and this class could suit him. This was his first class of the week, and I know that he usually comes out ready to go, so I just wanted to give him a good run and see what happens.”
Nassar and Lucifer V crossed the timers nearly 3 seconds faster than Kristen Vanderveen and Bull Run’s Faustino de Tili, who took second.
“He really likes the traveling and the small, unique venues where either the horses adapt and do really well, or it becomes a bit overwhelming, and those seem to be actually the best atmospheres for him,” said Vanderveen.
For the summer circuit, Vanderveen intends to be based in Europe for the first time in her career.
“I’ve never actually gone and shown [in Europe],” said Vanderveen. “I did [Fasutino at the 2018 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final in Paris], but that was the only time I’d shown in Europe, so I’m planning on leaving around mid-June. I’m not sure if he’ll come or not, just with the quarantine, but I have three other horses that I’m quite excited about that maybe I’ll take them and leave [Fasutino] here.”
Olivier Philippaerts and Insolente Des Dix Bonniers finished third.