Gucci Goldrush at Masters

By October 4, 2015
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Patrice Delaveau (FRA) and Carinjo HDC jump to the top of the class in the $130,000 Gucci Gold Cup. (Photo: Paula Parisi / The Equestrian News)

Fifteen clear among 35 starters. That’s awkward! Such were the results of the $130,000 Gucci Gold Cup, won by Patrice Delaveau (FRA) Oct. 3 at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles.

Reining in our value judgments was SoCal trainer Steve McAllister, taking in the action from the Ventura Farms skybox with wife Jenni Martin McAllister, a top rider. “In Europe, it’s common to have 10 or 12 in a jump off because they really don’t make a big deal of the time.” For this class — the first Gucci Gold Cup to take place on U.S. soil, following events in Paris and Hong Kong — the time allowed on Luc Musette’s 12-obstacle course was 68 seconds. No one missed.

“Plus, they eat dinner later there, so a lot of people don’t tune-in until the jump off,” McAllister continued. “Kind of like the way professional basketball players don’t start really playing until the final two minutes,” he said, with a not displeasing mixed-sports metaphor.

Round one saw 10 four-faulters (and five eights).  Whether course was easy for a CSI5* 1.50m, or there was an abundance of talent, the large jump off afforded some of the younger U.S. riders the rather exotic opportunity of a jump off against the world’s top talent. And Musette certainly had had regularly been pushing his 5* riders pretty hard. And this — day three of a four-day show — wasn’t even the 5* jump-off record holder; that would be the Oct. 2 Prix Airbus ($85,000), with 20 clear.

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Steve McAllister and Jenni Martin McAllister watch the Gucci Gold Cup.
 (Photo: Paula Parisi / The Equestrian News)

The Gucci Gold round two featured eight obstacles, and a big turn, open to much interpretation, off the triple, with a time limit of 50 seconds. Eight emerged intact, including Delaveau and Carinjo HDC in a zippy 35.83 seconds, just .02 of a second faster than McLain Ward (USA) and HH Carlos Z, at 25.85.  It’s moments like this when one really appreciates the accuracy of the official Longines timers!

McAllister continued to wax philosophical, providing a very interesting perspective. “Round one, it’s the horse and rider against the course designer, whose job is to make it rideable by everybody, but not doable by everybody. So the designer in creating the course is asking himself, ‘Which rail is Richard Spooner going to pull? Which fence will catch Scott Brash?’ Some of the questions are riding tests, and some are tricks, so the course can not only keep up with the riders, but beat them.  They’re really not competing with each other, against the other horses, until the jump off.”

Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Lintea Tequlla were third. The full-volume jump off made for a long night among those sticking around to ride in the evening’s final class, the Charity Pro-Am Style & Competition. Full Gucci Gold Cup results here.

Earlier in the day, Delaveau also topped 20 other riders to win the $34,000 Prix Emirates CSI5* 1.50m, riding Lacrimoso 3 HDC. Hilary McNerny and Balans RV won the $8,000 PRG Trophy CSI2*  1.35m Prestiege class. Rachel Dowson and Senator de Vautenaivre CH went home with the prize in the $7,000 LA84 Foundation Trophy 1.10m, and Michelle Kerivan and Colin took top honors in the $7,000 Longines Masters of Paris Trophy 1.20m Invitational.

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The USA’s McLain Ward and HH Carlos Z were second. (McCool Photography for EEM)

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