Tag Archives: Nayel Nassar

Nayel Nassar and Martin Fuchs Hand in Hand on Top of the Masters Power Lido de Paris

Nayel Nassar & Can Can Della Caccia © Aléa pour EEM.

High jump contest the Lido de Paris Masters Power was the first highlight of the day at the Longines Masters of Paris. Seven of the seventeen pairs entered came from the Masters Two category and ten from the Masters One. Tied at 1.97 meter, Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs are joint winners of the Masters One while the Netherlands’ Elise van de Mheen, the only rider from her category to clear 1.87 meter, was the best of the Masters Two section.

After an initial round at 1.45m, all riders but Italy’s Filipo Marco Bologni started in the first jump-off at 1.72m. With an extra 27cm, things were getting a bit trickier. Nonetheless, twelve pairs gave the second jump-off (1.87m) a go! Now, the added 15cm proved much more challenging. Of the Masters Two field, only The Netherlands’ Elise van de Mheen managed to clear the line. On the Masters One side, Nayel Nassar, France’s Philippe Rozier, and Martin Fuchs remained in contention. The Egyptian and the Swiss easily cleared the next round at 1.97m while Philippe Rozier’s Prestigio LS La Silla refused to launch himself at the impressive vertical.

The competition was then coming to an end. Both leaders had a final attempt at 2.07m, both a record height and a challenge with a 10 000 euros Super Bonus for all riders clearing over 2.05m at each leg of the Longines Masters Series. Were they going to be able to fly even higher? Despite their determination and the support of the Paris audience, neither managed to clear the huge jump. No Super Bonus, then, but a nonetheless superb victory for the riders who were both partnered with horses who were novices at this type of competition.

“This was a good class in which I had entered my Grand Prix horse Silver Shine. We gave a go at 2.07m and it didn’t work. 2.07m is actually quite high. Especially as it was Silver’s first puissance. I like entering this kind of class before a Grand Prix. The gymnastics are very good preparation,” explained the European champion Martin Fuchs. “It was Can Can Della Caccia’s first puissance. Honestly, I did not know how he would react. I’m not very experienced either at this kind of class. But he got better and better after each round. He felt like he kept growing up.”

Find the complete results HERE.

© 2019 Blizko Communication

Nayel Nassar Writes History in Longines Grand Prix of New York

Nayel Nassar and Lucifer V. Photo by Jessica Rodrigues for EEM.

New York, NY – Nayel Nassar of Egypt treated the crowd to a fabulous finish in the $400,000 Longines Grand Prix of New York, the grand finale of the Longines Masters of New York, on Sunday, April 28, at NYCB LIVE.

German course designing mastermind, Frank Rothenberger, created a difficult test for the 29 horse and rider combinations brave enough to accept the challenge, knowing 12 of them would be lucky enough to move on to the second round. Six riders representing six different nations managed to jump clear over the tough track and were joined by the six riders who had posted the fastest four-fault rounds for an all-deciding final.

Going in reverse order of standing and carrying faults forward from the first round, the tension mounted as the double clear performances began to present themselves. Captain Brian Cournane of Ireland was the first to jump double clear with Dino but his conservative time of 45.88 seconds left the door wide open for the riders who followed. Israel’s Daniel Bluman received a huge cheer from the crowd when he jumped clear in a time of 41.95 seconds with Landriano Z, putting him in fourth in the final standings.

Olivier Philippaerts, 25, of Belgium was one second faster in 40.93 seconds riding H&M Cue Channa 42 and looked unbeatable but, as the saying goes, it’s not over until it’s over.

Dutch show jumping sensation Harrie Smolders, currently ranked number four in the world, did the seemingly impossible by leaving all the rails in place and racing home in a time of 39.46 seconds to move to the top of the leaderboard, riding Une de l’Othain, an 11-year-old Selle Francais mare owned by his student, Jennifer Gates, and her Evergate Stables LLC.

In a breathtaking performance, Nassar’s partnership with the 13-year-old Westphalian gelding, also owned by Evergate Stables LLC, was on full display as they cleared hurdle after hurdle with the greatest of ease, and in a deceptively fast time. When they galloped home through the timers in 38.59 seconds, the crowd erupted. New York had its winner!

Not only was Nassar the first rider to ever win both the Longines Speed Challenge and the Longines Grand Prix at the same event, he was the first to do it with the same horse.

“It’s unexpected, really! It means the world. Thank you, Christophe [Ameeuw], for providing us with this platform. We can’t showcase what we do without a platform to do it on and I’m really grateful. I’ve always loved these shows and hopefully I can keep making it a target of mine.” ~ Nayel Nassar

Contact: Jennifer Wood

Nayel Nassar’s Hot Streak Continues with Win in $134,000 WEF Challenge Cup CSI 5*

Nayel Nassar and Lucifer V. Photo © Sportfot.

Egypt’s Nayel Nassar rode Lucifer V, owned by Evergate Stables LLC, to the win in the $134,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup Round 12 CSI 5* on Thursday, March 28, during the final week of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

On Thursday, 60 entries contested the WEF Challenge Cup course set by Guilherme Jorge of Brazil, and of those starters, 28 qualified for the jump-off round, with 18 ultimately electing to return to face off over the short course.

Nassar was the second to return for the jump-off and set the time to beat at an untouchable 35.90 seconds.

Greg Crolick and Braavos Earn Triple Crown Nutrition Green Hunter 3’ Division Championship

While only having made his debut into the show ring at the beginning of March, Greg Crolick’s new partner, Braavos, has already made a name for himself. The six-year-old Warmblood gelding (Rock Forever I x Scarlett) was named champion in the Triple Crown Nutrition Green Hunter 3’ division. The championship is one of two division victories the gelding has earned during the final few weeks of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival.

Crolick and the gelding owned by Renaud Farm, LLC first debuted their partnership in the show ring during Week 9. Braavos showed his potential promise early on as he secured the champion ribbon for the USHJA Hunter 2’6” division during his first show on U.S. soil. The gelding once again glided to success during Week 12 as the pair picked up two firsts, two seconds, and a third in the five classes to end the division on 36 points.

For full results, please visit pbiec.coth.com.

Longines Streak Continues for Nassar and Lordan in Las Vegas

Nayel Nassar (EGY) and Lordan. (FEI/Andrew Ryback)

Just a week after topping the World Cup qualifier in Thermal (USA), Nayel Nassar (EGY) and his longtime partner Lordan led another victory gallop after clinching the $135,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Las Vegas (USA).

Nassar, 27, and his 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding were fastest in a six-horse jump-off set by Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA). The pair used their natural foot speed and tidiness to their advantage, coming through the timers in 34.57 seconds, over a second fastest than their closest competitors. It was an international podium, with Wilhelm Genn (GER) and Bugatti earning runner-up honors (35.73 seconds) and Harley Brown (AUS) and Mylord Cornet finishing third (40.34 seconds).

“It was a fast jump-off,” Nassar said. “Wilhelm set a really tough time to beat, and he was really efficient everywhere on a horse that has a bigger stride than mine. I just knew I had to be nice and neat in the turns and not go too crazy down the long lines.”

“It was a fast jump-off… Wilhelm set a really tough time to beat… I just knew I had to be nice and neat in the turns and not go too crazy down the long lines.” — Nayel Nassar (Egypt)

The top three were the only combinations to turn in double-clear rounds on the evening. Brown was the first to navigate the jump-off without fault, but he was forced to take a more conservative route with his less experienced 8-year-old. Genn, who won Sacramento’s (USA) World Cup qualifier in October, jumped ahead by nearly four seconds with an outstanding right turn to the jump-off’s second fence and a bold gallop down to the final obstacle. As the last to go, Nassar knew exactly what he had to do to win his second straight World Cup qualifier, and he executed, despite having a precarious rub two fences from home.

“I had the luck of the draw a little bit. I had the pole position coming in,” Nassar said. “It always helps when you know what you need to do, and I relish the pressure as well. Lordan can feel that, too; I was getting tingly walking in [the ring], and he really tried his heart out.”

Shifting Standings

Richard Spooner (USA) may have been kept off the podium, but he took over the lead in the west coast sub league standings of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League with his fourth-place finish aboard Quirado RC. He now boasts 49 points, one ahead of Eve Jobs (USA). Nassar moved up to third in the standings; he now boasts 46 points.

“[Quirado RC] is just knocking my socks off,” Spooner said. “He’s been unbelievable in the World Cup season. He’s a huge horse — he’s about 18.1, maybe 18.2 hands — but he somehow is still very elastic with his body. I just feel graced every time I get to ride him, because the power that you feel with that horse is absolutely awesome.”

Genn took over second in the east coast sub league standings, behind only Molly Ashe Cawley’s (USA) league leading 55 points. Genn has 47 points, one ahead of defending World Cup Champion Beezie Madden (USA).

“Bugatti is 12, and every year when I take him to a new level, and I think it is about as big as he can jump, he surprises me and makes it work,” Genn said. “Who knows what the future brings? I’m super proud of him.”

After a brief holiday, the North American League resumes in Guadalajara (MEX) on 26 January 2019.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Nassar and Lordan Repeat Longines Victory in Thermal

Nayel Nassar and Lordan. (FEI / Ashley Neuhof)

For the second year in a row — and third overall — Nayel Nassar (EGY) and his indelible mount Lordan led the victory gallop in the $100,000 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Thermal (USA).

Besting a jump-off field of five, Nassar and his 14-year-old Hanoverian gelding crossed the timers of Marina Azevedo’s (BRA) shortened course in 43.89 seconds. The duo narrowly edged Eve Jobs, who recorded the best World Cup finish of her career with her own Venue d’Fees des Hazalles; their time was 43.97 seconds. Lisa Carlsen (CAN) finished third aboard Parette after recording the winning time but pulling the rail at the final fence.

“I’m just thrilled with my horse and thrilled to be sitting here again!” — Nayel Nassar (EGY)

Nassar has been partnered with Lordan for more than seven years. In addition to winning last year’s event, the pair also topped the class in 2016. Nassar used his longtime partnership to his advantage, creating his own jump-off plan based off his horse’s quick, yet smaller, stride.

“I tried not to focus too much on what the other riders were doing,” Nassar said. “I know that Lordan is a very different kind of horse with a different kind of stride. I just wanted to know whether my jump-off pace was going to be fast enough or if I needed to take any extra risks.”

The pace proved to be just enough, resulting in a close, eight-hundredths of a second margin of victory.

“It ended up being a lot closer than I expected,” Nassar said, “but luckily we were on the right side of that today.”

Consistency Proves Key

With consistent, points-earning performances in Vancouver (CAN), Columbus (USA), Del Mar (USA) and Thermal, Jobs took over the lead in the west coast sub league standings of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ North American League with 48 points.

Should Jobs qualify to compete at Gothenburg (SWE) in April, it would be her first appearance in a World Cup Final.

“If everything goes as planned, and I can continue to feel comfortable competing at such a high level, I would be honored to go,” she said. “I’m very excited.”

Richard Spooner (USA), a 15-time World Cup Finals veteran, including last season, moved into second in the standings after finishing fourth in Thermal. He has 36 points, four ahead of Zazou Hoffman (USA), who won the World Cup qualifier at Del Mar (USA) in October.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Nassar and Lordan Shine Again with Second Longines Victory in Thermal

Photo: Nayel Nassar and Lordan. (FEI/Glen Burgess)

Madden’s Cross Country Trip More Than Worthwhile

Two years ago, Nayel Nassar (EGY) won the World Cup qualifier at Thermal (USA) with his then 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Lordan. In 2018, the partnership returned to form with a second victory in the desert, as the duo won the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup Jumping™ Thermal, the final leg of the west coast sub league of the North American League.

Six combinations cleared the Alan Wade (IRL) designed track in the first round, and all produced a second clear effort in the jump-off. Beezie Madden (USA) and Breitling LS led early with a time of 39.92 seconds, but Nassar and Lordan, who also won the World Cup qualifier at Wellington (USA) last season, sped past them by nine-tenths of a second, crossing the timers in 39.02 seconds. Mandy Porter (USA) and Milano, who won the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Sacramento (USA) in October, rounded out the top three with their 40.56-second time.

He’s such a trier,” Nassar said. “We know each other so well at this point, and we have a good partnership to get us through all the little intricacies in the courses.”

“He is such a trier! We have a good partnership to get us through all the little intricacies in the courses.” — Nayal Nassar (EGY)

Nassar said that Lordan’s naturally shorter stride might have played to his advantage in the jump-off, because he maintained a forward pace from the start.

“The first line was way more forward for me than anyone else,” Nassar said. “So, I was already faster there, and [also] probably on the turn back to the last line. I took a pretty big risk there. I jumped the double [from] right to left, and I could see all the tracks [from the other horses], and I was way inside there, and I just found the first shot out of the corner.”

After competing in Wellington last week, Madden made the cross-country journey from Florida to California to compete at Thermal. The trip proved worthwhile, because Madden’s runner-up finish jumped her from 11th to third in the east coast sub league standings of the North American League, which should put her safely in position for qualification to the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Paris (FRA) in April.

“I didn’t do that many World Cup [qualifiers] in the fall,” Madden said. I needed some more chances to get points. My plan might be to take him and one other [horse to Paris].”

The final leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League will take place on the east coast at Live Oak Plantation in Ocala (USA) on Sunday 18 March 2018.

By Catie Staszak

FEI Media Contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Nayel Nassar Speeds to Longines Victory on Lordan in Wellington

Nayel Nassar and Lordan. (FEI/Debra Jamroz)

Wellington, Florida, USA, 5 February 2017 – Showcasing their six-year partnership, Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Lordan successfully executed an aggressive track in a ten-horse jump off to win the $216,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Wellington.

The USA’s Laura Kraut finished in a close second aboard Zeremonie, while Spain’s Sergio Alvarez Moya and Arrayan slotted into the third position. With the win in Wellington, Nassar overtook Mexico’s Enrique Gonzalez in the Western Sub-League standings, earning the young, Egyptian rider an advantageous qualifying position for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in March.

“I thought the first round was quite big when I walked it,” Nassar said. “I was going to fit in extra strides throughout the course but I watched Lauren [Hough] go before me on a small horse [like Lordan] and they cruised right up there so I quickly changed my plan at the in gate.”

From a starting number of 40 entries, only a quarter of the field went clear in the first round over a challenging course built by Ireland’s Alan Wade. “I try to build something fair for the whole field,” Wade said at the close of the first round. He then predicted that a tight rollback in the jump off would be a deciding factor in separating the winner from the pack.

In the jump off, Nassar entered the outdoor turf field eighth in the final order, after watching Alvarez Moya deliver a solid double clear to knock USA’s Adrienne Sternlicht from the lead position. “I knew I had to make up time from [fence no.] 1 to 2,” said Nassar, who went on to boldly angle the latter, a large oxer off a bending line.

Crowd favourites and Olympians stacked the opening order, including Beezie Madden (USA), Ben Maher (GBR), Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), and Ian Millar (CAN). But the large, technical course forced rails to drop from these top names. And in the case of Michaels-Beerbaum, a crash through the final oxer – in a round that would have, otherwise, been clear – forced her elimination when she fell off Comanche.

Nassar (EGY) has taken hold of the top position in the Western Sub-League standings. In the Eastern Sub-League, Kent Farrington (USA) remains in the lead. The final events for the Western and Eastern Sub-Leagues will take place in Thermal California (11 February 2017) and in Ocala, Florida (12 March 2017), respectively.

“I actually think Lordan’s better indoors – he’s a little horse with a lot of impulsion,” said Nassar in regards to how his horse will handle the ring at this year’s World Cup™ Final. “Big jumps out of a corner aren’t an issue for him, and I heard that the Omaha ring isn’t too small, either. He really grows under the lights and will rise to the occasion.”

Full results: http://www.longinestiming.com/#!/equestrian/2017/1282/html/en/longinestiming/resultlist_102.html


Alan Wade (Course Designer): “I thought it was great sport this afternoon. At the start of the week we had a lot of athletes here so we had to cut from 100 down to 40 for today. The materials and the ground that I had to work with allowed me to [build for] five-star combinations here. Today, we saw thrills and spills, we saw excitement, and saw the skill of athletes and top horses. That’s why I love show jumping so much.”

Nayel Nassar (1st): “Lordan is just hitting his stride. I’ve always wanted to come back out here [to Florida]; I just needed a proper horse. I thought a couple of my sales horses were better suited for out here, so it made sense for the string that I have to be here. Also, there aren’t enough FEI events in California and I’m getting back up in the ranking list.

“Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this. I didn’t expect this. It’s his first show of the year. He’s such an incredible trier, and I know him like the back of my hand at this point. We jumped clear in the first round; we were just going to give it a go in the jump off. I was lucky enough to watch Sergio go right before me and I knew what we had to do and I just let it rip and he answered the questions.”

“In 2015, [Lordan] didn’t jump any classes [due to injury]. Honestly, it gives you a new sense of appreciation. I’m just happy to go in the ring with him now, whereas before, I just wanted to win with big ambitions. It just put things into perspective. He’s such an incredible partner and I’ve known him for so long, now I just feel blessed any time I get to go in the ring.”

Laura Kraut (2nd): “I really tried to [catch him]. Nayel was a student of mine in 2012 and he won the Under 25 Final on that horse. I knew he was going to be the one to try to beat. I even got to see him go and I couldn’t beat him.”

Sergio Alvarez Moya (3rd): “It was a fantastic show. My first time for me here. A pleasure for me to do so well. I give everybody thumbs up and hope we can ride here more often.”

Full Standings for Eastern Sub-League: http://results.hippodata.de/2017/1282/docs/longines_fei_world_cup_nal_esl_standings_after_wellington_2017.pdf

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By Esther Hahn

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Kent Farrington, Nayel Nassar Emerge as Champions on Day 2 of Longines Masters of LA

Top three, from right, Kevin Staut, Nayel Nassar and Samuel Parot.

LOS ANGELES (Oct. 1, 2016) – Day two of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles was nothing short of action-packed as Nayel Nassar and Lordan finished on top after besting the field of competitors in the Longines Speed Challenge. The duo raced against the clock and finished with an impressive time of 63.47 seconds. Kevin Staut and Samuel Parot rounded out the winner’s podium at second and third place with times of 63.90 and 65.18, respectively. Notable attendees who witnessed one of the fastest competitions in equestrian sports included Kaley Cuoco and Karl Kook, Nick Bateman, Rocky Barnes, Johnny and Laeticia Hallyday, Guillaume Canet and James Caan.

Unique to the Longines Masters Series, the Longines Speed Challenge emphasizes the swiftness of the horses as each fault is only penalized by 2 seconds as opposed to the standard 4. With a fallen rail meaning a lesser consequence, riders and their horses focus on getting through the course as fast as possible.

Longines, the Title Partner and Official Timekeeper of the event, facilitated a conversation between elite equestrian and daughter of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Georgina Bloomberg, and reigning Olympic slalom gold medal winner Mikaela Shiffrin. The two athletes discussed the importance of timekeeping and precision in show jumping and alpine skiing. Later, Shiffrin joined Bloomberg for a traditional walking of the course to learn how the equestrian athlete assesses and prepares for the exact spacing between and height of the jumps ahead of a class.

Riders and horses of all levels found success throughout the day at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles. Kent Farrington and Creedance took home the Champagne Barons de Rothschild Trophy in the afternoon’s CSI 5* Masters class. In the Prestige CSI 2* playing field, Jamie Barge and Luebbo claimed the Hermès Sellier Trophy, while Estelle Navet and Revann de Lojou claimed the Jonathan Adler Trophy. The National class finished with Sarah Ryan and Costa de Baugy Z winning the Grand Prix Relay Trophy, and Alyce Bittar besting her sister, Amelie Bittar, to take home the Just One Eye Trophy.

In addition to a weekend of world-class equestrian competition, guests of the Longines Masters of Los Angeles were also treated to the thrill of high-speed indoor polo when the La Martina Polo Exhibition took the ring. Hosted by La Martina, a leader in developing new high-tech equipment for the sport of Polo, with support from the Santa Barbara Polo Club, the fast pace and physical contact of the game, the strength and maneuverability of the horses, and the skill and accuracy of the players, provided an enthralling spectacle for all Longines Masters fans.

Also on Friday at the Longines Masters of Los Angeles, Santi Serra returned for an encore performance with his Sercam Show, demonstrating the beauty and grace of the horses as well as the bond and trust that they’ve cultivated. Throughout the day, guests were treated to live musical performances by the Pendleton Sisters, DJ Jeremie, and Reverend Tall Tree.

To purchase tickets for the remaining events of the 2016 Longines Masters of Los Angeles, visit www.longinesmasters.com/en/tcketing. Catch the American Leg of the Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping when the Longines Grand Prix and Longines Speed Challenge air on the CBS Sports Network on Monday, Oct. 3 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Prepare to be enthralled by world-class show jumping with the best horses in the world and champion riders.

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Nayel Nassar and Lordan Win Last West Coast Qualifier at HITS Thermal

Egypt’s Nayel Nassar and Lordan claim victory of the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping in Thermal. (FEI/Bret St Clair)

Thermal, California, 14 February 2016 – Under the desert sun, Egypt’s Nayel Nassar showcased his close partnership with longtime mount Lordan to win in the $100,000 Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Thermal CSI3*-W. In the seventh and final event on the West Coast, the 25-year-old rider guided the 12-year-old, Hanoverian gelding (Lordanos x Landor) to a double clear that bested a field of 20.

Competing over a sprawling course designed by Germany’s Martin Otto, the riders tested their skills and their horses’ scope against the demanding double and triple combinations, short distances, wide oxers, and problematic shadows. From walking the course, competitors noted that the course would jump with difficulties, which ultimately proved true when only three pairs finished the first round without faults.

“Today was the final World Cup qualifier on the West Coast so I designed the course to be more like one in an indoor because the Final is in an indoor,” said Otto. “We had top level riders and horses so I was really fine with the outcome of three in the jump off.”

Risky business

France’s Eric Navet and Catypso (Catoki x Calypso II) and the United States’ Jamie Barge and Luebbo (Lord Pezi x Stakkato) joined Nassar and Lordan in the final round. First to go, Navet had an uncharacteristic misjudgment of strides in the course’s first line, and the 9-year-old, Hanoverian gelding forced a rail down.

“All three of us were fighters, and I was lucky enough to go last, and Eric had to go first and he had to take a big risk,” said Nassar.

“I’ve ridden Catypso since he was 6,” said Navet. “He’s come a long way. It took a good time to get him to understand (jumping clear). He has unbelievable, with easy scope, and I feel like I can jump anything; he just needed to figure it out and improve his technique.

“I’m very proud of him and very satisfied to have such a great finish in a challenging course. I really feel like he did that easily (today) which makes me optimistic for the rest of the year and the rest of his career.”

On the rise

Next in the jump-off order, Barge continued to build her consistency in delivering clear rounds, leaving all the rails standing aboard her 11-year-old, Oldenburg gelding. A long gallop to the final Longines oxer also helped her take seconds off the clock to finish in 49.64 seconds, but a more conservative track left the door open.

“I worked with him a lot on his flatwork and his rideability in the summer,” said Barge about her partner for the last two years. “If I can get the rideability, he’s got the scope and the heart to do it. I’m excited that it’s come together.”

In November, the 29-year-old rider finished second to McLain Ward (USA) in the $100,000 Coachella Valley Classic at HITS Sunshine Series II CSI5*, also held at the HITS Desert Horse Park.

“My horse is a really good horse,” she added. “He’s a little bit spunky and has some attitude but that’s what I love about him. This was his first World Cup qualifier class, and it was the biggest class that I’ve seen here in three or four years that I’ve been coming (to Thermal).”

Back with a bang

But it was Nassar with his deceptively fast gelding that managed to stop the timers at 48.19 seconds, despite adding an extra stride in the second line. An inside turn and a faster gallop proved strategy enough to steal the lead and seal the victory.

“I only kind of saw Jamie go, but people said that she didn’t go inside the Longines oxer, going away from the gate, so I knew if I slipped inside there, I didn’t have to go crazy to catch her,” Nassar said. “I did six strides in the first line, eight in the second line; my horse has small stride. But then it was just a matter of jumping the last two jumps clean.”

So as the palm trees dotted the skyline and the California temperatures soared, he returned to the winter circuit showgrounds of his formative, junior years by making a big mark, after a year spent developing young horses and bringing Lordan back from an injury.

“I graduated Stanford in 2013, and I’ve been based in San Diego with my own horse business,” he said. “I’m mostly a horse trainer, with one client that I teach; I like to work with horses more than people. I’ve been lucky so far, with a great group of horses that I’ve been able to produce to the top level.

“We bought Lordan at the end of his 6-year-old year and started him as a 7-year-old. He’s coming off an injury. He was off almost all of last year. I’ve basically been without my best horse for an entire year, but I was able to build up the string behind him. Now he’s back and Thermal is just his second show. I took him to the World Cup qualifier in Mexico, and he was in great form. I was just rusty, and we had one down. He’s missed the sport just as much as I missed him.”

Although Nassar and Lordan have had a late start to the World Cup season, the pair still hopes to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, for Egypt. “I’ve gone twice already to the World Cup Final, and I hope to go again,” he said. “I really love Gothenburg. Lordan’s jumped there before, and it was unbelievable there.”

West Coast growth

The top three finishers are frequent visitors to the HITS Desert Horse Park, and President and Chief Executive Officer of HITS, Inc., Tom Struzzieri voiced his excitement for the area’s growth in the sport.

“It was super to have Longines here for the World Cup qualifier,” he said. “I was excited to have Longines here because the presence of sponsorship raises the bar, it raises our game. It was an afternoon class, but it had an electric, almost evening atmosphere. Hats off to Longines for being involved in the sport. It’s really exceptional. Great sponsors make for a great class.”

Struzzieri also expressed his high expectations for the coming years of the newly launched North American League and its stop in Thermal. “Especially next year, with the World Cup Final being in the United States and later in the season, that’s going to make for great sport here,” he added. “Those particulars are going to make next year very cool for us.”

Full results: bit.ly/1PKH53w

Facts and Figures

In the first round, 3 horses went clear, 3 had 4 faults, 4 had 8 faults, 5 had 12 faults, 1 had 13 faults, 1 had 17 faults, 1 was eliminated, and 1 retired.

The course designer was Martin Otto (GER).

The first round was contested over 13 obstacles with 16 jumping efforts. The jump-off round had 8 obstacles with 9 efforts. The maximum height was set at 1.60 meters.

Six nations were represented in the class: Canada (7 riders), Egypt (1 rider), France (1 rider), Germany (1 rider), Mexico (1 rider), and the United States (9 riders).

About HITS Thermal Desert Circuit

HITS Desert Circuit features eight weeks of USEF premier-rated hunters and jumpers with total prizes of nearly $3 million. Spanning nine weeks (with one off-week) in late January through mid-March, the circuit draws thousands of equestrians to the premier Southern California show grounds. The Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping in Thermal and the annual AIG $1 Million Grand Prix highlight this circuit, and in 2016 HITS will debut a $100,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby Week VIII.

HITS Desert Horse Park is located just 45 minutes from Palm Springs. After setting roots in Indio, California, in the mid-1990s, the shows moved to the HITS Desert Horse Park in Thermal in 2007. In 2013, HITS held its first AIG $1 Million Grand Prix, a tradition that continues today.

Official fan site – www.feiworldcup.com/NAL

The FEI has developed an official fan microsite for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League, enabling fans to find all the latest information for this brand new series under one digital umbrella.

Fans can keep close tabs on the athletes competing in this exciting series as they do their utmost to qualify for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, on 23-26 March 2016.

Tickets can be purchased through the fan site, with event-specific information uploaded regularly by the organisers of the events in this series for fan enjoyment.

Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping North American League

A total of 14 athletes from the new North American League will qualify for the prestigious Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping Final.

The top seven athletes from the East Coast US, top three from West Coast US and the two best-placed athletes from Canada and Mexico will qualify for the Final, alongside winners of the 13 other leagues from around the world.

The North American League boasts a minimum of US $2.4 million prize money across the series, and offers the best Jumping athletes from North America and around the world the chance to qualify for the jackpot of more than US $1.4 million (€1.3 million) on offer annually at the Final.

The new league was launched by Beezie Madden, the most decorated US female equestrian athlete of all time, American Gold Cup winner and FEI Solidarity Ambassador Jessica Springsteen, and Hannah Selleck, team and individual gold medalist at young rider level and one of the sport’s up-and-coming stars. Full launch release here: https://goo.gl/kCIsyW.

Share images, video, experiences using hashtag #FEIWorldCupNAL.

By Esther Hahn

FEI Media Contacts:

Ruth Grundy
Manager Press Relations
Email: ruth.grundy@fei.org
Tel: +41 787 506 145

Shannon Gibbons
Manager Press Relations
+41 78 750 61 46

Nayel Nassar Tops Two-Horse Jump-Off, Wins $33,500 HITS Desert Classic on Lordan

©Flying Horse Photography. Nayel Nassar and Lordan jump to a win in the $33,500 FEI HITS Desert Classic.

THERMAL, CA (February 21, 2014) – It all came down to the gallop in the $33,500 FEI HITS Desert Classic, presented by Zoetis, at HITS Thermal on Thursday. With only two horses in the jump-off, Nayel Nassar put the speed of his nine-year-old Hanoverian gelding Lordan to the test and bested Bliss Heers by fractions of a second.

Nassar of Santa Clara, California represents the colors of Egypt and secured a jump-off in the HITS Desert Classic after chasing down Heers’ early clear in the first round. They would eventually be the lone two to advance.

Heers, who hails from Olivenhain, California, recently returned to American soil after riding in Europe for a time, and was the first to prove that the course designed by Mexico City’s Manuel Esparza could be jumped. She piloted Cesar, a 12-year-old gelding, for Bridgeside Farms, LLC. Heers and Nassar topped a field totaling 24 over a track of 13 obstacles and raced a tight time allowed of 80 seconds.

“It didn’t walk big – was fairly technical – but a tight time can make any track difficult,” said Nassar. “I was a little surprised that there were only two clears, but I’m not complaining.”

The clock indeed proved to be the trick as seven were kept from the jump-off with a single time fault. Heers went clean in the third go, while Nassar prompted a jump-off from the 19th position in the original order. In the jump-off, Heers set an immediate Great American Time to Beat of 40.28 seconds, putting all the pressure on Nassar and Lordan. Nassar jumped the first six fences of the course, including a double combination, relatively conservatively, but left nothing to chance in the last line.

From fence six, a long gallop stood between Nassar and the final jump. “When I landed, I looked at the clock and saw that I only had ten seconds to get to the other end of the ring, so I put the pedal to the metal,” he admitted.

Lordan extended his stride, jumped the final fence and landed in 39.48 seconds for the win. “He is a very quick horse and once I put him in gear, he set his eyes on the fence and that was all it took,” said Nassar. “He is a small, compact horse, so he sits on his hind end really quickly and I had no problem getting him back after the gallop.”

Cheers exploded from the on looking crowd as the pair’s nail-biting effort to the last fence paid off, delivering Nassar the win and Heers second. With the fastest of the time-fault rounds over the original course, Ashlee Bond Clarke of Hidden Hills, California rode the Little Valley Farms’ mare Chela LS to third. Also with one time fault apiece, Jenna Margaret Thompson of Calgary, Alberta jumped her own Webster to fourth, while Mexico’s Enrique Gonzalez capped the top five on his own Quilebo De Tillard.

With the momentum they gained in the HITS Desert Classic, Nassar and Lordan will jump in Saturday’s FEI World Cup Qualifier, but Nassar admits that the pressure is off. “We are locked into the World Cup Finals already, but I obviously want to be competitive in every class,” he said.

Along with his FEI World Cup goals, Nassar is also pointing Lordan to million-dollar glory. The pair is hoping for a repeat of last year’s win in the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix in Saugerties, New York when they return to the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix on March 16. Nassar also announced that he may even have his eye on the HITS Triple Crown of Show jumping – he and Lordan plan to make their way to Ocala, Florida the week after the AIG Million to jump in the Great American $1 Million Grand Prix on March 24.

“We have been aiming for the Millions all circuit and Lordan has the experience, but I just have to remind myself to ride them like any other classes,” said Nassar in reaction to the possibility of a second, and maybe third million-dollar victory. “I didn’t jump him too much the first half of the circuit and I plan to keep him really fresh during second half as well.”

World Cup qualifying will return to HITS Thermal on Saturday with the $50,000 Purina Animal Nutrition Grand Prix CSI-W2*, presented by Zoetis. Also, with only three weeks left to secure a spot, the race for the AIG $1 Million Grand Prix is on.

About Zoetis
Building on 60 years of experience as Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis delivers quality medicines and vaccines, complemented by diagnostics products and genetics tests and supported by a range of services. They work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals in ways they find truly relevant. Zoetis produces a comprehensive range of safe and effective products, including equine vaccines, dewormers and sedative analgesics, to help professionals and individual horse owners keep their animals healthy. Both veterinarians and horse owners know and trust the Zoetis will help their horses live longer, healthier lives.

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