Show Jumping

Shane Sweetnam Will Never Be Late Again

Shane Sweetnam’s watch collection grew by leaps and bounds last week.

And also via leaps and bounds.

The Irish show jumper won not one, not two, but four new Longines watches last week at the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, NY.

The boon in wrist wear culminated from Sweetnam’s victories in the Friday’s $75,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier and Saturday’s $70,000 LONGINES Cup. He was awarded a third watch (and $60,000) for his second place finish in Sunday’s $300,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix. And he earned a fourth one for capturing the $30,000 LONGINES Rider Challenge, the second of his career.

Which is to say Sweetnam had a rather successful week in the Hampton’s.

While the European team gold medalist proved the most consistent rider of this year’s event, the Grand Prix went to three-time Olympic medalist McLain Ward (USA) and HH Gigi’s Girl.

Only five of the 34 combinations on the start list produced fault-less performances in the first round of the Michel Vaillancourt (CAN)-designed 1.60m track.

Ward and the 10-year-old grey mare set the time to beat at a blistering 39.32 seconds, letting up only for a split second on route to the final fence.

“The line from the Jaguar vertical to the last jump ended up being a steady seven strides,” Ward explained.

“But it was one of those lines where although the seven seemed steady, almost holding, doing six strides would become kamikaze. I also didn’t know what quality the jump would be off the full rollback to the Jaguar. Gigi slipped just a tiny bit on the tight rollback turn she made to the Jaguar fence, which actually worked out perfectly because it meant I could support and push up to it. However, she is young and still a bit inexperienced. I knew I had done a lot already and heading down that last line, I had to take a bit off the gas pedal.”

Rio Olympic team silver medalist Lucy Davis and Caracho followed, leaving all the jumps up, but were unable to catch Ward’s time. They stopped the clock at 42.47 seconds to settle for third.

Last to jump, Sweetnam and a bucking Main Road crossed through the timers with no jumping faults in a time of 41.24 seconds to take second place and double their week’s watch tally.

Both Sweetnam and Ward will be looking to add to their time wear collections later this month when they compete for their respective countries at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC. Tick tock.