By Catie Staszak for CSI Greenwich
Nayel Nassar (EGY) was not expecting to jump-off in the $150,000 CSI3* CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix of Greenwich, the feature event of the inaugural CSI Greenwich Presented by ShowPlus® at Greenwich Polo Club.
In fact, after he and top mount Igor van de Wittemoere pulled the back rail jumping into a technical double combination midway through the course, he picked up the pace, looking to be a fast four-faulter.
“In the end, I didn’t really need to do that!” he said.
In a rare outcome, no combination could clear the first round of Alan Wade’s (IRL) 1.55m track, resulting in a jump-off of nine riders on four faults. Nassar ultimately took the win, crossing the timers of the short track with a clear round in 41.23 seconds.
Alex Matz (USA) and Erdento van de Leeuwerk finished second (41.49 seconds), with Nicky Galligan (IRL) and Castelissimo third (42.44).
“It was kind of crazy! I don’t think I’ve ever jumped off on 4 faults before,” Nassar said. “I think a lot of people were in the same boat in this class. It was really surprising, but it was a tough course.”
Wade set for the occasion, as elite show jumping sport took center stage for the first time in the history of the famed Greenwich Polo Club. Nassar, fresh off an appearance in the Tokyo Olympic Games, took the win with his Olympic mount; he and the 13-year-old Belgian Warmblood gelding have been partnered for the last year and a half.
“He’s been amazing. We took him to Tokyo, and then he came back home, took a little break, and went up to Spruce Meadows, which was actually a great prep for a show like this with a big grass field,” Nassar explained. “He was awesome up there. This is kind of his last bigger show of the year.”
Nassar had an especially large cheering section in Greenwich. The 29-year-old is set to marry fellow show jumper Jennifer Gates (USA) next week, and much of his family, in town for the occasion, came out to watch him compete.
“They all wanted to come up here and support,” he said. “I was surprised. I didn’t think they’d want to venture out of New York City to come watch me jump, but they’re an amazing crew. They’re supportive. Both my parents and my brother are here, so it’s a special win today.”
$150,000 CSI3* CaptiveOne Advisors Grand Prix of Greenwich 1.55m
Horse Name/ Rider Name/ Nationality / Owner / Faults / Time
1. Igor van de Wittemoere / Nayel Nassar / EGY / Evergate Stables, LLC / 4/0 41.23
2. Erdento van de Leeuwerk / Alex Matz / USA / Horseshoe Trail Farm, LLC / 4/0 41.49
3. Castelissimo / Nicky Galligan / IRL / Guardian Stables, LLC / 4/0 42.44
4. Jet Blue / Carly Anthony / USA / Portofino Horses, LLC / 4/0 43.57
5. El Conde / Mark Bluman / COL / Francisco Pasquel / 4/4 37.78
6. Manhattan / Georgina Bloomberg / USA / Gotham Enterprizes, LLC / 4/4 42.72
7. Balotelli 5 / Matthew Boddy / GBR / Gotham Enterprizes, LLC / 4/4 44.31
8. Fair Play / Jonathan Corrigan / IRL / Andrea Vogel / 4/8 41.01
9. Locato van het Kapelhof / Christian Coyle / IRL / Christian Coyle 4/8 45.16
10. Biblou du Perron / Steven Bluman / ISR / Steven Bluman / 5 79.03