Megan McDermott and Nintendo Play To Win in $75,000 CWD Grand Prix

The Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Stadium at HITS Hudson Valley in Saugerties, New York, was abuzz with excitement on the morning of Saturday, June 1, as athletes geared up to give it their all in the week’s $75,000 CWD Grand Prix. The day’s highlight event was the second in a series of weekly grands prix throughout the 2024 Hits-on-the-Hudson spring and summer circuit, but already saw many top-tier horse-and-rider combinations, including U.S. rider Megan McDermott, who piloted Nintendo to the victory.

Megan McDermott and Nintendo. Photo by ESI Photography

Martin Otto (GER) designed an intricate first-round track that managed to only advance seven of the original 23 pairings into the jump-off. McDermott and Counter Balance LLC’s gelding earned the lion’s share of the prize money as they crossed the finishing timers a blazing two seconds ahead of the closest competitor in 43.90 seconds. 

“I thought the course was great,” explained McDermott. “It was the exact right level, and I thought the designer was smart because he offered a lot of options, but if you committed to a plan, it was easy.

“He’s a really fast horse but he used to be quite spooky,” she continued of the 10-year-old Oldenburg gelding (Nintender x Chaco Blue). “Now he’s just getting so good at looking for the jump and not spooking at it that he can really be neat in the turns. He is the best horse in the world; I love him so much.” 

According to McDermott, the partnership had unique beginnings, but three years later it has proven to be worth the challenge. 

“Daniel [Bluman] sent him to me from Europe and said, ‘I think this horse is for you. It’s going to be a great partnership and it’s going to be really hard for you,’” she detailed. “He told me I was going to fall off a lot of times, but also win a lot of classes!”

Ireland’s Christian Coyle and his own Ma Pomme De Tamerville, a 12-year-old Belgian Warmblood mare (Deauville Van T L x Contendro II), jumped into second place with a time of 45.09 seconds. David Raposa (USA) rounded out the podium with Redfield Farm’s Lingote De Oro RFB, an eight-year-old KWPN gelding by Kannan, as the pair landed just slightly behind the pace in 45.41 seconds. 

McDermott’s grand prix win piggybacked off a third-place finish with her superstar gelding in the $15,000 STX Open Speed Series, which featured during Friday’s competition. Doubling up on second-place finishes, Coyle also took second in the speed class with Christian Coyle Show Stables’s 16-year-old KWPN gelding (Upgrade x Stakkato), Dekato. The $15,000 STX Open Speed Series win ultimately went to fellow Irishman Stephen Moore and Oakland Ventures LLC’s eight-year-old Westphalian gelding (Vancouver D’Auvray x Diarado), Vico G. 

Stephen Moore and Vico G. Photo by ESI Photography

Show jumping action will conclude on Sunday, June 2, for the second week of the HITS-on-the-Hudson series. For more information please visit www.showmanagementsystem.com