Riders Masters Cup to Debut at New York as Europe Plots to Defend Title

4 April 2018 - EEM World

It’s evident in everything from the international ranking list to results around the world—the two powerhouses of show jumping are the United States and Europe. So when the Riders Masters Cup debuted last December inParis, France, with an intriguing new concept that matched the two groups of riders against each other.

Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland for the USA, and Philippe Guerdat for Europe, the Riders Masters Cup takes on a match race, two-round competition after five riders for each side are carefully selected. Points are hard to come by, with the winner of each match up in round one earning a single point. When they return for the second and final course over a speed track, the winner earns two points.

“I will have to create the same motivation as in Paris to overcome the Riders USA team,” says Chef d’Equipe Philippe Guerdat when asked about his plan for the upcoming Riders Masters Cup in New York.

At the Paris leg, Europe overcame the USA, but it went right down to the wire in the last round. If not for an early tack malfunction on the USA’s side in round one, the result could have been very different.

“The biggest challenge in Paris was staying calm when the American riders took pole position in front of the European riders,” Guerdat adds. “But I believe that we didn’t stop until we beat the Americans. Now, knowing that nothing is set in stone in this competition, we need to be very focused until the very end.”

Certain that Ridland will change some of his riders for the New York showdown, Guerdat will be planning to respond accordingly. There will be more of a challenge for Europe, as home field advantage switches to the USA. However, Europe’s advantage lies in its rider roster: Olympic Gold Medalist Kevin Staut, European Champions Peder Fredricson and Harrie Smolders, and young star Olivier Philippaerts are just some of the riders Guerdat will be able to rely on.

All Ridland need do is respond with similar firepower. And with McLain Ward, Beezie Madden, and Adrienne Sternlicht slated to take part, it’s a sure bet that neither side will be lacking in horsepower.

The Riders Masters Cup takes place on April 28, 2018 alongside the Longines Masters of New York at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.