The Longines Masters of Hong Kong has just finished and the EEM World teams are already busy with the next stage of the Series: the Longines Masters of New York, from 25 to 28 April 2019, at the NYCB LIVE Nassau Coliseum. The event will obviously feature the two flagship events specific to the series: the Longines Speed Challenge and the Longines Grand Prix, but New York, like Paris, will host a very special event...
This event is the Riders Masters Cup, a young intercontinental championship that has pitted the United States (Riders USA) against Europe (Riders Europe) since December 2017. The Longines Masters of New York will host the fourth edition of this Riders Masters Cup, which has been dominated since its inception by the Riders Europe team. Riders USA intend to reduce that «3-0» score on April 27th at the NYCB LIVE Nassau Coliseum in Long Island. They will have the home team advantage in front of an audience that is committed to their mission: they are more than just spectators, they are real supporters who, supported their team with great enthusiasm last year. With world No. 2, McLain Ward, another top 10 rider in Beezie Madden, and a total of five riders in the top 25, it is obvious that for this fourth round, the World Champions will have some serious artillery to combat the Riders Europe team.
The latter team keeps an essential asset: their team leader. Even though Switzerland’s Philippe Guerdat has “transferred” from France to Brazil, he remains leader of the Riders Europe team: «At the launch of the Riders Masters Cup it was discussed that the role of team leader should be «rotating» but Christophe Ameeuw asked me to remain and I will happily because, besides the fact that I appreciate Christophe and his efforts developing the sport, the challenge is interesting. The concept is growing, even if it is still new and needing some improvements, but it is a competition that I believe in.» And it is true that the champion Olympic coach played an essential role in the Riders Europe team’s first three victories, both in terms of his selections and the strategy deployed during the competition. This was particularly evident in New York last year, where the Riders Europe team dominated throughout the event, winning the match in the last duel in which Philippe Guerdat lined up Harrie Smolders and his fast Cas 2 against McLain Ward and HH Gigi’s Girl. The Riders USA team were still leading 7-6, but after Smolders’ lightning fast round, they lost 7-8. While his team was playing outside, Philippe Guerdat’s smart choice had paid off! See you on April 27 at the Nassau Coliseum for a fourth round that promises to be exciting.
The Riders Masters Cup: ID sheet
In line with major global sporting challenges: Launched in Paris in December 2017, the Riders Masters Cup has taken on a new dimension as a major intercontinental sporting challenge. Ultimately, the Riders Masters Cup is destined to join in the public conscious the great team battles between the continents such as the America’s Cup in sailing, the Ryder Cup in golf, or the Davis Cup and Fed Cup in tennis. Of course, for the time being, theRiders Masters Cup is still writing its history, but from the first three editions, the event has fascinated audiences in Paris and New York.
The match between the two great World showjumping powers: Whether you’re looking back at the past season or further back in this sport, Europe and the United States have won most of the major team titles: the Olympic Games, World Championships or NationsCup finals. While the United States won the Tryon World Championship (USA) last year, the OldContinent immediately took its revenge in Barcelona with a 100% European podium (Belgium, France and Ireland). The Riders Masters Cup, created in 2016 by EEM and EEF (the European Equestrian Federation), promotes this relentless battle between the two equestrian powers.
The composition of the teams is entrusted to two title-holding team leaders: Robert Ridland, the current coach of the United States, while for Europe, this role has been entrusted to the head of the French gold medal team in Rio, and now the Brazilian team coach, Philippe Guerdat. The World Champion coach against the Olympic Champion coach!Team leaders announce their short-lists about a month before the event, while the final team of five riders, including one under 25 years of age, is announced the day before the event. But the role of team leader goes far beyond selection alone. They have the mandate of strategist, choosing the starting order of their riders, then, depending on the results of the first round, the winning coach gets first choice of which rider he will line up against which opponent, and can even change his riders’ horses. A crucial role as a strategist which undoubtedly influences the result, as we saw in New York where the match was tight!
A very simple concept with simple rules: A draw determines the composition of the first five duels. In the first round (Table A-against the clock), the winning competitor scores 10 points for his team, and the defeated competitor, if they have completed the course, will score 5 points. At the end of the first round, the team leaders reset the duels, with the team temporarily in the lead getting the benefit of choosing first. In the second round (Table C-each fallen pole adds 3 seconds to the competitor’s time), the winners score 20 points, the losers 10. Duels whose scores are immediately obvious and displayed in real time on a lit scoreboard just like during a basketball or football match. For spectators it is easy to be in the game: they become team supporters, loudly encouraging their riders and waving their team flags... #WaveYourFlag !