Aaron Vale Races to Victory in Saturday’s $74,000 LONGINES Cup at the 2022 Hampton Classic Horse Show
More Hunter and Jumper Champions Named on Classic’s Penultimate Day
Americans once again topped the leaderboard on Saturday at the Hampton Classic for the $74,000 LONGINES Cup, where Aaron Vale piloted Thinks Like A Horse’s 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Elusive to one of only two double-clear rounds in 37.770 seconds to clinch the win.
The Hampton Classic, August 28-September 4, is one of the world’s most prestigious horse shows, offering more than $1 million in prize money during a full schedule featuring competitors at every level from young children in leadline to Olympic, World, and World Cup Champions. The Classic also has competitions for riders with disabilities.
Thirty-four horse-and-rider combinations representing nine countries tackled Alan Wade’s (IRL) winding 16-effort, 1.50m course. Only seven made it to the jump-off, where Katie Dinan (USA) had the fastest time of 37.270 seconds. Unfortunately, her mount Atika Des Hauts Vents knocked a rail toward the end of the shortened track, landing them behind Vale and second-place finisher Molly Ashe Cawley (USA).
“When McLain (Ward) put in a good round but had the last fence down, I was looking for a target to run after, and it was almost like that target had been taken away,” Vale said of his predecessor in the jump-off. “It made me think twice about how fast I could try to go. Of course, I know Molly is very fast, and Katie’s little horse is just a rocket. I wanted to be fast enough where even if I had one down, I could leave the ring on top. I had a rub at the Jaguar fence, and luckily it stayed up. Then that time held up to win the class.”
Cawley immediately followed Vale’s round with a clear of her own aboard Louisburg Farm’s 11-year-old Zangersheide mare Berdien, but the pair was just 0.06 seconds shy of the time, tripping the timers in 37.830 seconds.
“I was pretty sure I didn’t have it when I finished, so I didn’t really need to look at the clock,” Cawley said. “I’m always a tenth of a second slower than Aaron is, it seems, but today was my own fault. I had a different striding down the first line than everybody else, which cost me in the end. But my mare was amazing as always. I’m very proud of her, and it’s a hard-earned second place.”