Darragh Kenny in action
For the fourth time in-a-row, the European team has beaten USA in the Riders Masters Cup, this time in New York, where Offaly's Darragh Kenny played a starring role by winning both of his matches.
Similar to Golf's Ryder Cup, the Riders Masters Cup sees top stars from Europe battle against USA's finest at alternating venues in Europe and the United States. Europe, captained by Philippe Guerdat, had come out on top in the previous three competitions, including at the Longines Masters of Paris in December.
The Riders Masters Cup pits five-member teams from Europe and the United States in a head-to-head battle. Robert Ridland, team captain of Riders USA, put together a strong team to face off on home soil against Riders Europe, for the fourth edition of the Riders Masters Cup at the Longines Masters of New York.
In what has quickly become a crowd favorite, each captain picks a rider to go head-to-head with a rider from the opposing team. Strategy plays a large part, as each captain has the ability to change the match-ups for the second round and can even go so far as to switch out a rider’s horse for a fresh one.
Among the five first round battles, Darragh Kenny aboard Sweet Tricia, helped Europe to take the lead at the halfway stage when he defeated Laura Chapot (USA) with Chandon Blue.
Kenny was again pitted against Chapot in the second round and one again the Irish rider came out on top to gain maximum points for Europe, who retained the trophy with a final score of final score of 130 points for Riders Europe, versus 90 points for Riders USA.
“I am proud of this group,” said captain Guerdat of his Riders Europe team. “I was able to create a real team spirit since the beginning of the week; we have all been eating together, for example.”
“It seems like it was a pretty big margin and, in some ways, it was, but with just a couple things going differently we could have won it,” affirmed Ridland. “It’s not fun losing. I don’t enjoy losing and none of us were particularly happy about that but the format, I think, is tremendous. It’s unique and we will be back again in Paris and we hope for a different result.”
“For the sake of the competition, it would be nice if Riders USA manage to win in the Riders Masters Cup,” retorted Guerdat. “But for that to happen, Riders Europe will have to change the team leader – I like to win too much!”