Local Laura Bowery Wins Big on Hampton Classic Opening Day

Bridgehampton's Laura Bowery and Royal Expectation won the Marders Hunter Local Hunter Derby on Opening Day of the Hampton Classic
Bridgehampton's Laura Bowery and Royal Expectation won the Marders Hunter Local Hunter Derby on Opening Day of the Hampton Classic, Photo: ©The Book LLC

The 42nd Annual Hampton Classic Horse Show concluded Opening Day Sunday, August 27, with some big winners, including Bridgehampton’s own Laura Bowery in the Local Day $10,000 Marders Local Hunter Derby.

Other riders who brought their A game were rewarded financially in Sunday’s main event, with all fifteen fault-free rounds finishing in the money in the $30,000 Boar’s Head Jumper Challenge presented by Dan’s Papers.


Great Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire topped the leaderboard of the 60 starters in the one-round, 1.40-meter speed class riding Lady Maria BH, an 11-year-old Holsteiner mare owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC, who has been Derbyshire’s partner for just two years. The pair shaved seconds off their time by leaving out strides to finish in a time of 58.467 seconds.

“I had the advantage of going quite late in the order, so I was able to watch a lot of the class,” Derbyshire said. “There were a lot of options to leave strides out down the lines, and Lady Maria has such a large stride. That’s always an advantage. She’s a fast horse, and she’s very versatile. I can take her in a speed class, and she will try her heart out, or I can take her in a little bigger class and she never tries to not jump the jumps. You can turn up and you know she’s going to try and make it to the other side.”

Amanda Derbyshire tops the $30,000 Boar's Head Jumper Challenge
Amanda Derbyshire tops the $30,000 Boar’s Head Jumper Challenge, Photo: ©The Book LLC

Also drawing the advantage of a late starting position was second-place finisher Brianne Goutal of Royal Palm Beach, Florida, with the 21 year-old Onira owned by Remarkable Farms. The crowd gave a resounding cheer watching Goutal cross the timers in 59.121 seconds, in honor of this being Onira’s final competition before retirement.

Goutal could not help but smile when asked about retiring him when he still finishes so well in the top competitions. “I guess it is bitter sweet,” she said. “He’s done so many big classes, he has won so many classes and everything I did first I did them with him. The equitation finals, my first grand prix, my first World Cup Finals. I’m really proud I’ve had him for so long, he is 21 and retiring on a day like today where it’s against 60 horses and still has a real chance of contending. He has really been an honor to have.”

Ireland’s Richie Moloney with Slieveanorra rounded out the top three hot on Goutal’s heels with a time of 59.246 seconds.

Sunday’s Local Day also hosted the $10,000 Marders Local Hunter Derby, in the beautiful Anne Aspinall main hunter ring with 48 horse-and-rider combinations completing the initial scored round. The course was then adjusted and the top 12 were invited back in reverse order of standing for the second “handy” round. Scores were averaged to achieve the final results.

Laura Bowery and Catrine Golia’s Royal Expectation ended the second round as the final pair in the ring, having posted the morning’s high-score: 91 points.

By late afternoon and the second round, the sun had shifted, throwing substantial shadows across the course, which proved the undoing of more than one pair, but Bowery and Royal Expectation prevailed.

“For me, the biggest challenge in riding the hunters well, versus the jumpers, is in the precision, and staying calm and making it all look seamless,” Bowery said after an emotional awards presentation and victory gallop. “In the first round he just jumped outrageously well. He was very relaxed but really put a 10 into every jump,” she continued. “The horse that was ahead of me was a beautiful jumper and had a great round with an 89. So to get a 91 in the first round was pretty cool. All the horses were spooky in the second round with the light, but I made an inside turn to the birch jump which no-one else made and I think my trot jump was amazing. Those are usually hard for him as he was a jumper until just two years ago.”

Monday’s itinerary features some very special events including the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities, presented by Bridgehampton National Bank; and Animal Adoption Day presented by Gotham North Enterprizes.

The Hampton Classic Horse Show continues every day from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. through Sunday, September 3 at 240 Snake Hollow Road in Bridgehampton.

For those who can’t make it to the show grounds, complimentary live webcasts of all Grand Prix ring competitions air on the Hampton Classic website, hamptonclassic.com, produced by ShowNet. In addition, WVVH-TV, the official Long Island television station of the Hampton Classic, broadcasts up to five hours of competition and highlights each day during the event. These broadcasts are also available online at wvvh.tv. Most of the Classic’s other classes are also available on ShowNet.biz.

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