Ireland’s O’Shea recovers to win Hampton Classic feature

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Juan-Carlos Capelli, vice president of Longines, and Hampton Classic Executive Director Shanette Cohen present a Longines timepiece to Paul O'Shea, winner of the $40,000 Longines Cup at the Hampton Classic.
Juan-Carlos Capelli, vice president of Longines, and Hampton Classic Executive Director Shanette Cohen present a Longines timepiece to Paul O’Shea, winner of the $40,000 Longines Cup at the Hampton Classic. © McMillen

Ireland’s Paul O’Shea recovered from a devastating crash in Friday’s grand prix at New York’s Hampton Classic to win the $40,000 Longines Cup on Skara Glen’s Dolphin on Saturday.

His faultless jump-off round, in 41.52 seconds, handily eclipsed Hayley Barnhill on Zephire (O faults/42.51 seconds) and Molly Ashe-Cawley on Cocq A Doodle (0 faults/43.86 seconds). O’Shea was the final starter on his 10-year-old stallion.

During Friday’s $50,000 Douglas Elliman Grand Prix Qualifier, O’Shea fell with Skara Glen’s Sienna and was eliminated. But O’Shea, an international competitor who has lived in Wellington, Florida, for some years, pushed the crash to the back of his mind as he prepared for the Longines Cup.

“I didn’t want to dwell on it. It’s the best thing to get it out of your mind,” he said. “It actually took me a long, long time to learn to go forward after I made a mistake. But now I’ve learned that, if I make a mistake, I say to myself, ‘I know something good is going to happen next’.”

And victory in the Longines Cup was made even sweeter when O’Shea spotted his aunt, uncle and cousin cheering with all their might at ringside after he’d galloped through the finish line. “They live in New York, and I didn’t know they were coming,” said O’Shea. “They were here last year too, but they said they didn’t want to disturb me before the class. But I could hear them when I finished!”

For his victory, O’Shea won a Longines timepiece, presented by Juan-Carlos Capelli, vice-president and head of international marketing at Longines.

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