Girl Power: US Team claims the world-famous Aga Khan Trophy – Nations Cup in a historic win

The coveted Aga Khan Trophy was won in an impressive display of girl power by the all-female American equestrian team who finished with no faults.

The trophy is of particular importance to the history of horse racing in this country illustrating as it does in a single object both the pivotal role of the Aga Khan’s family in their patronage of the sport and Dublin Horse Show’s leading role in European and International equestrian sports.

The all-female American team celebrate after winning the coveted the Aga Khan Trophy (center image) at the Dublin Horse Show.
The all-female American team celebrate after winning the coveted the Aga Khan Trophy (center image) at the Dublin Horse Show.

 

This was the first all-female team triumph in the 91-year history of Nations Cup Jumping competition for the world-famous Aga Khan Cup at the Dublin Horse Show in Dublin, Ireland.

 

“It’s our view that the Aga Khan [Trophy] is the greatest trophy in our sport …

 

We said at the beginning of the year this was one of the shows we are bringing our “A” team.”

 

– Robert Ridland, Team USA chef d’equipe

US team's chef d’equipe Robert Ridland holds the Aga Khan Cup. <br>From left to right: Laura Kraut, Lillie Keenan, chef d’equipe Robert Ridland, Lauren Hough, Beezie Madden triumphed in the FEI Nations Cup Dublin (image credit: Christoph Taniere)
US team’s chef d’equipe Robert Ridland holds the Aga Khan Cup.
From left to right: Laura Kraut, Lillie Keenan, chef d’equipe Robert Ridland, Lauren Hough, Beezie Madden triumphed in the FEI Nations Cup Dublin (image credit: Christoph Taniere)

“There is no feeling like winning the Nations Cup [Aga Khan Trophy].

 

I train with Cian O’Connor and I study history of science at Harvard …”

 

– Lillie Keenan, winning US team rider

 

Aug 11, 2017 – 7:59 PM
Dublin, Ireland.

Edited Press Release

The all-female American team, from left to right: Lillie Keenan, Lauren Hough and Laura Kraut holding the Aga Khan Trophy, and Elizabeth Madden celebrate after winning the nations cup at the Dublin Horse Show in the RDS. (Image credit: Damien Eagers)
The all-female American team, from left to right: Lillie Keenan, Lauren Hough and Laura Kraut holding the Aga Khan Trophy, and Elizabeth Madden celebrate after winning the nations cup at the Dublin Horse Show in the RDS. (Image credit: Damien Eagers)

The 144th Dublin Horse Show is one of the most respected and best-known equestrian events in the world, the show has 132 classes.

Eight teams competed for the Aga Khan Trophy: Ireland, France, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the US. World rider ranking points are at stake for eight of the 14 international showjumping competitions, culminating with the Longines Grand Prix of Ireland on Sunday.

Girl Power

An all female US team of four leading riders made history by winning the Nations Cup event at the Dublin Horse Show yesterday to take home the coveted gold Aga Khan Trophy.

Laura Kraut, Harvard student Lillie Keenan, Lauren Hough and Beezie Madden were magnificent in their accuracy and horsemanship as they gave an exhibition of pure brilliance to win on a zero score. They made history as the first ever women’s team to win the Aga Khan Cup.

Captain Mark Phillips, former husband of Princess Anne, was watching in the wings as his partner of five years Lauren Hough produced two stunning clear rounds with Ohlala.

 

 

The US team celebrate winning the Aga Khan Trophy in the FEI Nations Cup, at the RDS in Dublin. (Image credit: Alan Betson via The Irish Times)
The US team celebrate winning the Aga Khan Trophy in the FEI Nations Cup, at the RDS in Dublin. (Image credit: Alan Betson via The Irish Times)

There is so much history and prestige that goes with the Aga Khan Cup at the Dublin Horse Show.

Moved to tears by the US win, team chef d’equipe Robert Ridland said his riders won the most important Nations Cup event in the world and had a strategy to do it.

“We said at the beginning of the year this was one of the shows we are bringing our “A” team to. It’s our view that the Aga Khan is the greatest trophy in our sport,” said U.S. chef d’equipe Robert Ridland. “And more than that there are many ways to win a Nations Cup, sometimes you get lucky, but today in my view there was no luck. These four riders did an unbelievable job!”

The greatest horse show in the world

The five-day Dublin Horse Show, first held on the grounds of Leinster House in 1864 to foster the equine industry in Ireland, it remains true to this founding mission.

Some 1,600 horses and ponies will compete this week at the Royal Dublin Society’s iconic Ballsbridge complex in 132 classes and competitions, which will have close to €1m in prize money.

Dublin is hailed as one of the top three equestrian shows in the world and has one of the largest prize funds of any international equestrian event.

RDS chief executive Michael Duffy described the event as “one of the great horse shows in the world.”

“You’ve got the tradition of the Aga Khan, you’ve got the excitement of the Puissance …

 

It’s just a great time, because we’ve over 1,600 horses and 100,000 people over the five days.

 

– Michael Duffy, RDS Chief Executive

The Royal Dublin Society (RDS), a philanthropic body, spends about €4.7 million a year to stage the event.

The show is estimated to inject €45m to the city’s economy and is a prestigious shop window for the country’s €700m sport horse industry, which embraces show jumping and associated equestrian disciplines.

Employing more than 12,000 people full-time, the sport horse sector is only part of the overall equine industry which makes an important contribution to the country’s economy and to the role that horses continue to play in Irish life.

The other significant part of that equine industry is the highly successful and globally competitive thoroughbred sector, which caters for horse racing and bloodstock breeding.
It directly employs some 17,000 individuals and thousands more indirectly and makes a direct contribution to the national economy of some €1.3bn.

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The Aga Khan Trophy

The Aga Khan Trophy, pictured in Ballsbridge. (Iimage credit: Cody Glenn/SPORTSFILE)
The Aga Khan Trophy, pictured in Ballsbridge. (Iimage credit: Cody Glenn/SPORTSFILE)

The Aga Khan Trophy is the prize presented for Ireland’s showjumping Nations Cup competition, held annually at the Dublin Horse Show. The first trophy was donated in 1926 by His Highness the Aga Khan III, who was a frequent visitor to the show.

The late Aga Khan donated the magnificent trophy in 1926 in appreciation of all the pleasures he had had at previous horse shows and in gratitude of his Irish tutor, Mr. Kenny. The first competition was held in 1926. This trophy is known as the “Nations` Cup”.

Initially, a country winning the competition three times would win the trophy outright – which Switzerland achieved with wins in 1926, 1927 and 1930 – but from 1930 it is necessary to win three times in succession. It has been won outright on five occasions, and on each occasion a new trophy was presented by His Highness the Aga Khan or his successor, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan IV.

The most recent outright winner was Ireland, who won the trophy in 1977, 1978 and 1979.

The trophy has been won 5 times. By the Swiss in 1930, Ireland in 1937 and 1979, Britain in 1953 and 1975.

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Britain honors His Highness the Aga Khan III

"Saddling Mamoud for the Derby 1936" single mint stamp issued to commemorate Aga Khan III's record breaking Derby wins and his contribution to British equestrian sport. (Image Credit: ASJM Collection)
“Saddling Mamoud for the Derby 1936” single mint stamp issued to commemorate Aga Khan III’s record breaking Derby wins and his contribution to British equestrian sport. (Image Credit: ASJM Collection)

In recognition of the many contributions of His Highness Aga Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, Aga Khan III to equine sports and its associated industries and organizations in England and Ireland, the Royal Philatelic Society issued a commemorative stamp in honor of the Aga Khan III’s Derby winner, Mahmoud.

In the UK, His Highness the Aga Khan III is particularly remembered for his devoted patronage of English flat racing. He owned 5 Epsom Derby winners and was named Champion Owner no fewer than 13 times.

 


Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali


 

Related: The Aga Khans & Equestrian Sports

 

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