Matt Sampson is Winning...a Lot
Matt Sampson and Evora BJX . Photo by Quinn Saunders
If you haven't noticed Matt Sampson (GBR) this summer, you might just be living under a rock.
Sampson, 32, is undoubtedly having a breakout season. Two years ago, the Yorkshire (GBR) native was struggling to get into five-star shows in Europe. Since May, he's won two five-star Grand Prix events (with two different horses, we might add), and at the recently concluded Spruce Meadows 'Masters,' he was honored as the show series' leading rider, with *17* wins—all international.
In 2021, Sampson raked in $115,000 in earnings. This year, he's more than tripled that number, having earned more than $360,000 with nearly four months remaining in 2022.
Just how astonishing have his numbers been? We're here to break them down, from 2019 to present*
*Given the unpredictable nature of the calendar in 2020 due to the global pandemic, we did not include these numbers.
There's typically a learning curve that comes with stepping up to the top levels of the sport, and while Sampson's faults average has increased this year, his average finish position has improved, meaning even though he might be putting up more faults on the board, he's still performing better than than the majority of his peers. The courses are just tougher—for everyone.
To put Sampson's current run of success into perspective, let's take the numbers one more step. Here are his averages since June 1, 2022:
Between June 1 and Sept. 12, Sampson averaged less than a rail and a placing in the top 12. In this timeframe, he recorded 20 FEI wins—in 3.5 months.
Matt Sampson and Ebolensky. Photo by Quinn Saunders
Four horses have contributed to this success: top mount Fabrice DN, brilliant speed horse Curraghgarigue Obos Flight, up-and-comers Elisa BJX and Evora BJX (ages 10 and 8, respectively) and the talented Ebolensky. Ebolensky's numbers have been nothing short of exceptional this year. The mare is averaging just a single fault from 14 international starts in 2022. Her average finish position is 11, and she's recorded 4 international wins—3 of them at the five-star level.
Sampson and Ebolensky did something particularly rare when they tied for the win in the CSI5* Friends of the Meadows Grand Prix at Spruce earlier this month. Sampson and Paul O'Shea (IRL) finished the jump-off in identical times—a first in the history of five-star grand prix competition at Spruce Meadows.
Matt Sampson and Paul O'Shea tie for a CSI5* Grand Prix win at Spruce Meadows. Photo by Quinn Saunders
If there's any weakness for Sampson, the majority of his faults, across all mounts, tend to come up front. Watch for combinations (results in faults 39.29% of the time) off the left lead: If there is a rail in the combination, 54.55% of the time, it's coming into the obstacle, at element A.
Sampson runs Maplepark Farms alongside Kara Chad (CAN)—his partner in both business and life—and we have Chad to thank for bringing this talent to North America. Sampson is one of the friendliest and most humble riders on the circuit—a rider you can't help but root for. The numbers say he's a worthy selection, too.