BEST OF BRITISH SHINE ON OPENING DAY OF ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW 2024

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Gareth Hughes (GBR) and Classic Goldstrike

CHI ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW DAILY REPORT

International competition at Royal Windsor Horse Show 2024 got underway today with The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Grand Prix, held in the iconic Castle Arena, marking the start of five days of top-class equestrian sport. Earlier in the day the British Dressage International Young Horse classes took place, showcasing the country’s most exciting five to seven-year-old Dressage horses.

Held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle, Royal Windsor Horse Show is the only show in the UK to host international competitions in Show Jumping, Dressage, Driving, and Endurance. Alongside the spectacular schedule of competition, crowds can also expect to be thrilled by acts such as the Defender Shetland Pony Grand National, the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games as well as the awe-inspiring Musical Drive of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Azerbaijan – Land of Fire musical display.

HEROIC HUGHES TAKES THE VICTORY

In total, twelve combinations from seven different nations contested The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Grand Prix on the first afternoon of the Show, including a strong British contingent. First into the arena was Richard Davison who treated spectators with a “Guinea Pig” test. The four-time Olympian wore a headset and gave a full commentary throughout his stunning ride, showcasing invaluable insight and knowledge to dressage fans.

After a short break, competition commenced with Singapore’s Caroline Chew riding Blue Hors Zatchmo, setting the early standard with a score of 68.174%. Next to step between the white boards, and first for the home nation, was Emilie Faurie who has represented Great Britain at World, European and Olympic levels. At 61-years of age, Faurie brought all his experience to the famous Castle Arena aboard Bellevue – the horse he rode to third in this class last year. Despite a small mistake in the canter pirouette, the combination took the lead with 69.326%. First-timers, Finland’s Anu Sironen, could not quite match this mark, nor could fan-favourite Louise Anne Bell, or Ireland’s Carolyn Mellor.

The crowd were delighted to welcome back Wiltshire-based Lewis Carrier, who was last into the arena before the midway break. Carrier, who currently trains with Carl Hester, rode the KWPN warmblood Diego V who he has produced himself from a four-year-old. The pair’s partnership was evident throughout their test with expressive extensions and well-timed changes – their test was well rewarded with a score of 69.304% which put them into a provisional second place.

Jayden Brown – part of Australia’s FEI World Championship team – making his first appearance at the Show, was next into the arena. The Australian, who was second in the CDI3* Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special at Addington in March, could not quite challenge the top spots. Gareth Hughes, part of the British gold medal winning team at the FEI European Championships last summer, then bought forward Classic Goldstrike, a chestnut gelding by Tango. Hughes took the reins from his talented daughter Ruby, who regularly rides the 13-year-old; last year claiming team bronze in the FEI Junior European Championships together. Hughes, who has amassed numerous national and international titles over the past 10 years, showed all of his experience to take the lead by over two percent.

With just four combinations remaining, Hughes’ score – the only to break the 70% barrier – looked hard to beat, and both Italy’s Nathalie Wahlund and Britain’s Liza Marriott were unable to challenge for the lead. The penultimate rider, Nikolas Kröncke, who began representing Great Britain at the beginning of this year having previously ridden for Germany, displayed a superb demonstration of harmony with the 14-year-old stallion Flanell but again could not match Hughes’ score nor could last into arena China’s Sarah Rao. Hughes took the victory, with Faurie in second place, while Carrier completed the top trio.

Winner of The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Grand Prix, Gareth Hughes stated: “Does it get any better? The Castle Arena here at Royal Windsor Horse Show is beautiful, the spectators are great and you have that amazing view of Windsor Castle.” He went on to say: “There’s no expectation with him [Classic Goldstrike], he just steps up and delivers – he’s just the sweetest horse.”

He continued: “Classic Goldstrike is a really special horse, we’ve had him since a baby. Both my daughter and wife have competed and won with him, and so he is a real family horse. He has never competed in a Freestyle competition before, but we are very excited for tomorrow! He will be doing the same Freestyle routine as my top horse, Classic Briolinca.”

PHOTOS OF THE DAY

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Captain Whittingham riding Reggie (rider with white feather) and Gunner Martin riding Kernow of The Musical Drive of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.Khayalya Ahmadova riding Mil (girl) and Hasan Pashayev riding Sel of the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan Katie Jerram-Hunnable riding His Majesty the Kings’s Sunbeam, and Chris Hunnable riding Mrs I Shervington’s Goosey GanderAt the Royal Windsor Horse Show In Partnership with Defender, held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle in Windsor in Berkshire in the UK between 1st – 5th May 2024
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Katie Jerram-Hunnable riding His Majesty the Kings’s SunbeamAt the Royal Windsor Horse Show In Partnership with Defender, held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle in Windsor in Berkshire in the UK between 1st – 5th May 2024

WHAT TO LOOK FORWARD TO TODAY

  • The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage – Freestyle
    National Show Jumping
    Working Hunter Championship sponsored by Irish Horse Board
    Coloured Ridden Championship sponsored by the Leeman Family

For full results from Royal Windsor Horse Show Click Here

For more information please contact:

Niki McEwen / rEvolution | Photo: Gareth Hughes (GBR) and Classic Goldstrike winners of The Defender CDI4* FEI Dressage Grand Prix on the first day of Royal Windsor Horse Show @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

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