HIS MAJESTY THE KING DELIGHTS AT ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW

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HM King Charles III talking with Duke of Edinburgh and Jo Smith of DAKS at 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

His Majesty The King alongside Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh at Royal Windsor Horse Show @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

CHI ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW DAILY REPORT

His Majesty The King joined The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh for the third day of Royal Windsor Horse Show, which took place today in the private grounds of Windsor Castle. The Crown Prince of Bahrain, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, joined the exclusive list of attendees in the Royal Box, which also included former Prime Minister Theresa May.

The CSI5* Show Jumping commenced today, with eight of the top ten ranked riders in the world contesting the opening class, The Pearl Stakes. The feature competition of the day, The Defender Stakes, proved a tightly fought battle — much to the delight of the enthusiastic crowd in the Castle Arena.

Elsewhere across the showground the International Driving got underway with the Dressage phase, while a second day of multiple championships took place in the Showing arenas. Meanwhile in the Great Park, the Royal Windsor Endurance supported by The Kingdom of Bahrain saw CEI3, CEI2 and CEI1* rides take place and, out on the Long Walk, the Coaching Marathon provided a spectacle for Windsor’s residents as beautiful carriages made their way past the landmark to the Castle Arena.

WINDSOR WELCOMES THE WORLD’S BEST

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Shane Breen riding Cato Boy winners of the CSI5* The Pearl Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

International Show Jumping got underway with the CSI5* The Pearl Stakes, where 31 of the world’s best horse and rider combinations tackled Bernardo Costa Cabral’s masterfully designed course. Held as a Two Phase competition at 1.45m, riders had to ensure a clear round over the first eight fences to continue on to the latter half of the course against the clock.

First in the arena, Gregory Wathelet – a previous winner of the Rolex Grand Prix at the Show – set the standard with a double clear in the time of 33.17 seconds. However, his lead was quickly usurped by Britain’s Sammy Hutton and the 10-year-old gelding BP Pocahontas, who posted a time of 29.05 seconds.

With 25 out of 31 combinations producing a double clear — including from some of Britain’s most exciting up-and-coming young riders Joseph Stockdale and Harry Charles — competition was fierce. Matthew Sampson, the Leading Rider of December’s London International Horse Show, flew across the Castle Arena as ninth to go with his specialist speed horse MGH Candy Girl and looked unbeatable in a time of 25.80. However moments later it was Ireland’s Shane Breen riding the 10-year-old Cato Boy, who managed to make the distance in fewer strides to come home just 0.03 seconds faster than Sampson. None of the remaining combinations could quite match the speed and accuracy of Breen and Sampson however, although Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca came closest with a third place time over a second slower.

Breen said: “I’m very pleased for Cato Boy. It’s always lovely to compete at Windsor, so to be here again and to open my account with a win is always a great start. I was after Matt Sampson, so I watched his round. We’ve got two quite different horses, so I watched how many strides he was doing between each fence and then I decided to do a stride less and it worked in my favour with Cato Boy. It was my day today.”

Talking about the Show, Breen continued: “I’m not even noticing the rain, it’s always wonderful to be here in Windsor – there’s royalty, there’s tradition, so many different events going on, all the trade stands – it’s all really well organised and it’s a great event.”

The feature class of the day was The Defender Stakes, a 1.55m jump-off class. The course proved to cause challenges throughout and it wasn’t until sixth to go, Laura Kraut from the USA, that anyone posted a clear round. Kraut was followed in quick succession by British legend John Whitaker, who secured a place in the jump-off aboard Arqana de Riverland. In total, 14 made it through to the jump-off, including home favourites Harry Charles, Robert Whitaker, Joseph Stockdale and Ben Maher.

Lorenzo de Luca was the first to take on the shortened jump-off course and set an impressive standard, going clear in 37.95 seconds. However, with a big field to follow — including World, European and Olympic medalists — his lead was by no means secure. Laura Kraut, a gold medalist at last year’s PanAm Games, then shaved 0.2 seconds of de Luca’s time to take over the lead in the early stages.

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Steve Guerdat riding Looping Luna winners of the CSI5* The Defender Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

The lead changed on several occasions in the run-in with Italy’s Giulia Martinengo Marquet, who was making her Royal Windsor Horse Show debut, taking over the top spot from Kraut, before herself being usurped by Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat. The London 2012 Olympic champion set a time of 35.67 seconds with Looping Luna, to take a lead almost one second faster than Martinengo Marquet.

Guerdat said: “I am very happy with the win, it’s always great to win at the places you like – and I really like it here at Windsor – and I am especially happy for my mare. I have had her for a while and we have had some struggles together, then at the beginning of the year she started to jump really well and the feeling was getting better and better. She won a 1.50m last week and now a win here again, so I am excited for the future with her.”

Guerdat continued: “It’s so nice to ride her against the clock, she loves going fast, she has a big stride and she turns really well. I know she is fast so I actually don’t need to watch what the others do, I just trust her natural speed and enjoy the ride.”

Looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday, Guerdat said: “It’s going to be a tough class on Sunday. I brought my top horse, Dynamix De Belheme, for the Rolex Grand Prix, she won the 5* in Fontainebleau last week. She’s in good form and I hope that I can do something good with her on Sunday.”

CATCH RIDERS SCOOP THE SHOWING SPOILS

Loraine Homer made the most of a ‘catch’ ride this morning to land the prestigious LeMieux Hunter Championship in the Castle Arena, scoring with Liz Prowting’s handsome grey Lightweight victor, Bloomfield President — a former Novice Champion here. This continued a long-held Windsor tradition for the family as her father, legendary showman David Tatlow, had his name engraved on the coveted trophy many times during his own career and she, too, has occupied the top spot before.

Ironically, though, it was Loraine’s daughter Alice — last year’s Working Hunter Champion here — who steered Bloomfield President to victory in his class this morning, but she opted to stay aboard her Heavyweight winner, Bloomfield Distinction.

It was a close decision but after much deliberation, Cheshire showman Robert Walker — Novice and Open Champion here last year and bidding for an eighth Royal Windsor title — was called into reserve, this time aboard the Middleweight winner, Jill Day’s Crystal Cove. After swiftly swapping arenas, clothes and horses, Walker then proved unbeatable in the Novice Lightweight Hunter class and subsequent championship on the hugely promising Flash Point, a five-year-old half-brother — out of the same mare — as the legendary View Point, four times Open Champion here before he retired from the show ring in 2022.

“We’re very excited about Flash,” said Walker. “He’s only been to three shows this year and won each time, but he hadn’t come up against the ‘Southern’ horses until today so we didn’t dare hope for too much.”

There was a surprise in the Count Robert Orssich Hack Championship, when producer Jo Bates snatched the title on the Small class winner, Ami Miller’s Shildons Plan B, beating the reigning Horse of the Year Show Supreme horse, Forgeland Hyde Park (Isabella Mears-Wood) who had finished only second in the Large class. This was another example of a catch ride landing the spoils. “Ami normally rides the horse herself, but she’s still on honeymoon so her loss is my gain,” said a beaming Jo.

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Will Morton riding Monarch In The Mist winners of the Martin Collins Enterprises Cob Championship at Royal Windsor Horse Show @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

Reigning Royal International Supreme Champion rider Will Morton began the season well at local shows with Rosamund Lane’s stunning grey Maxi Cob, Monarch In The Mist, but here in the Castle Arena, the big-galloping grey gave him a phenomenal ride to take the Royal Windsor Martin Collins Enterprises Cob Championship. It was a great result as the partnership pipped last year’s victors, Janay Leeman and her reigning Horse of the Year Show champion Red Rock, also Ridden Coloured Reserve Champions here yesterday.

The coveted Horse & Hound Mountain and Moorland Supreme In Hand title provided another shock result when the brand-new partnership of handler Tom Clark and owner Melanie Peters’ lovely Welsh section A stallion, Hoekhorst Example, scooped the top award ahead of seasoned campaigners Jamie Frost with Cathy Wood’s big-winning Connemara stallion, Clover Hill Magic. “It’s the first time I’ve ever shown him,” said a clearly shocked Tom.

EXELL TAKES EARLY LEAD

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Boyd Exell in the FEI Driving World Cup™ Horse Four-In-Hand Dressage at Royal Windsor Horse Show @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon

Over in the Driven Dressage Arena, the International Driving Grand Prix got underway with the Dressage phase. The feature class of the day was the FEI Driving World Cup™ Horse Four-In-Hand Dressage, the first of the three phases that make up the event. It was Australian Boyd Exell – already a 12-time winner at Royal Windsor – who finished the day in the lead, ahead of Germany’s Mareike Harm in second and the USA’s Chester Weber in third.

Full results

Press release Royal Windsor Horse Show – Niki McEwen / rEvolution

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