THE WEATHER IS NOT THE ONLY THING HEATING UP AT ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW
Day four of Royal Windsor Horse Show offered brighter skies and yet more thrilling action. The Services proved they could not only look spectacular — when taking part in the Household Cavalry Best Turned Out Trooper — but could also perform under pressure in The Kingdom of Bahrain Services Team Jumping. International Show Jumping took to new heights with The CSI5* Defender Challenge Stakes and The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup. Royal Windsor’s Home Park hosted the second phase of the CAIO4* International Driving competition, the Marathon, and Showing’s elite took to the Castle Arena for the BSPS Mountain and Moorland Ridden Championship sponsored by New Horizon Plastics.
FUCHS AND SAÏD HAVE THE (EURO)VISION FOR VICTORY
The second day of international Show Jumping got underway with 28 starters tackling Bernardo Costa Cabral’s technical 1.50m course in The CSI5* Defender Challenge Stakes. The competition consisted of two rounds, with eight going through to the jump-off in reverse order.
After a lightning fast first round from Olivier Perreau, the Frenchman was in pole position for the jump-off. Ben Maher and the incredibly careful stallion Enjeu de Grisien were first to go in the second round, and set the precedent for the combinations to come. Fellow Brits included William Funnell and the home-bred Billy Marmite, Lily Attwood and Karibou Horta, and Jodie Hall McAteer, who finished in third with Mandy Hall’s Kimosa van het Kritrahof.
There was heartbreak for Daniel Deusser, as he and Kiana van het Herdershof were bumped out of the top spot by a painstaking margin by World No. 4, Martin Fuchs and Viper Z. Fuch’s round was picturesque, with his sixpence-like turn from the Rolex oxer to the water tray finishing 0.05 seconds quicker than Deusser, and sealing another 5* win.
Speaking about Viper Z, the former World No. 1 said: “He’s really great and is naturally very quick, it’s his first 5* show, so I’m delighted with this result. When walking the course I believed it would suit us, so it’s always very nice when it works out. Royal Windsor Horse Show is just such a nice atmosphere, with amazing people who know the sport all around.“
Twenty-one of the world’s best horse and rider combinations went head-to-head in today’s pinnacle Show Jumping class – The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup. First into the arena was Britain’s William Funnell riding the 13-year-old chestnut gelding, Equine America Billy Diamo. Funnell showcased all of his experience to jump clear and set the standard for the rest to follow. Clears continued to come in the Castle Arena, including yesterday’s CSI5* Pearl Stakes winner, Lily Attwood, Belgium’s Abdel Saïd, and two members of Britain’s FEI World Championship bronze medal-winning team, Ben Maher and Harry Charles.
However, the skillfully curated course did also cause problems throughout, with nearly half of the field accruing four faults. Beneath the historic Windsor Castle, crowds came alight when 68-year-old veteran of the sport, John Whitaker, entered the arena. Whitaker executed a superb clear jumping round, but disappointment came when he picked up two time faults.
Eight combinations progressed through to the jump-off, held over seven combinations. First to go was Belgium’s Abdel Saïd riding Arpege du Ru, who won this class back in 2017 and set the standard with an exceptionally fast round of 32.32 seconds. Following Saïd’s round, the pressure was on the remaining combinations. It was a tightly fought contest as France’s Kevin Staut looked to challenge the lead but could not quite match the pace set, coming home in a time of 33.76 seconds. All British hopes rested on Under-25 World No. 1 Harry Charles, after both Ben Maher and Lily Atwood had a pole down. Charles, who partnered the talented Aralyn Blue, rode a beautiful round, and as he rode down to the last oxer the crowd held their breath in hopes of a British winner. The young rider, however, could only do enough for second, with a time of 32.97 — just over 0.60 seconds slower than the winner, Abdel Saïd.
Saïd said; “I’m really happy with Arpege, she’s naturally a really fast mare, I know her really well as I’ve been riding her since she was eight, so I stuck to my plan and I’m really pleased with how she went. I love competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show, the British crowds are so supportive and they really understand the sport so it’s an amazing experience.”
Speaking of his tactics for the jump-off “I don’t usually walk the jump-off course when riding Arpege, as she has such an unusually quick stride, so I spoke to a few colleagues who told me the lines. I tend to just take what I see as it comes, and today it really paid off.”
BRILLIANT BOYD STRIKES AGAIN
The second phase of the CAIO4* and CAI3* International Driving Grand Prix, the Marathon, took place today and it did not disappoint. The five-and-a-half kilometre course contained seven obstacles, expanded over the luscious grounds of Windsor Castle. Ten single horse and driver combinations, and ten pairs completed the CAI3* course, with fourteen teams completing the CAIO4*. In the single CAI3*, Mario Gandolfo drove beautifully to build on his lead from yesterday’s Driven Dressage, as did Rens Egberink in the pairs. Disappointment came in the four-in-hand CAIO4* for Chester Weber’s team, who were lying in second place after yesterday, as they were eliminated for missing a gate. True to form, the Australian World No. 1, Boyd Exell, expanded on his team’s Driven Dressage lead to set them up with a 12.9 point lead ahead of tomorrow’s Cone phase.
Full results: https://rwhs.co.uk/results-not-national/
Photos @RoyalWindsorHorseShow/PeterNixon | Press release RWHS 2023