Another actioned packed day at Royal Windsor Horse Show included victory for one of the world’s finest riders and saw Trooper Thomas Evans RHG/D awarded The Best Turned Out Trooper in the sunny grounds of Home Park (Private).
The Queen was present at prize giving ceremonies in the Castle Arena, including the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup and Her Majesty The Queen’s Challenge Cup for Service Team Jumping.
The feature class of the day, the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup, turned into a scintillating race against the clock, with World No. 6 Kent Farrington coming out on top in the eight horse jump-off. Great Britain’s Joe Davison produced a beautiful clear round as first to go in the jump-off, setting a time of 36.79 seconds; however, with notably fast riders to follow, his lead was soon relinquished. Kent, riding the nine-year-old chestnut gelding Creedance, showed why he is amongst the best riders in the world, posting an impressive time of 31.86, over a second faster than eventual second Tiffany Foster.
The Rolex Testimonee, who is competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show for the first time, was thrilled with the result. “What more can I ask for. I’ve never been here before, so we’re off to a great start, and with this being The Queen’s Birthday Celebration too, it’s a great moment.”
The second World Ranking class of the day went to Great Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick, who took the Falcon Stakes. The unique class format, whereby the winner of each of the seven groups in the first round, along with the fastest losers, went through to the jump-off, caused much excitement amongst the packed crowd. Lorenzo De Luca held the lead after posting a challenging time of 28.03, but Renwick, who was last to go into the arena, was class personified and cut over a second off his time to take the victory aboard Heliodor Hybris.
Her Majesty The Queen’s Challenge Cup for Service Team Jumping was claimed by The Household Cavalry Team B with the only faultless tally at the end of two rounds. The trio of riders included Major Housby-Skeggs (Hightide), Corporal of the Horse Lacey (Nudger) and Captain Chambers (Freeway).
Cool sunny weather and good footing underhoof gave the 28 horse four-in-hand and 10 pony four-in-hand competitors perfect conditions for the cross-country marathon. Going in reverse order of placings in both classes, attention necessarily became more focused as the classes drew on, but there was plenty of good sport from competitors throughout.
“This was a really good marathon that bought the best out in contestants,” said President of the Ground Jury, GB’s Andrew Counsell. “It allowed those who did not excel at dressage to make up ground and improve their positions with skillful driving here, perhaps particularly in the pony four-in-hands.”
In the lead after dressage and therefore last to go in the horse four-in-hands, Boyd Exell from Australia drove with notable steadiness but always keeping in touch with the timings of his fellow competitors. The pressure on him increased, however, in the penultimate obstacle where he lost significant seconds as his leaders went either side of a post. Correcting the situation smoothly, he proved his competitive professionalism yet again as he drove quickly and cleanly through the final obstacle to record the second fastest time through it; he thus retained his first place at this stage.
Ijsbrand Chardon from the Netherlands, in joint second before the marathon, was looking to catch up Exell throughout – and he nearly did: he drove a fast, fluent marathon to win this section and to move up to less than one-cone penalty behind him. Chardon’s fellow countryman, Koos de Ronde, also drove a clean marathon which improved his position from fourth to third at this point.
Competition was no less determined in the pony four-in-hands, with little quarter given. Overnight leader, Dieter Hofs from Germany slipped out of the running to fifth place with his steady but comparatively slow marathon drive. First place after this phase went to Hungary’s Vilmos Jambor Jr, competing at Royal Windsor for the first time with his Hackney ponies and lying third after Friday’s dressage. Former World Champion and multiple Royal Windsor winner, Jan de Boer from the Netherlands, retained his second place overall with a good marathon drive. The winner of this section, Germany’s Michael Bugener – another making his debut at Royal Windsor – drove a storming marathon to take him from seventh place after dressage to third overall.
Placings in the Nations Cup for horse four-in-hands remained unchanged after the marathon, the Netherlands leading the field some 20 penalties clear of Germany. Australia retains her third placing. The Netherlands have proved invincible at the last seven World Horse Four-in-Hand Championships, taking team gold each time.
Our youngest winner of the day was Toby Johnstone who took the BSPS Heritage Mountain & Moorland Open Lead Rein Class riding Pumphill Fandango.
Britain’s glorious native breeds again took centre stage this morning. The top spot went to Newbury based Hannah Horton with Lady Huntingdon’s stunning Connemara Slieve Bloom Jill with her first Royal Windsor native title.
At the other end of the age range, Angela Pallet’s amazing 18-year-old Welsh Section B gelding Waitwith Westwind romped to victory in his working hunter pony class and stood reserve champion.
The prestigious show pony title went to Yorkshire based combination Georgina Holmes and her 148cm winner Wilderness Early Bird.
Saif Ahmed Al Mozroui of the UAE Friday triumphed at the Royal Windsor Endurance, kindly supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain. Riding Ramaah he finished in a time of 04:41:27, almost six minutes clear of the second placed rider, Mohammed Adbulsamad from Bahrain on Derrom Galiem, who was just one second ahead of third placed Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum on Intisaar, also from the UAE.
Ramaah’s trainer, Ismael Mohammed, said: “It is a really good result for the UAE, starting off the summer season with this win. We came here with good horses and we were hoping for this result.”
Now in its fourth year, a field of 52 competitors from a record thirteen nations set off into Windsor Great Park to complete four loops, and a total distance of 120km. The course included the home straight of Ascot Racecourse on loop one, and a number of picturesque landmarks and backdrops throughout. Despite the recent torrential rain, conditions out on the course were excellent and the average speed of Al Mozroui was a brisk 25.6 kilometres per hour.
Royal Windsor Endurance Director, Michael Shephard, said: “We are very pleased to have hosted another successful ride in this beautiful setting, and delighted to have had more countries than ever on the start line. The weather was very kind to us today and the competition as fierce as ever.”
For full results, please click here.
Tickets are still available for Sunday and can be purchased on www.rwhs.co.uk, via the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0) 121 796 6290 internationally. Alternatively, tickets are available locally at Windsor Information Centre either over the counter or by telephoning +44 (0) 1753 743900.
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Royal Windsor Horse Show
The Show will take place from 11-15 May 2016. Over 50,000 visitors are expected to attend the 74th year of Royal Windsor Horse Show which offers its audience astounding displays in the main Castle Arena, such as the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games and The Shetland Pony Grand National. As well as the equestrian competitions and activities, there are over 220 shops in the Shopping Village, with a wide range of goods for sale, from jewellery and fashion, to food and drink. Her Majesty The Queen has attended every year since the Show started in 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public. Royal Windsor Horse Show is organised by Windsor Equestrian Promotions Ltd, a part of HPower Group, also organisers of Olympia, The London International Horse Show www.hpower.co.uk.
The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration
Due to The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration taking place in the evenings following the Horse Show, there will be no evening performances at Royal Windsor Horse Show this year. These will return for 2017. The Horse Show will be ending at about 6pm each day. Royal Windsor Horse Show tickets do not include access to The Queen’s Birthday Celebration and there will be nowhere to watch the performance without The Celebration ticket.