Tag Archives: Daniel Deusser

Riders to Watch in Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva

Photo: Rolex / Kit Houghton.

From 12-15 December 2019, show jumping fans will travel to Switzerland for what is widely regarded as the world’s greatest indoor competition, CHI Geneva. The event, which spans four days, marks the final Major of the year and will welcome the world’s best equestrian combinations. Each rider will compete in front of around 42,000 people at Palexpo, the biggest indoor jumping arena in the world, as they seek to gain show jumping’s highest honors.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Rider Watch

Visitors attending the 2019 edition of CHI Geneva will witness world-class equestrian action at an event that has been voted the world’s best show jumping competition nine times. With several of the world’s most prolific horse-and-rider combinations set to compete, there will be numerous contenders vying to be crowned the next Rolex Grand Slam live contender, further adding to the hype of the highly anticipated event.

One of the favorites to claim this year’s title is legendary Swiss rider and World No. 1, Steve Guerdat. The Rolex Testimonee has built up a great run of form this season after winning the ‘Pan American’ Grand Prix presented by Rolex in Spruce Meadows this summer and finishing second in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in March. Already a three-time winner of Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva, Guerdat will be eager to impress once more in front of a vibrant home crowd.

American rider Kent Farrington sits just outside of the world’s top 10 but has already established himself as one of the best riders in the world after magnificently winning the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix of Aachen with his outstanding mare Gazelle. The Rolex Testimonee has been on fine form this season, making him a prime contender for the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix of Geneva title, which he previously claimed back in 2017.

Never far from success is Germany’s Daniel Deusser, who currently sits at third in the Jumping World Rankings. Given his recent form, including a second-place finish in the 2019 Rolex Grand Prix at CHIO Aachen back in July, Deusser is expected to be one of the top performers at this year’s event in Geneva.

Current World No. 2, Martin Fuchs, is another rider who will be looking to secure the Major win in his native Switzerland. The young rider has already achieved much success in his career, including a silver medal in the Individual Jumping at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™, and is the current European Champion. Fuchs’ recent results have helped the 26-year-old establish himself as one of the world’s very best competitors, so there will be a high level of expectation for him to finish off the year with his first Rolex Grand Prix title.

A field of 40 combinations will battle it out in the hope of seizing the final Major victory of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping at CHI Geneva, which promises to be a weekend of enormous competition starting on December 12th.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Guerdat, Fuchs, Deusser Top Entry Lists as 7 of World’s Top 10 Head to Olympia

Seven of the world’s top ten show jumpers are set to compete at this year’s edition of Olympia, The London International Horse Show, taking place from 16-22 December 2019. The confirmed line-up will ensure a week of world-class competition, providing unmissable sport and entertainment to the 90,000 spectators due to attend.

World No. 1 Steve Guerdat will be returning to London, the scene of his 2012 Olympic individual gold medal, looking to ride out a spectacular season on a high. He will be joined by his Swiss compatriot, Martin Fuchs, the current World No. 2 and reigning individual European Champion.

Germany will also be sending a strong contingent, headed by World No. 3 Daniel Deusser, a recent winner at the CSI5* in Prague, alongside Christian Ahlmann, currently ranked ninth in the world and always a consistent performer at Olympia.  Adding to the German line-up is show jumping legend Marcus Ehning, who will be vying for a victory to round off a successful 2019 season.

From Belgium will be World No. 6 Pieter Devos, who is sure to mount a strong challenge following his recent victory in the FEI Jumping World Cup of Stuttgart. He will be joined by his 2019 European Championship gold medal winning teammate Jos Verlooy, along with Niels Bruynseels and Olivier Philippaerts. Flying the flag for the USA is FEI World Equestrians Games™ team gold medalist, Laura Kraut.

Following William Whitaker’s outstanding victory in last year’s Longines FEI Jumping World Cup at Olympia, British hopes will remain high for the 2019 Show, as a strong home contingent are set to take their place in the starting line-up.

Current World No. 4, Ben Maher, will be seeking to crown an exceptional year with success at Olympia, having already secured numerous 5* Grand Prix victories in 2019, as well as an individual silver medal at the FEI European Championships. Hot on his heels will be his London 2012 Olympic gold medal winning teammate Scott Brash, fresh from victory in the FEI Jumping World Cup in Verona in November.

Robert Whitaker, a winner at Olympia in 2018, is another to come to this year’s Show high in confidence following his FEI Jumping World Cup victory in Helsinki. He will be joined by Holly Smith, a member of the 2019 European Championship bronze medal winning team which secured Great Britain their ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Guy Williams will be returning to Olympia looking to retain his Cayenne Puissance title, following a thrilling five-round contest in 2018 saw him finish equal first. Williams, notorious for his speed against the clock, will be sure to have the home crowd on their feet throughout the week, as he takes on old rivals William Funnell and Laura Renwick, both of whom are also renowned for their speed and agility.

Young riders Emily Moffitt, Amy Inglis, Harry Charles, and James Wilson round off the British contingent. All three come off the back of a strong 2019 season, which has included representing Great Britain at senior level in FEI Nations Cups throughout the season.

The complete list of Show Jumpers set to compete at the Show can be found here.

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We’ve received an outstanding list of entries for Olympia, and are very much looking forward to welcoming the world’s best to the Show for what is set to be another fantastic competition. It’s rare for British fans to have the opportunity to witness so many quality athletes under one roof and we’re really excited to see how the action unfolds.”

To purchase tickets for Olympia, please visit www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Home Win for Germany’s Daniel Deusser in RWE Preis von Nordrhein-Westfalen

Daniel Deusser and Killer Queen VDM (Photo credit: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

It was all smiles for the home crowd at CHIO Aachen as Germany’s Daniel Deusser was crowned winner of the RWE Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia aboard his bay mare Killer Queen VDM. The course set by Frank Rothenberger asked tough questions for the 42 starters in the first round with just 11 reaching the jump-off to battle it out for the top spot. Early clear rounds put the pressure on the later starters with the leader board changing frequently as the competition remained wide open. Belgium’s Olivier Philippaerts rode a speedy clear in the time of 45.79 seconds but Deusser produced a thrilling display of skill to shave over a second off Philippaerts time (44.65 seconds) and much to the delight of the patriotic spectators held the lead to take the victory.

What’s it like to win in front of such a big home crowd?

It’s always such a special feeling to win here at Aachen. When the home crowd gets behind you, you can really feel them, and the atmosphere is incredible. You always want to perform well, you always want to jump clear, but when 40,000 people are behind you and cheering you on, it creates the most incredible atmosphere and it does influence your riding.

Is Killer Queen VDM a star for the future?

Absolutely; I really think this horse can compete at the highest level. I said last year that I thought she was a horse with lots of potential and I am really happy with her performance today.

The water jump seemed to cause a few problems; what were your thoughts on it?

It is very difficult to explain; it is the same water jump we jumped yesterday but in the other direction. Even my horse who is normally very good over the water jumped it much higher today than she usually would. It is hard to say, perhaps because of the grass, as maybe we spend more time in sand arenas. The water jump itself was not too big or hard, but for some reason the horses jumped it worse today than yesterday. Also, I saw a few horses jump it badly, which then gave me some mixed feelings on how I should jump it, and maybe meant we didn’t ride with the same confidence and enthusiasm that we would normally.

You have qualified for the Rolex Grand Prix on three horses; which one will you ride on Sunday?

I will be riding Tobago Z on Sunday.

© 2019 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

It’s a Hat-Trick for Germany’s Deusser with Brilliant Win in Bordeaux

Daniel Deusser riding Tobago Z. (FEI/Eric Knoll)

Daniel Deusser produced his third sensational win of the season at the 13th and last qualifier of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League in Bordeaux, France.

The 37-year-old German cruised to victory with Calisto Blue at round 3 in Verona (ITA) last October, and then rocketed up the series leaderboard when winning again at round 6 in Madrid (ESP) the following month with Tobago Z. Already heading the WEL leaderboard before competition began, the World No 5 rider and 2014 Longines champion has now accumulated a massive 99 points, and looks set to really put it up to the rest of the them when the Longines 2019 Final gets underway in Gothenburg (SWE) on 3 April.

In the six-way jump-off, it was Tobago Z who sealed it for him yet again, pinning Belgium’s Gregory Wathelet and Iron Man van de Padenborre into runner-up spot and Spain’s Eduardo Alvarez Aznar and Rokfeller de Pleville Bois Margot into third. Deusser can hardly believe what a run of form he’s been having.

“I’ve never had a season like this to be honest – not only three wins but fourth in Leipzig and third in Amsterdam – it’s just been amazing!” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

He admitted that he was “a bit confused” when two of the first four riders jumped clear over Jean-Francois Morand’s tough first-round track. “It was a big, long course with difficult combinations and the time-allowed was long. I thought he would reduce it, but it was such a good decision not to do that – we still only got six clear rounds, so the course designer did a really good job!” Deusser pointed out.

Celine Schoonbroodt-de Azevedo (Chepetta) led the way against the clock with a fence down in 51.92 seconds, but Belgian compatriot, Francois Mathy Jr, made no mistake with the ever-careful Uno de la Roque to set the first real target at 50.96 seconds. Then Norway’s Marie Valdar Longem, 621st in the Longines world rankings, produced her second superb clear of the day from the supercool Si la Sol de Greenbay Z in 53.14 seconds before Wathelet raised the temperature considerably.

His 11-year-old stallion is not long back after an injury-break and with a really positive and forward round they took the lead in 47.72 seconds, so when Alvarez Aznar broke the beam more than a second slower, it was Wathelet’s time that Deusser was chasing. The German hadn’t finally decided his strategy however, even as he set off.

“I knew there was the option to go inside after the double (third fence) but I only decided to do it after he jumped into the double because he was so confident in the air. I knew then we could do it, and then we got a good run to the plank (the following fence) so I just told myself to bring it home and not do anything crazy after that!” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

The top 18 riders on the Western European League table are all eligible for the Longines 2019 Final and current World No. 1, Steve Guerdat, will be chasing down his third title when the action gets underway in seven weeks’ time.

After the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ prizegiving, the Swiss super-hero, whose extraordinarily successful year in 2018 included individual bronze at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon (USA) last September, was presented with the prestigious Longines FEI World’s Best Rider Award for 2018. Steve also accepted the Longines FEI World’s Best Horse Award 2018 on behalf of his brilliant mare, Albfuehren’s Bianca.

Meanwhile, Deusser has decided that Tobago Z will be his choice as he strives for a second Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ series title. “He’ll have four weeks off now and then I’ll take him to ’s-Hertogenbosch (NED) for a last run before the Final. It’s not an advantage to go to Gothenburg as the (WEL) leader, but it’s a really good feeling all the same!” he concluded.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

An Exell-ent Day for the FEI Driving World Cup

FEI Driving World Cup™ Presented by Dodson & Horrell was won by Australia’s Boyd Exell in a gripping two round competition.

The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes was won by Daniel Deusser (GER) riding Cornet.

The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Archie Gubb riding Gruntness Inogee and the evening performance by Poppy Dadson riding Merkisayre Sea Duble.

The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals was won by multiple Olympia champion Natasha Wise and Pebbles.

Exell Sets the Standard Again

The world’s most outstanding four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell, crowned an exemplary week of Extreme and FEI World Cup™ driving competition with a win in the final round of the FEI Driving World Cup™ presented by Dodson & Horrell.

“I’m so pleased with my horses,” the Australian driver and trainer said. “Five years ago I had a superb team and I’ve spent the intervening years trying to replicate it. With the two new horses I’ve recently put in to the mix, I feel I’m really getting close. They just get faster and faster.”

Experienced Dutch driver Koos de Ronde, who has competed every year since driving became part of the Olympia programme, was Exell’s closest challenger after the first round, with Belgian Glenn Geerts in third place.

These three returned for a drive-off, which got off to a dramatic start when one of Geerts’ horses slipped turning to come off the bridge. Driving is a close-knit community and fellow competitors flew to help; happily, all four horses were up in moments and the Olympia crowd showed their appreciation by giving Geerts a standing ovation.

Quickly regaining his focus, de Ronde drove a proficient round, bettering his time but picking up a 4-second penalty. Exell again put his foot to the floor to drive his fourth clear round, knocking three seconds off his first-round time to take the victory and extend his lead in the rankings.

“Olympia was very brave to agree to stage this competition eight years ago, but it has been so well supported by Dodson & Horrell and Hugh and Karen Scott-Barrett. The drivers love it; it’s a highlight of the World Cup calendar and it’s an honour to be here.”

British competitor Daniel Naprous, whose stunt work can be seen in Wonder Woman, The Crown, and Peaky Blinders, has steadily improved his times during the week and finished fifth overall.

Cornet Hits a High Note

Germany’s Daniel Deusser, the world number seven, set a fast pace in the jump-off of The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes to take the class on the 14-year-old grey Cornet, by the leading jumping sire Cornet Obolensky.

This class bucked the trend, with only four through to the jump-off. First to go, Deusser, who rides for Stephex Stables in Belgium, set a fast pace with a clear in 31.25 seconds. Simon Delestre for France on Conbelleza also left all the fences up but was fractionally slower in 32.07 seconds.

Maikel van der Vleuten was third for the Netherlands on Idi Utopia and William Funnell, who has now moved up to second place behind Geir Gulliksen in the Leading Rider of the Show rankings, was fourth on Billy Diamo.

“I expected there to be more clear rounds, but the track had lots of bends off corners and that seemed to be causing trouble,” explained Deusser, who will ride Cornet d’Amour in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix. “Cornet is one of my top horses, but sometimes it’s nice to drop him into a smaller height competition so that it’s easy for him.”

The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes

Earlier in the day, Shaunie Greig travelled all the way from Fife to add a win in The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes to her list of prestigious 148cm victories. Riding Casino Royale VIII, she produced the sole double clear of the class.

Shaunie, 15, was the fifth of the six riders to go in the jump-off and, with no faultless performers before her, there was everything to play for.

“I was aiming for the win, so I needed to go clear, but not too crazy,” she said. “I had watched Purdi Digby [who was first to go] so I knew where to go on the course.”

Nicole Lockhead Anderson riding Gangnam Style ll finished second with a fence down.

Tribute to the Late Tim Stockdale

Saturday came to a moving close with the Whitaker family’s annual presentation of the Ryan’s Son Trophy for services to the sport. This year, with many of his colleagues looking on, it was presented posthumously to Tim Stockdale whose wife Laura and sons Joe and Mark were there to collect it.

Tickets can be purchased at www.olympiahorseshow.com or by telephone on 0844 995 0995.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

Daniel Deusser Wins Trophée de Genève, the First Rolex Grand Prix Qualifier of CHI Geneva

Daniel Deusser riding Calisto Blue at the Trophée de Genève (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Kit Houghton)

The first qualifier for the Rolex Grand Prix saw nine horse and rider combinations compete in a hotly contested jump-off. Setting the bar high, Daniel Deusser riding Calisto Blue was the first to produce a clear round with a thrilling time of 37.31 seconds.

Last to go, Pieter Davos, looked on par to emulate Deusser’s clear round but was a fraction too slow and had to settle for second place, with Simon Delestre finishing in third, both excellent contenders for the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday.

How did the course feel?

Daniel Deusser: The time was really tight in the first round so everybody was forced to ride forwards, and in the end the horses got quite long which accumulated a lot of faults. There were 10 combinations clear and a couple more with time faults, which is a good amount for a jump-off, but it was certainly not an easy class.

Going into the jump-off did you think you were in with a good chance?

Daniel Deusser: To be honest, I was not sure. There were a lot of fast combinations to compete against and I thought that one or two might be a little bit quicker, but I think my clear round put the pressure on and some of the horses were forced to go quicker which made them go a bit flat. I had a good round and was really pleased with my horse.

Looking ahead to the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday, who do you think your biggest competition is?

Daniel Deusser: There are quite a few really good competitors here this weekend, so it is hard to say. I think McLain Ward and Clinta will go well, Steve Guerdat and Bianca are hard to beat when they are on form as well – it will be a good competition for sure.

© 2018 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Deusser Makes It a Double in Madrid

Daniel Deusser (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Germany’s Daniel Deusser (37) rocketed up to third on the Western European League leaderboard and booked his ticket to the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Gothenburg, Sweden next April when posting his second win of the 2018/2019 qualifying season at Madrid in Spain. He topped the line-up with Calisto Blue in Verona, Italy last month, and in this sixth round of the 13-leg series he steered Tobago Z to the quickest time in a tension-filled 10-horse jump-off to take maximum points once again.

Runner-up was World No. 2, Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat (36), who has now forged a significant lead on the league table, and third place went to Irma Karlsson (25), one of three Swedish riders to make it into the timed round.

Karlsson led the way against the clock with a beautifully-ridden, fast and accurate ride on the lovely 10-year-old mare Ida Bisschop to set a strong target in 48.28 seconds. But it was like watching a piece of precision engineering as Deusser’s handsome Zangersheide stallion shaved 1.55 seconds off that with effortless ease when fifth to go.

“We found a good rhythm from the first to the second, and it lasted to the very end of the course. Tobago is very careful and very scopey, and he’s not a hot horse so that really helps in the jump-off because he never rushes even when he’s under pressure – you get the same jump whether you are going fast or slow.” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

Having set the standard at 46.73 seconds, the 2014 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion then had to sit it out as the remaining five took their turn over Javier Trenor’s shortened track. Niels Bruynseels slotted in behind Karlsson when clear with his exciting nine-year-old Delux van T&L in 48.42, and when both his Belgian compatriot Pieter Devos (Claire Z), winner at last weekend’s leg in Stuttgart, and Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann (Toveks Mary Lou) left a pole on the floor, it was still all to play for with two left to run.

Guerdat looked well set to challenge for the lead with his 10-year-old mare Ulysse des Forets. However, a wider turn to the double three from home may have cost valuable fractions of seconds, so when the pair broke the beam in 47.12 then only the reigning European individual champion, Sweden’s Peder Fredricson, stood between Deusser and his second success of the season.

Fredricson was fully focused as he set sail with H&M Christian K, but an unscheduled stop at the third fence put paid to his chances and when the pair completed with a total of 16 faults, they lined up in tenth place. Deusser, currently world no. 7, was really pleased with his horse’s performance.

“Tobago has developed very well this year. His first World Cup was in Bordeaux in February and he has done a few Grand Prix classes and is showing a lot of promise for the future,” he said. He intends taking either Tobago or Calisto Blue to Gothenburg – “You ride your best at the Final!”

With 40 points now on the board he looks set to be inside the top-18 who make the cut from the Western European League for the Longines 2019 Final, even though there are another seven legs left to go. Pieter Devos has 49 so is also well on his way, while double-champion Guerdat, who has collected points at all six legs to date while riding four different horses, is in full command at the top of the table with a big tally of 58.

The action stays in Spain for the next leg of the Western European League, with the port city of La Coruña in Galicia playing host next weekend.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Deusser Pips Bruynseels in Electrifying Verona Jump-Off

Daniel Deusser and Calisto Blue. (FEI/Massimo Argenziano)

Daniel Deusser (37), winner of the third leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League, admitted that it was a last-minute change of plan that gave him victory.

“The first question we all had when we saw the jump-off course was: is it possible to do six strides from fence one to fence two? I was thinking for me it was definitely seven because my horse would be hard to turn… and actually I only did the six because I saw Niels going in six, and I know that he has not the biggest horse and he was in the lead so I had to do the same!” the German rider said after bringing the crowd to their feet with a breathtaking last-to-go run with Calisto Blue.

There’s something about Jumping Verona that always guarantees a thriller, and this was vintage stuff.

“I’ve been here a couple of times with my best horses in good shape, and every year we have big sport with close results and a lot of people in a very exciting jump-off. So to be one time the winner here makes me very proud!” — Daniel Deusser (GER)

The Italian fixture attracted a spectacular line-up including all three medallists from the individual podium at last month’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon, USA and their horses too. However, new world champion, Germany’s Simone Blum, had a tumble with DSP Alice on Friday and although both are fine, she decided to ride her young horse Cool Hill who had eight first-round faults. So when bronze medallists Steve Guerdat and Bianca also faulted in the opening round, silver medallist Martin Fuchs and his brilliant gelding Clooney were the only ones to make it through to the 14-horse jump-off.

Fifth to go against the clock, Italy’s Luca Marziani set the crowd alight when storming home with Tokyo du Soleil in 39.69 seconds, but then Bertram Allen (23) raised the bar with a brilliant round from his 2014 Verona winner Molly Malone in 38.60 seconds to take the lead. However, the young Irishman was immediately demoted by his Swiss friend Martin Fuchs who shaved 0.2 off that, and then Niels Bruynseels and his incredibly quick mare Gancia de Muze re-set the target once more when blazing through the timers in 37.03 seconds.

With just three to go, it seemed that just couldn’t be bettered and that the Belgian had it in the bag. Even Deusser doubted he could do it, “but I was last to go, and with the public and the atmosphere like that, I just stopped thinking about it and went in and I really wanted to try!”

The roar of the crowd was enough to tell him he had succeeded, by an incredibly narrow margin of just 0.2 seconds. His expression of sheer delight said it all.

He has only been riding the 11-year-old gelding Calisto Blue since July and it hasn’t all been plain sailing. “In the beginning it was very difficult; he’s scopey, very careful and fast but he’s very nervous. Especially with me with my long body – it was difficult to find the co-ordination because he was very sensitive. I’ve had good results in Grand Prix at Berlin and Brussels, but I was always fourth or fifth and he was never really able to win a class for me,” explained the tall German.

Fuchs was very happy with his third-place finish and some valuable early points in the battle for one of the top 18 places in the Western European League that will take riders to the Longines Final in Gothenburg (SWE) next April.

“This is my first big show since Tryon, so many riders I haven’t seen since my (silver) medal have been coming to me to say congratulations, and so it has been a very nice show!” — Martin Fuchs (SUI)

Deusser was reminded that he has finished first, second, and third on the World Cup podium. “Yes, my history in the World Cup sounds quite good if you look at it like that, but every year we start on zero again! It’s nice to start the season with 20 points, but it’s still a long way to the Final and I’m definitely hoping to qualify,” said the man who will line out again in Lyon (FRA), the place where he posted his memorable series victory in 2014.

Watch highlights of Daniel Deusser’s win here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

World’s Best Out in Force at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Her Majesty The Queen was present to watch the afternoon action in the Castle Arena, presenting several awards, including the Best Turned Out Trooper and The Challenge Cup and Queen’s Plate for the winners of the Land Rover Services Team Jumping.

Daniel Deusser continued his stellar Royal Windsor form to take the pinnacle of the day’s competition, The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes For The King’s Cup with Britain’s Guy Williams taking the evening’s Falcon Stakes, much to the delight of the home crowd.

In the Driving, a familiar face sits in pole position of the horse four-in-hand ahead of the cones phase, with eight-time Royal Windsor winner Boyd Exell occupying the top spot.

SHOW JUMPING: DEUSSER AND EQUITA MAKE IT TWO FROM TWO WHILE WILLIAMS POSTS A WIN FOR BRITAIN

Daniel Deusser and Equita Van T Zorgvliet made it two from two on their Royal Windsor debut, winning the feature class of the day The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes For The King’s Cup.

Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s 1.55m course posed several challenges in the first round, with a difficult line of two doubles catching several combinations out early on and a particularly spooky swan themed fence causing a few problems too. 10 of the 30 starters jumped clear to make it through to the competitive jump-off, which featured many of the world’s best riders.

First to go in the jump-off was the class winner from two years ago, Laura Kraut (USA), riding Catwalk 22, who jumped immaculately to set the standard with a clear round in a time of 38.99. Canada’s Tiffany Foster took over the pole position as fourth to go with a particularly tight turn to fence eight, the swans, to shave 1.87 seconds off Kraut’s time; however, her lead was short-lived as Britain’s Robert Whitaker rode an immaculate round, turning especially tight to the double down the final line to take over the top spot. Next into the arena, 2008 Olympic Champion Eric Lamaze (CAN) showed that the time could be beaten, riding a very fast round, but the twelve-year-old gelding Chacco Kid clipped the vertical going into the final double to finish on four faults.

With two former world number one riders still to come, Whitaker’s lead was never secure, and Kent Farrington (USA) came close, his nimble chestnut gelding Creedance covering the ground quickly, but with slightly wider turns they finished 0.03 seconds slower. As last to go, Daniel Deusser, riding Equita Van T Zorgvliet, retained his top form, making all the turns and striding out between the fences to post an exceptional time of 35.51 and take the victory, lining up a meeting with Her Majesty The Queen, who presented The King’s Cup to the winner.

Speaking after the presentation, Deusser said, “It’s turning out to be a good show for me this week. I’m wondering why I haven’t been here before! I’m really happy with how it went today. I managed to make a couple of really tight turns, so I thought I was quick, but I knew Robert’s horse was big striding, so I couldn’t relax. The win is extra special as I will now get to meet the Queen, which is a great honour and I am really looking forward to it.”

The highlight of the evening performance, the CSI5* Falcon Stakes, provided top class entertainment with the world’s best riders back in action. Speed was a major factor from the start, with only 10 places available in the jump-off, it was only the fastest of the 16 clear rounds from the first round that made it through. The top ten then returned in reverse order, with the advantage falling to USA’s Laura Kraut as the fastest clear in round one to be the last to go in the jump-off.

Qualifying in tenth position, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano was first to tackle the shortened jump-off course and put the pressure on from start, with his foot flat to the floor throughout and smooth tight turns posting a clear round in 35.75 seconds. Britain’s Scott Brash followed him into the arena and immediately took over the lead with an incredibly slick round, saving time with the tightest of turns, to record a time of 35.40. The lead changed several times before the end; first it was Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, who flew straight out of the gate, making up time across the ground to overtake Brash, with William Funnell (GBR) coming close too, but it was Britain’s Guy Williams as the penultimate to go, who took the victory. Riding the thirteen-year-old stallion Rouge De Ravel, Williams kept up the pace throughout and pulled off an exceptional turn to the Hermès vertical at the far end to make up 0.36 seconds on Guerdat.

Williams praised his horse following his victory. “He’s a really good horse and I know he’s fast, so with a good draw, I knew I was in with a chance. It’s always good to win on home soil and the crowd here tonight was fantastic, so it’s been a great night.”

SHOWING: PONIES TAKE TO THE FORE

India Till scooped the biggest prize of her career so far when her 128cm show pony, Rotherwood Rainmaker, landed the coveted Martin Collins Enterprises Show Pony Championship title, one of the most sought-after accolades on the pony Showing circuit.

After winning a strong class, the diminutive pair defied the rain to command the Castle Arena, prompting judge D Price Jones to comment: “We were looking for a quality pony that would carry a child safely and prettily. This pony does exactly that.”

A former Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) reserve with previous jockey Poppy Carter, the exquisite bay has introduced India to top flight showing, still produced by Poppy’s mother, Katy Carter.

Reserve went to the 148cm victors, Phoebe Price and her 2016 HOYS champion and last year’s HOYS class winner, Litton Enterprise, a 12-year-old produced by Julie Templeton.

The Novice Show Pony Championship title is equally sought-after. This year it fell to Robert Walker’s son Sam, who celebrated his 14th birthday five days earlier, with Julie Rucklidge’s homebred five-year-old 138cm class winner, Jackets Dynasty, also produced by Julie Templeton. The charming bay mare is following in illustrious footsteps, as both her dam, Jackets Maybee, and granddam Jackets Maysong won at Royal Windsor and went on to triumph at HOYS.

After some strong classes, the BSPS Mountain and Moorland Ridden Championship — and coveted ticket to the Heritage Finale at Olympia, The London International Horse Show in December — went to Becki Penny with Lynn Scott’s ultra-consistent homebred Welsh section C stallion, Lynuck The Showman.

Two Connemara ponies dominated the popular Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony classes. Riverside Daffodil, owned and ridden by Renee Nichols, jumped a super round to head the exceeding 143cm division and stand champion, ahead of the exceeding 133cm but not exceeding 143cm class victor, Hearnesbrook New Moon, owned by Phyll Buxton and ridden by Ella Dalton.

DRIVING: EXELL EXCELS IN TRICKY CONDITIONS

In horse four-in-hands, the leader – reigning world champion and winner here eight times – Boyd Exell (AUS) drove surely and confidently in wet conditions, recording the fastest time in five of the obstacles. He won this section and increased his lead to an impressive 20 penalties. His closest challenger at this time is Belgium’s Edouard Simonet whose careful marathon – he was third in the phase – moved him into second place overall, from fifth after the dressage. Father and son competitors from the Netherlands, Ijsbrand and Bram Chardon, the latter competing in horse four-in-hands for the first time here, moved up the leader board to take third and fourth places, respectively, less than one penalty separating them.

Horse pairs saw a change in leader when second placed Beat Schenk from Switzerland moved up to first place ahead of France’s Franck Grimonprez, a member of France’s bronze medal winning team at the 2017 World Horse Pairs Championships in Slovenia. Germany’s Sebastian Warneck, a silver team medallist in Slovenia last year, moved up a place to third.

Positions changed, too, in pony four-in-hands. Overnight leader Tinne Bax (BEL) dropped from first place to third, while Great Britain’s young pony four-in-hand competitor, Roger Campbell, drove an outstanding marathon to win this section and secure him second place ahead of the cones phase. He is less than three penalties behind the new overnight leader Jan de Boer from the Netherlands, who has six previous wins at Royal Windsor with his team of Welsh ponies.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available via www.rwhs.co.uk.

Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44 (0)203 176 0355

Inside the Dutch Masters: Saturday 10th March

Lorenzo De Luca (picture: Ashley Neuhof).

Behind the Scenes with Lorenzo De Luca, Number One Italian Rider

Who do you think is your biggest competitor on Sunday?

“There were some great performances yesterday. I think Philipp Weishaupt is looking very good, of course Daniel Deusser was on top form last night and Luciana Diniz has been riding really well so far this year.”

“It is going to be a very tough competition as there are a lot of good riders in the line-up!”

Do you have any superstitions before you compete?

“Not really. I just stay relaxed and keep my horse nice and quiet; he is very sensitive, so I need to be calm for him. I just focus on my horse, myself and that’s it!”

What advice can you give to young riders who aspire to be in your position one day?

“My best advice would be ‘to not go too quick!’ That can cause all sorts of problems. My second piece of advice is to keep learning and growing. The Show Jumping world is such a magical place, every horse and every rider is different, so you can always expand your knowledge of the sport.”

Thoughts on the course Sunday?

“It is going to be hard! Last year I remember the course was very difficult, and now the prize money has been increased and it is part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping; the competition is going to be tougher than ever. I think the crowds are in for a treat!”

Behind the Stable Door with Sean Lynch, Daniel Deusser’s Groom

Who is Daniel riding in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday?

“He is riding Cornet D’Amour on Sunday, a really special horse with a very big character. He is very sensitive to noise and when there’s lots of it; he’s not the easiest to control but he is one of the nicest horses to be around. All my horses are nice and normal though, so I never have a problem with them.”

What is the horse’s routine immediately after a big competition like the Rolex Grand Prix at a Major?

“We wash them down and give them some hay, so they can relax and cool down. We put the ice boots on and then follow up with the spa boots and as soon as they are dry we put a massage blanket on for 45 minutes! The massage blanket is amazing and has different programmes, so we usually put it on the programme designed for back treatment relief if they have jumped a big class. Cornet gets more spa treatments than any of us do!”

Are you and Daniel thinking about the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping?

“I am hoping that Sunday goes well and then we can really start to focus on the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.”

“It has made show jumping more interesting for the riders and the public, and it is certainly the thing that riders talk about wanting to win the most.”

“So, if we have success in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday we will be planning our schedule around the next Majors for sure.”

How do you cope with the pressure of a Rolex Grand Prix? Does Daniel feel the pressure? 

“I do feel the pressure a bit! I have to do my job well enough to make sure Daniel has the best chance on Sunday. We have to work together to make sure the horse is fit and is in peak condition. With Cornet D’Amour I always get quite nervous, especially when he has won a class already like he did in the Grand Prix qualifier last night. Sometimes I just stay quiet for the whole day and don’t talk to anyone!”

“Daniel is Mr. Cool! He doesn’t let the pressure get to him; he knows what he needs to do and does the job. For me he is one of the best riders around, very relaxed and very calm.”

The Audi Prize, and second qualifier of the Rolex Grand Prix, provided an evening of world-class entertainment in the Brabanthal arena, with only five of the 41 starters jumping clear in the first round. Maikel Van Der Vleuten was third to go in the jump-off, navigating the course in a nimble fashion to produce the winning round of the night.

1st Place: MAIKEL VAN DER VLEUTEN (NED)

  • World number 11
  • Horse: Arera C, a 13-year-old bay mare

2nd Place: JOHNNY PALS (NED)

  • One of the top Dutch riders
  • Horse: Chat Botte Du Ruisseau Z, a 10-year-old chestnut stallion

3rd Place: PEDER FREDRICSON (SWE)

  • European Champion
  • Horse: Hansson WL, A 10-year-old bay stallion

E-Mail: press@rolexgrandslam.com
Internet: www.rolexgrandslam.com