Tag Archives: Guy Williams

British Riders Dominate on Day Four of Royal Windsor Horse Show

Day four of Royal Windsor Horse Show welcomed the international circuit’s finest Show Jumpers, with Friday’s Manama Stakes’ winner Holly Smith making it a double in the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup. Earlier in the day, Robert Whitaker won the Martin Collins Enterprises Senior 1.45m Grand Prix, while fellow British rider, Guy Williams, took top honours in the Falcon Stakes. Her Majesty The Queen was in attendance in the Castle Arena to watch the Land Rover Services Team Jumping, the international display by the Dubai Mounted Police, and the Martin Collins Enterprises Show Pony Championship. Her Majesty also presented a number of awards, including the award to the Best Turned Out Trooper. Driver Boyd Exell looked set to take his tenth win following a competitive performance in the cross-country.

The day got underway with the two-round Martin Collins Enterprises Senior 1.45m Grand Prix, a national class held in the resplendent Castle Arena. After nine riders made it through to the second round, it was Rose Moss and Carlos F who set the early pace, going double clear in a time of 38.96 seconds. Next to go was Jay Halim, who also went double clear, much to his delight, giving his grey stallion Aragon Z 414149 a congratulatory pat on the neck. Robert Whitaker entered the Arena with Major Delacour to rapturous applause from the crowd, who encouraged the duo over every obstacle. Whitaker produced a fluid and fault-free round, which was enough to take top spot in 32.93 seconds, over one and a half seconds ahead of second-placed Lily Freeman Attwood.

With 13 of the world’s current top 20-ranked Show Jumpers competing in the day’s showpiece class, the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup, the level of competition proved to be incredibly high from the outset. The testing 1.55m Bob Ellis-designed course demanded every bit of skill from the 31 horse and rider combinations that started, with just six eventually progressing to the jump-off, including three British riders: Harry Charles, Ben Maher, and Holly Smith. Charles was first to go, and despite some early promise and tightly negotiated turns, he and Borsato put down the first of the swan-themed double. Friday’s Manama Stakes’ winner, Holly Smith, laid down the gauntlet producing an exceptional ride, crossing the line in 34.02 seconds. With Jessica Springsteen (USA) and Gregory Wathelet (BEL) both accruing eight penalties, it was up to Ben Maher and Martin Fuchs to challenge Smith’s time. But it wasn’t to be after both riders were unable to match Holly Smith’s unassailable time. Later in the afternoon the Leicestershire-based 30-year-old was all smiles when Her Majesty The Queen presented her with the King’s Cup trophy.

The day’s action culminated in the 1.50m Falcon Stakes, in which British riders again proved to be the dominant force. 10 riders, including three Brits, progressed to the second round, with American Kent Farrington setting the early pace, going clear with his mare Kaprice. Canadian Tiffany Foster and Swedish world number two-ranked rider, Peder Fredricson, both put in competitive performances with Foster knocking Farrington off top spot. However, there was a late charge from two experienced British riders, first from William Funnell and Billy McCain, and then from last to go Guy Williams, who masterfully steered his stallion, Rouge de Ravel, around the testing course, pipping Foster to top spot by 0.45 seconds.

Reflecting on his win, Williams said: “I won here last year, and it seems to be a great Show for me – I don’t know what it is about this Arena! I always love competing here, as the crowds are absolutely fantastic, and I hope they’re happy with another British winner.”

A seven-year-old show pony bought just two weeks ago gave veteran owner Gita Jago her first Royal Windsor open show pony title since 1992.

Sussex-based Mrs Jago, who celebrated her 95th birthday last week, was beyond excited when her John Harvey-produced 128cm winner, Whiteleaze Secret Charm, landed the Martin Collins championship in the Castle Arena — a result all the more remarkable since jockey Eva Herring, 10, had only ridden the pony once before.

Reserve went to the 138cm winners, Matthew Proctor and the Karl Morris-produced eight-year-old Reduit Royal Image.

The novice show pony title went to Cheshire with Team Hillyard, who produced the five-year-old 128cm mare Kouros Mayfia, partnered with great aplomb in the Castle Arena by Livie Smith, 10. This was only the third-ever show for the combination and as producer Lulu Hillyard commented, “It was a big ‘ask’ but Livie just rose to the occasion.”

The coveted mini title meant a major double for the team as co-producer Katie Smith — Lulu Hillyard’s daughter — led Imogen Stathern, 8, to victory on her Royal Windsor debut. Her pony, Seamoor Lady Derby, is a past victor at the Royal International Horse show, Hickstead, but it is Imogen’s first season in the show ring and therefore first visit to Royal Windsor.

Matthew Cooper claimed the ridden native championship with the Stanford family’s former Royal International Horse Show supreme, the big-winning home-produced Highland stallion Benbreac of Croila, who earned his ticket to compete in the final at Olympia in December.

Another John Harvey-produced 128cm winner, Kouros Mayfia, claimed victory for jockey Livie Smith.

Lead rein and Ridden natives — vying for a hard-fought place in the final at Olympia in December — were headed by the Stanfords’ prolific-winning Highland stallion, Benbreac of Croila, who is produced at home by the family in North Yorkshire and partnered at shows by London-based Matt Cooper.

A mainly dry day provided good conditions for competitors driving the marathon in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix. As last year, the overnight leader – world champion Boyd Exell from Australia – drove an exemplary round, his competitive times in the cross-country obstacles increasing his lead ahead of the final phase.

Exell actually came in second in the marathon phase, but just 0.03 of a penalty behind the marathon leader, Koos de Ronde from the Netherlands, who recorded the fastest time in four of the obstacles. This has moved the experienced Dutch driver up the order to third place from sixth after the dressage. Ahead of him, however, remains his fellow countryman, young driver Bram Chardon, whose good marathon – he was third overall – has retained him his second place. He is 9 penalty points adrift of leader Exell which gives the Australian three cones in hand in the final phase.

The Netherlands retain their lead position in the Nations competition with Belgium moving up from fifth into second place, France now challenging them closely for third.

Fortunes changed a little more radically in horse pairs, where the scores were considerably closer among the top competitors. A new leader emerged when third-placed after the cones, Sandro Koalick from Germany, drove a storming marathon to head this section and move into first place overall. Another to excel in the marathon, Franck Grimonprez from France, fourth in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix last year. jumped from fifth after the dressage to second overall at this stage in the competition, less than 4 penalties behind the leader. Lars Schwitte is currently in third place.

In pony four-in-hand there has been no change in the overnight order with experienced Dutch driver Jan de Boer winning the marathon to give him a comfortable lead for the final phase. Tinne Bax from Belgium retains her second place but has less than a cone in hand (3 penalties) over third placed Jaqueline Walter from Germany.

The fourth day of Royal Windsor Horse Show concluded with the third and final evening performance of The Victorian Pageant, which was attended by Her Majesty The Queen, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, and His Royal Highness Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.

More than 400 horses and a 600-strong cast of artists, dancers, and world-renowned international equestrian acts travelled from across the globe to bring the Victorian era back to life to celebrate the 200-year anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria.

British actor, writer, and director, Simon Callow CBE, was part of The Pageant’s stellar line-up bringing the evening’s festivities alive, narrating the show alongside gardener, presenter, and novelist, Alan Titchmarsh MBE, whose years of television experience brought warmth and wit to the spectacular celebratory production.

Stand-out international equestrian displays central to the extraordinary theatre included: The Dubai Mounted Police and their 40-horse Musical Ride, the Dubai Police Pipe Band, The Hungarian Csikós, stunt riders from Azerbaijan, and The Oman Royal Cavalry trick ride.

The show welcomed a number of carriage horses into the Castle Arena, helping to create scenes from the period, including Victorian London, as depicted by Dickens, complete with cockney chimney sweeps, hansom cabs, and park drags.

The 90-minute show was staged by a BAFTA award-winning team and transported the audience back to the era, drawing on some of its typical characteristics, such as the Music Hall, Gilbert & Sullivan, and Charles Dickens.

Tickets to Royal Windsor Horse Show can be booked online at www.rwhs.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0844 581 0755 from the UK and +44 (0)121 796 6100 internationally.

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

Mr Blue Sky Dazzles as Williams and Billot Share Puissance Title

Day three of Olympia, The London International Horse Show attracted a sell-out crowd for The Cayenne Puissance, one of the star attractions of the week-long event. The Puissance title was eventually shared by Great Britain’s Guy Williams (Mr Blue Sky UK) and France’s Mathieu Billot (Dassler), after both pairs cleared the formidable 7ft 4in (2.23m) high ‘red wall’ in the fifth and final round.

The opening day of the Show Jumping competition was certainly one to remember for Darragh Kenny. The 30-year-old Irishman (Cassini Z) first pipped Great Britain’s Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV) by just one hundredth of a second to take top spot in The Santa Stakes supported by Olympia. Kenny then made it a memorable double after he and his 10-year-old bay gelding, Carlson, fought off a valiant effort from Great Britain’s William Funnell (Billy McCain) to take the honours in The Musto Inside Edge Stakes. The afternoon performance of the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National was won by Meredith Reader-Smith and Holydell Poseidon, while the evening performance was won by Poppy Dadson and Merkisayre Sea Duble.

Katie Bradburne Scores a Runaway Victory

British international rider Holly Smith (Grennanstown Sarco Lux Hill) and 10-year-old Katie Bradburne (Runaway Dolly) won the ever-popular Pony Club Mini-Major from the front.

After Smith’s faultless start, Bradburne raced against the clock with the Irish-bred pony her brother, Thomas, had finished third with in this class last year.

“Holly advised me to try not to let my nerves get to me, and act like I was at home… but go a bit faster,” said Bradburne, a member of the Old Berkshire Hunt branch of the Pony Club.

However, Bradburne is well bred when it comes to jumping at speed over fences. She comes from a family steeped in racing history. Her parents are successful former jockeys, Gee Armytage and Mark Bradburne, with her uncle being 1990 Grand National winner, Marcus Armytage.

The Cayenne Puissance

A thrilling Cayenne Puissance class had the crowd roaring with excitement at Olympia, The London International Horse Show when four riders took on the 7ft 4in wall in the fifth and final round.

Only two, however, managed to leave all the bricks intact: Britain’s Guy Williams on Mr Blue Sky UK and French rider Mathieu Billot on Dassler, a horse jumped in the 2017 Cayenne Puissance by Louise Saywell.

The wall was at its highest since 2006, when John Whitaker, Robert Whitaker and Markus Fuchs shared first prize, also at 7ft 4in. Coincidentally, Williams, who lives in France, and Billot had shared the spoils in a puissance class in Rouen recently, jumping the same height.

“C’est magnifique!” said an elated Billot, who was paying his first visit to Olympia.

Williams is considering trying for a record on Mr Blue Sky because he jumps so smoothly. The horse has been taken slowly because of his height and has had some dressage training to calm him. “He makes it look easy but he’s actually quite sharp and nervous and he becomes strong to ride,” Williams explained.

Young rider Alfie Bradstock, riding H.d’Or, and regular puissance specialist Karline de Brabander from Belgium (Fantomas de Muze) also reached the final round but Bradstock hit the wall and de Brabander suffered an unfortunate fall.

Darragh Kenny’s Olympia got off to a splendid start with a double of victories. The Netherlands-based Irishman took the Santa Stakes on Cassini Z and set an unmatchable target of 48.56 seconds on Carlson in The Musto Inside Edge Stakes, a speed class. For good measure, he was also second in the opening Welcome Stakes on Billy Dorito behind Dutch rider Doron Kulpers on Freestyle. “It’s been a great day – it’ll probably all go downhill from here on,” he joked.

Kenny plans to ride Cassini in the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ on Saturday, but might consider Carlson, a new ride, in the Turkish Airlines Olympia Grand Prix on Sunday: “He’s a special horse, competitive and brave. I think he’ll be good.”

The Pony Club Mini-Major, a special class in which Pony Club members have the unforgettable experience of being paired with senior riders in Olympia’s atmospheric arena, was won by Holly Smith and Old Berkshire Hunt member Katy Bradburne, whose parents, Mark and Gee (Armytage), were successful National Hunt jockeys.

Harry Charles may not have won a class, but he collected two awards for the most promising under-25 rider: The Raymond Brooks Ward Trophy, presented by brothers Simon, James, and Nick Brooks-Ward in memory of their father, and a saddle from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers as voted for by members of the British Equestrian Writers’ Association.

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

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