Tag Archives: Jessica Mendoza

Six Times Champion Boyd Exell Triumphs Again at Olympia

Saturday’s sell-out crowd watched admirably as The FEI World Cup™ Driving Leg presented by Dodson & Horrell took to the arena with Boyd Exell demonstrating an unbeatable performance and taking home the title.

Lorenzo De Luca, the Italian rider who is proving such a hit, won the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes and is now second in the H&M Leading Rider of Show rankings behind Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson ahead of H&M Sunday.

Jessica Mendoza was masterful when taking the under-23 title; Laura Renwick notched up Britain’s first senior win and the talented young Irishman Bertram Allen triumphed in the Christmas Masters.

The world’s leading driver Boyd Exell (AUS) showed the enthusiastic full house at Olympia just why he deserves that title. The six times World Cup™ Driving Champion and four times individual gold medallist drove two peerless rounds in the final leg of the FEI World Cup™ Driving to take the win.

Finishing in third place last night in the qualifying round, behind Hungary’s Jozsef Dobrovitz snr and Koos de Ronde (NED), meant Exell took on the course before them. Up until then only one of the four previous drivers – Georg von Stein from Germany – had posted a clear round. Exell showed his intent by driving clear and clipped ten seconds off von Stein’s time. Following him, Dobrovitz and de Ronde both drove clear but Exell took the lead by some three seconds.

The top three competed again over a shortened course, starting from a zero score. Dobrovitz lost time at obstacle one attempting a tight turn and then had a knockdown at obstacle two. De Ronde pulled out all the stops and secured a very fast time but in doing so picked up five penalties.

Exell only had to drive clear but that was no barrier to him putting his foot flat to the floor. He galloped home clear two seconds faster than de Ronde to notch up his third win in FEI World Cup™ Driving qualifiers this season, keeping him in the top of the rankings.

All three top drivers paid tribute to the highly-charged atmosphere at Olympia where the crowd is so enthusiastically engaged with the competition.

“I feel on home ground here,” remarked Exell who moved from the UK to Holland two years ago.

“That does increase the pressure for me but equally we are all lifted by the crowd. The Show is the one we want to be at.” A sentiment endorsed by Dobrovitz competing here for the second year running.

Daniel Naprous (GBR) remarked, “Olympia gives British drivers the most wonderful platform to compete against the best in the world. They are so welcoming to us and we are getting better as a result. It’s a thank-you to Olympia.”

Italian rider Lorenzo De Luca brought the crowd to their feet with a stunning performance in the jump-off of the Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Tree Stakes.

The Olympia crowd has taken the young Italian to their hearts this week and he did not disappoint, pulling off an audacious round on the white-faced chestnut by Heartbreaker, Halifax van het Kluizebos, to clinch victory from his Stephex Stables team mate Daniel Deusser on Hidalgo VG.

The competition involved a timed first round from which 14 went through to the jump-off. Ben Maher put up a spirited challenge to finish third and best British on the eight-year-old Don Vito.

Lorenzo, a member of the Italian Air Force, is trained by Dutchman Henk Nooren and is based in Brussels with the Stephex Stables. This is his first appearance at Olympia. He will ride Limestone Grey in the Longines FEI World Cup™ Qualifier presented by H&M and Halifax in the Grand Prix.

“Halifax is very fast and careful and he wants to do his best,” said Lorenzo, 29, who is 17th in the Longines FEI World Rankings. “This is a super show. Everyone told me it was great, but now I know. It’s a proper horse show.”

The Italian star is now second in the H&M Leading Rider of the Show rankings, 18 points behind the runaway leader, Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson, ahead of H&M Sunday.

Laura Renwick secured Britain’s first outright show jumping win of the week in The Shelly Ashman International Ltd, E M Rogers (Transport) Ltd Father Christmas Stakes. This was an accumulator competition in which a clear jump over a fence accrues points, with a final optional joker fence offering a tempting double, its easier counterpart.

Remarkably, Laura has only ridden her winning partner, Con Chilli, for just two months. “She’s usually ridden by Yazmin Pinchen, but I have the ride on her as Yazmin is pregnant,” Laura explained. “The other two horses I have here are also Yazmin’s, but this will only be my second show with those. They are all going really well here and I am very fortunate to have them.”

Laura was also in the final shake up of The Christmas Masters, in which the top seven leading riders of the show so far were eligible to compete.

In this class, riders nominate a fence to go up before they jump. If they jump it clear, the prize pot increases by £500; if not, the prize fund stays the same and the fence is dropped back to its previous height. After each round, all those still clear jump again until the fifth and final round, in which the jump-off is against the clock.

Laura (Dominant H), Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson (H&M Indiana) and Irishman Bertram Allen (High Valley) remained after four rounds, and went head-to-head for the winner-takes-all purse of £14,000.

Unfortunately, first-drawn Laura finished on four faults, but Bertram posted a fast clear, with a time that Malin could not match.

“It wasn’t an easy class to win. Often, if you get to the fifth round, you’ve won,” said Bertram. “It was difficult to know how fast to go as I was mid-drawn, so I didn’t want to risk going too fast and having a fence down.”

However, the young Irishman rode his round to perfection to take the spoils.

Team GBR Olympic reserve, Jessica Mendoza, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in show jumping, but until now there was one gap in her CV: The Dodson & Horrell and The World Class Programme U23 British Championships at Olympia, the London International Horse Show.

She put that right with a masterful victory on Wan Architect, despite 15-year-old Jack Whitaker, the European Pony Champion, running her close to the wire with a mature performance on the grey stallion Grade A Valentin R, one of three horses he qualified for Olympia.

Yazmin Davis finished third on Zilverster ll, having incurred a time penalty in the jump-off.

Jessica, Jack and Yazmin all jumped clear in the first round and were joined in the jump-off by the fastest of the four-faulters, who knew they had nothing to lose by going for speed and pressurising the top three.

Graham Gillespie set a blistering target with a clear round in 35.86 seconds on Celine, which was good enough to take fourth place, and Millie Allen, a star of the Pony and Junior circuits, was fifth on the stallion Balou Star.

Despite all her experience, Jessica, 21, commented that she felt Kelvin Bywater’s track was “stiff enough” and said: “I watched everyone’s rounds very carefully. Jack did a very smooth round which was hard to gauge so I knew I had to go for it. I’ve been second and third in this class so winning it at last really means a lot.”

Jessica, who has been competing Wan Architect in other classes at Olympia, was 4.54 seconds faster than Jack but his calm, classical approach was impressive and father Michael, who was in the audience for once, was visibly as proud as punch.

“I’m very, very pleased,” Jack said afterwards, “though I should have gone quicker! This is a prestigious class and I’ve been trying to get here for ages.”

Other highlights include Lee Windeatt and Ag Ch Darleyfalls Pipistrelle taking the victory in The Kennel Club Large Senior Dog Agility Finals.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk
0203 176 0355
www.olympiahorseshow.com

Brilliant British Post Back-to-Back Win in Rome

(L to R) Michael Whitaker, Di Lampard Chef d’Equipe, Ben Maher, Jessica Mendoza and John Whitaker. (FEI/Stefano Secchi)

Rome (ITA), 27 May 2016 – Team Great Britain clinched the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping title for the second year in a row at Piazza di Siena in Rome (ITA). And it was the genius of the legendary John Whitaker that sealed the result with a brilliant last-to-go run with Ornellaia. The 60-year-old rider is one of the best-loved characters in the sport, and could afford a single fence down in the second round. But true to form, he left all the poles in place to post one of four double-clears on a day of brilliant sport to secure the winning British total at just four faults.

The World and European champions from The Netherlands were firm favourites as the action began, but they disappeared from the reckoning with a disappointing second round and it was the French and Americans who eventually filled runner-up spot with 12 faults each. Germany slotted into fourth ahead of the The Netherlands in fifth while Canada lined up sixth ahead of Sweden and Italy who divided seventh place.

Pre-Olympic tension

The air at Piazza di Siena was filled with pre-Olympic tension and, from the outset, the British demonstrated their resolve. As defending Olympic champions they came up against teams they may well meet in Rio de Janeiro (BRA) in just over two months’ time, and the message was loud and clear. They were the only side to conclude the first round on a zero score as John Whitaker’s first fault-free effort was matched by Ben Maher with Tic Tac and Jessica Mendoza riding Spirit T.  Michael Whitaker, who along with his older brother was also a member of the winning team at Piazza di Siena 12 months ago, produced the first-round discount score with nine faults from Cassionato. But his foot-perfect second run would prove pivotal to the end result.

This was Great Britain’s eleventh victory at Piazza di Siena since the Nations Cup was first staged at the iconic venue in 1926 and, as Chef d’Equipe, Di Lampard, pointed out afterwards, Friday’s performances just make her selection decisions for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games all the more difficult. “But that’s OK,” she said. “It’s a really good problem to have!”

Wide open

As the second round began the competition was still wide open, with the Americans, Dutch, French and the host nation all stalking the leading British with just four faults on their respective score-cards. Sweden had already racked up eight faults while the Canadians and Germans had nine apiece, and with additional penalties none of these nations would feature prominently at the end of the day. One of the standout performances of the day, however, came from Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson and the very exciting 10-year-old mare H&M Cue Channa 42 who cruised around both rounds with the greatest of ease.

Despite a fabulous double-clear from Penelope Leprevost and Vagabond de la Pomme, the French lost their grip, and the Americans did likewise when also adding eight more faults even though their anchor partnership of McLain Ward and HH Azur were also foot-perfect for a second time. Italian chances were dashed with 20 faults to add to their tally, but the biggest surprise was the collapse of the Dutch whose pathfinder, World and European champion Jeroen Dubbeldam, added 16 faults to his first-round single error with SFN Zenith on a day his team will probably prefer to forget.

It was impossible to predict the outcome, however, when Ben Maher kicked off Britain’s second round with a mistake at the first element of the difficult double at fence eight as well as the last fence. Mendoza hit only the delicate vertical that followed the spooky hedge-filled oxer at fence five, but then Michael Whitaker began to pull it back with a great clear from the enigmatic Cassionato who was a lot more settled on his second tour of the arena.

This ensured that his brother had a fence in hand coming into the ring to bring the competition to a close. John said afterwards that it was less pressure than 12 months ago – “I didn’t have a fence in hand that day” – but he still had a job to do. And he did it in style, his clear round leaving his team two fences clear of the joint-runners-up from America and France.

Delighted

John was delighted with Ornellaia. “This was her first Nations Cup and she showed what she can do,” he said. He has already decided that his more familiar ride, the stallion Argento, won’t be going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “Argento is a great horse; he’s a real fighter but he has his limits and I don’t want to push him beyond them. Ornellaia has done some good things already; she’s really careful and she’s the one for Rio if I am needed, and if I am asked to go. I’m definitely keen to go; the Olympics are the Olympics and there’s nothing like them; everyone feels that way, but I’m probably not in the top five (for selection) if Big Star (Nick Skelton) and Sanctos (Scott Brash) are ready,” he explained.

John reckons his brother Michael’s grey stallion also has great Olympic potential. “There’s nothing that horse can’t jump!” he said. Michael admitted that Cassionato was “a bit too fresh” in the first round – “He was jumping up so high, so in the second round I had to ask him to come back down!” he explained. Cassionato certainly seems to have a whole lot of fun every time he goes in the ring – “He’s a bit like a very naughty boy!” Michael said with a laugh.

It was John who was the hero of the day, however, and not for the first time in his life. This man whose career has embraced so many wonderful moments and so many great horses, including the legendary Milton and Ryan’s Son, said this evening that he continues to relish the fun and excitement every time he goes in the ring. “I don’t feel the pressure anymore; I’ve done everything I’ve ever wanted to do so now I just go out and enjoy myself – I’ve got nothing to prove,” said the great horseman, who once again was filled with pride when sealing victory for his country.

That pride and passion precisely mirrors the unique spirit of the jewel in the crown of the FEI – the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup.

For further information on the ninth leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping 2016 series Piazza di Siena in Rome (ITA), visit www.piazzadisiena.org or contact Press Officer Caterina Vagnozzi, press@equi-equipe.com, +39 335 6107070.

The next leg of the series will take place in St Gallen (SUI) on Friday 3 June. For information on the Swiss fixture, go to www.csio.ch or contact Press Officer Roman Gasser, roman.gasser@csio.ch, +41 79 635 50 05.

Full result here.

Quotes:

Show Director Eleonora Ottaviani: “What makes me really happy is that all the riders and the Chef d’equipes wanted to give priority to the Nations Cup this week, because this is our sport.”

Show President, Vittorio Orlandi: “I’m very glad that my two friends for many years, John and Michael (Whitaker), have won with their team. Congratulations to you and the young riders on your team; today’s competition was super-spectacular!”

FEI Jumping Director John Roche: “This was an outstanding performance by the British today. And the FEI is very proud to be connected with this event at this iconic location; long may it continue!”

Jessica Mendoza GBR: “This is my first time in Rome; the jumping was amazing and the course was great. I’ll be enjoying a few drinks with my team tonight!”

Ben Maher GBR: “I started riding Tic Tac in January in 1.40m classes and La Baule (in France, two weeks ago) was his first international show where we jumped 1.50m. I’m still getting to know him but he has a lot of experience and I’m looking forward to the future with him.”

For further information on the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Jumping series, check out this link.

By Louise Parkes

Media Contacts:

At Rome:

Caterina Vagnozzi
Press Officer
press@equi-equipe.com
+39 3356107070

At FEI:

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

Jessica Mendoza Raises the Spirits

British rising star Jessica Mendoza’s first campaign in senior classes at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, got off to a spectacular start with a brilliant win in the Longines Christmas Cracker on a sell-out evening.

Fifteen horses went through to the jump-off, six of them British, and Laura Renwick threw down the challenge with a superb round on her World Cup horse, Bintang ll, for 33.09 seconds.

But then Jessica pulled off an astonishing tight turn in the air on her brilliantly nippy Spirit T. The crowd gasped, and there was a worrying split-second when the mare rattled the first part of the double, but they continued clear and flew across the arena to the last without taking a pull.

Other riders copied, but none could catch a committed Jessica, even though the experienced Swiss rider Pius Schwizer on PSG Future came with a fraction of a second to take the runner-up spot, ahead of Laura Renwick.

“Everyone was going so quickly; I knew I had to do something,” said Jessica afterwards. “When I went into the arena, the turn looked horrible, but I knew I wouldn’t win if I didn’t do it.”

Jessica, who played a key part in achieving Britain’s Olympic qualification at the European Championships in Aachen, admitted that an international win was her big ambition for the weekend, but she has plenty more chances to impress.

At only 19, she is still eligible for the Dodson & Horrell and World Class Programme Under-23 Championship tomorrow and she has Spirit T, a 14-year-old bay mare, for the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier on Sunday and a younger horse for Monday’s Olympia Grand Prix.

Earlier, British rider Guy Williams on Golddigger pulled off an equally thrilling victory in the Levy Restaurants Snowman Stakes, in which riders were drawn in seven groups, with the fastest clear in each going through to a jump-off.

With the suspense building, it took until the last group to produce a British representative in the jump-off, and the crowd erupted into loud cheers as Guy conjured a bold clear in 58.79 seconds, the second fastest of the competition, from the willing Golddigger.

The pair was second last to go in the jump-off and the 16-year-old stallion boldly took strides out and produced huge leaps on angles.

Only German Hans-Dieter Dreher on Callisto could have beaten Guy, but, to gasps, the white-faced bay gelding put in a sharp stop when asked to make a tight turn.

Guy explained: ‘Golddigger is difficult to ride indoors because he’s got such a massive stride, but he’s such a good horse and will do anything for you.’

Dutch rider Jur Vreiling, a European team gold medallist this year, set the evening alight when triumphing in the Christmas Speed Stakes on Arezzo VDL ahead of France’s Simon Delestre (Stardust Quinhon) and Beh Maher (Boomerang). He took it in good part when taking a tumble in prize-giving and was laughing as he left the arena.

Boyd Exell will be in pole position in tomorrow’s final of the FEI World Cup™ Driving, presented by Dodson & Horrell, after producing a performance of pin-point accuracy under pressure.

The Australian, recently named the Reem Acra FEI Athlete of the Year, kept his head in a tense drive-off against experienced Dutchman Ijsbrand Chardon and the exciting young Belgian Glen Geerts. Despite having a ball down, the world champion was five seconds faster than Chardon.

‘The crowd was magnificent and spurred my horses on,’ Exell said. ‘They were flying. When I had a ball down, my navigator said, “You’d better up the pace now!”’

International event rider Pippa Funnell appeared in a new guise – as groom/navigator on the back of a carriage pulled by a pony from the World Horse Welfare, Olympia’s Charity of the Year.

In a light-hearted competition, the grooms were handed a bucket brimming with ice they could throw at a nominee of their choice. This turned out to be Roly Owers, the charity’s chief executive, who took his dousing in smiling good heart. ‘It is for a good cause, after all,” he laughed.

Pippa added: ‘This is the worthiest of causes. All the parents out there being pushed by their children to buy them a pony for Christmas, think instead of offering a good home to one that really needs it through World Horse Welfare.’

To view the full results, click HERE.

For more information, please contact Gayle Telford, Revolution Sports + Entertainment
E: gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk T: +44(0)778 757 6490 or +44(0)207 592 1207

Olympia, The London International Horse Show
The first international horse show took place in the Olympia halls in 1907. Olympia, The London International Horse Show, the event we see today, was started by Raymond Brooks-Ward in 1971. This year’s show takes place on 15-21 December 2015 in the Olympia Exhibition Hall, located in West Kensington London. The show will play host to a packed timetable of all things equestrian and is expected to welcome over 90,000 visitors. It is regarded as one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious equine competitions. The show mixes top class equestrian action, including FEI World Cup™ Jumping, Dressage and Driving with family entertainment, such as the Osborne Refrigerators Shetland Pony Grand National and The Kennel Club Dog Agility.