Tag Archives: Royal Windsor Horse Show

Champions Crowned at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

The final day of Royal Windsor Horse Show provided top class sport and entertainment across the showground as the week’s Champions were crowned.

The pinnacle of the CSI5* Show Jumping, the Rolex Grand Prix went to Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat after a gripping jump-off, featuring some of the world’s best riders.

After a fantastic week of Showing action, which included wins for Her Majesty The Queen, the Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship went to Robert Walker and his Hunter Champion, View Point.

Her Majesty The Queen was present to watch the retirement of her homebred former racehorse, Barbers Shop, winner of the Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Championship in 2017, in an emotional ceremony in the Castle Arena.

SHOW JUMPING: A SPECIAL VICTORY FOR STEVE GUERDAT

A thrilling Rolex Grand Prix provided the perfect finale to Show Jumping at Royal Windsor, with the world’s best riders in action, all looking to claim the prestigious title and the €75,000 first prize.

A full field of 30 riders contested Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s up-to-height 1.60m course, which posed several challenges, with faults falling evenly throughout the course. 10 combinations jumped clear through to the jump-off, setting up an exciting climax.

Britain’s William Whitaker was the first to take on the shortened course, jumping a brilliant clear round to put the pressure on. Cousin Robert Whitaker followed and showed that the time could be beaten, but was the first of several combinations to incur four faults at the Rolex oxer at the last.

Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) put in a physical display of riding to push Caspar 232 on between fences and take the lead with an impressive time of 44.31; however, it was Laura Kraut (USA) with new ride Catwalk 22 who lay down the gauntlet to the remainder of the field, knocking 0.79 seconds off Gaudiano’s time. Kraut, who has only had the ride on the eleven-year-old Catwalk 22 for three weeks, showed her brilliance, making slightly wider turns, which allowed a smooth and fast-paced round to take the lead.

With four left to go, including two Olympic champions and the reigning European champion, it was a nail-biting conclusion, and it was Steve Guerdat (SUI) with his consistent mare Bianca who managed to pip Kraut to the post with a relentless pace and quick turnbacks to shave another 0.41 seconds off the time, finishing in a time of 43.11. Canada’s Eric Lamaze riding Fine Lady 5, one of the fastest combinations on the international circuit looked like he had the class in the bag as last to go, crossing the line in a time of 41.82, but was another to succumb to the final fence, finishing on four faults.

Celebrating his victory, Guerdat, who last competed at Windsor at the European Championships in 2009, where he won team gold, said, “Windsor has been a good place for me. I had a really good feeling coming in to today. Bianca has been jumping really good and gaining experience and she felt really fresh and happy to jump this week. It might sound crazy, as amazing as she is, but this is the first class we have won together, so I’m really pleased for he; she really deserves it; it’s very special.”

Earlier in the day, there was a British victory in the Palm Speed Stakes, with Robert Smith taking the win riding the eleven-year-old grey gelding Cimano E.

As second to go, compatriot William Whitaker set the standard aboard Lammy Beach, however his lead was short-lived as Wilm Vermeir (BEL), already a winner this week, shaved 0.2 seconds off his time to take over the top spot. Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano, always a threat against the clock, wasted no time from the start, making an exceptionally tight turn to the final line to go faster still, posting a time of 54.87 aboard the nine-year-old Einstein.

With a strong field to follow, the pressure was on to post a fast time, which resulted in a few mistakes as riders chased the leading time. Robert Smith negotiated the twisty track brilliantly, moving quickly across the ground and making the tightest of turns throughout to set the new pace with a time of 54.01, over half-a-second faster than Gaudiano. Smith’s time proved unbeatable, Frenchman Olivier Robert gave it his best shot, making a new move inside an oxer to number eight, but his effort was only good enough for third position.

Speaking after the class, Smith said, “It’s always great to have a home win, but the Show here at Windsor is as good as anywhere in the world and it’s always top-class competition. The classes this week have all been fast and very competitive, so it’s not easy to get in the money, so I’m really pleased to be going home with a win.”

DRIVING: A NINTH VICTORY FOR EXELL

The world’s number one horse four-in-hand driver, Boyd Exell from Australia, showed yet again why he has held this title consistently over the last decade. He steered his team of black horses – three Gelderlanders and an Oldenburg mare – to his ninth CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix victory at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

With nearly 20 penalties in hand after the marathon, the result seemed never in doubt, but the cones course still has to be driven and course designer, Johan Jacobs from the Netherlands, had set a course that presented a strong challenge to all drivers. Last to go, Exell had one ball down and collected 0.33 time penalties but he remained the comfortable and much applauded winner.

Edouard Simonet from Belgium, a protegee of Exell’s and winner of the marathon section here last year, retained the second place which he had claimed after the marathon, his team of black Arab cross Friesians looking ever more confident. Third place – and an outstanding result – went to Bram Chardon, the 25-year-old son of Ijsbrand Chardon, the Netherlands’ leading driver over two decades; he moved ahead of his father in the cones phase at this, his Royal Windsor debut in horse four-in-hands.

Switzerland’s Beat Schenk, leader after the marathon phase, retained his winning position in horse pairs, to record his fourth Royal Windsor victory. The ten-time Swiss champion pairs a black German-bred horse with a grey Lippizaner; with them he also took the bronze medal at last year’s World Horse Pairs Championship at Lipica, Slovenia. Germany claimed second and third places in this class with Sebastian Warneck and Dennis Schneiders, moving up from third and fifth, respectively.

In pony four-in-hands Great Britain’s hopes were high when young driver Roger Campbell’s excellent marathon put him into second place overall. In third place behind him, Tinne Bax from Belgium applied all possible pressure in the cones phase by posting the only double clear of the class. With less than one penalty between them, Roger could have neither driving nor time penalties; sadly, his one cone down dropped him to third. The winner was Jan de Boer, whose team of Welsh ponies rose to the occasion to give the Dutchman his seventh Royal Windsor victory.

SHOWING: ROBERT WALKER REIGNS SUPREME

Wednesday’s Hunter Champion, View Point ridden by Robert Walker, remained foot perfect in the electric Castle Arena in front of Her Majesty The Queen to become this year’s Royal Windsor Supreme Ridden Showing Champion. Sixteen of the week’s high-class champions came before judges Carl Hester MBE and Charlotte Dujardin CBE to select which stood out above the others.

Hester said: “We were looking for a correct type that looked easy to ride and covered the ground effortlessly.”

The reserve went to the reining Horse of the Year Show Supreme Pony, Lucy Richardson’s Welsh Section A gelding, Thistledown Van Der Vaart, ridden by her daughter Lilly and produced by Sharn Linney.

Earlier in the day, North Yorkshire-based William Pittendrigh jumped one of the few clear rounds to win the Intermediate Working Hunter Pony Championship, and a storming gallop clinched his first Royal Windsor title. His partner was his mother’s six-year-old Silver Lough. Reserve went to the class runner-up, Jodie Creighton, who traveled from Northern Ireland specially to compete at the prestigious event with her seven-year-old, Newmarket Alloy, earning the Royal International ticket as Silver Lough had already qualified.

Oli Hood floated away with the Riding Horse Championship sponsored by Mr and Mrs Phil Swallow for the second year running on Annabel Jenks’ stunning gelding Diamonds Are Forever, who triumphed here last year with Oli’s father Allister. When local rider Jayne Ross won the small class and stood reserve with Diane Stennett’s Casino, the result was an exact duplicate – not only of last year’s Royal International Horse Show, but also The Horse of The Year Show, where Diamonds Are Forever went on to stand Supreme Champion.

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

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

Spectacular Dujardin Dominates on Day Three of Royal Windsor Horse Show

CSI5* Show Jumping kicked off on day three of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, with five of the world’s top 10 riders taking to the prestigious Castle Arena over the course of the day. The highlight of the evening performance, the CDI4* Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music, once again saw Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester dominate, taking the top two spots for the second night in succession. Earlier in the day, there was a popular victory for Her Majesty The Queen with her homebred mare, Balmoral Mandarin, in the Highland Showing class.

DRESSAGE: FREESTYLE BY NAME, FREESTYLE BY NATURE

Mount St John Freestyle lived up to her name, winning the FEI Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. Ridden by Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin, the pair dominated the class, running away with the victory and was the only one of the 12 combinations to break the 80% barrier with a score of 81.2%.

The nine-year-old mare produced a confident programme that made the most of her off-the-floor paces, impressive passage and extensions.

“That was only her second freestyle and it’s not something we practice at home so I am really happy. Everything she does, she does so well and I can’t ask for more, especially at this stage,” said Charlotte who rode the programme to the music ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ that was originally made for Valegro. “It was Valegro’s very first music and brings back many memories and always gives me goosebumps – and I just love riding to it.”

Carl Hester also chose to introduce Hawtins Delicato to freestyle using a former successful programme, originally used for his Olympic team gold medal horse, Uthopia. Delicato, like Freestyle, however also looked at ease performing to music.

“He felt much more rideable tonight,” said Carl who bought the British-bred gelding as a four-year-old from breeder Judith Davies, and has since bought a sibling. “He is a very exciting horse and at this stage just needs nursing along.”

Former British team rider Gareth Hughes finished one better tonight to make the top three with Don Carissimo and was ‘over the moon’ with the outcome. “That is only his second outing this year and was a whole lot better than the first – he is a real trier,” said Gareth.

Once again the five British riders took the first five places, with British-based Dane Ulrik Moelgaard and Michigan completing the top six.

SHOW JUMPING: D-DAY AT ROYAL WINDSOR AS CSI5* GETS UNDERWAY

Daniel Deusser made a winning debut at Royal Windsor Horse Show, taking the feature class of the day, the 1.50m CSI5* Bahrain Pearl Stakes, in spectacular style. With 16 horses through from the first round, it was an exhilarating jump-off, with an open course encouraging forward riding and leaving no margin for error. As second to go, Canada’s Eric Lamaze and the brilliant Fine Lady 5, one of the fastest combinations on the international circuit, set the pace with a fast and faultless round that was sure to take some beating. Following him into the prestigious Castle Arena, Britain’s Robert Smith, looked like he might pose a serious threat, with an extremely tight turn to the double across the middle of the arena, but he crossed the line in a time 0.58 seconds behind Lamaze, enough for eventual fourth.

As fifth to go in the jump-off, Deusser, riding the fourteen-year-old mare Equita Van T Zorgvliet, rode a beautifully smooth and deceptively fast round to shave 0.15 seconds off the previous fastest time and take the lead, stopping the clock in 37.63 seconds. With 11 riders to follow, the win was by no means certain, but no-one could topple Deusser from pole position. The notoriously fast Emanuele Gaudiano, riding Chalou, posed the biggest challenge as last to go, but despite exceptionally tight turns throughout, his time of 38.22 seconds was only good enough for third place.

Speaking after the class, Deusser said, “I am very happy with my horse Equita Van T Zorgvliet. I know she has a very big stride and is naturally very fast. I saw a bit of Eric’s round, so I knew I had to try hard to beat his time, but everything went well and I’m really happy about that. It’s my first time here at Windsor and I was very impressed when I walked onto the showground; it’s a beautiful showground; there’s a lot of space to ride and it’s great to see such a big crowd on a Friday afternoon. I must say congratulations to the organisers!”

Earlier in the day, it was a Belgian one-two in the opening CSI5* competition of the Show, the Manama Speed Stakes, a 1.45m two phase competition. As first to go, Ireland’s Cian O’Connor set the standard with a double clear aboard Veneno, however compatriot Bertram Allen was the first to lay down the gauntlet, knocking over eight seconds off O’Connor’s time, to put the pressure on the remaining competitors. Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr, a recent winner at CSI4* Hagen, jumped an impressive round, keeping his foot to the floor throughout and making an exceptionally tight turn to the Big Ben fence at 12, to post a time of 28.93 and take the lead. Crowd favourite, Britain’s John Whitaker, came close to challenging with a time of 30.25, but it was not until the penultimate to go, Wilm Vermeir, riding the twelve-year-old chestnut mare Gentiane De La Pomme, that the lead was jeopardised. Taking a stride out to the planks at 11 and galloping to the last, Vermeir managed to knock 0.27 seconds off Mathy Jr’s time to take the victory.

SHOWING: ROYAL WINDSOR DEBUTANTE TAKES VICTORY

A Welsh Section C stallion was this year’s judges’ choice as Horse & Hound Mountain and Moorland Supreme In-Hand champion. Moorcroft The Master, a 13-year-old bay stallion owned and bred by the Howard family from Wales, looked majestic in the sunshine as he strode away with this most prestigious award.

Janine Sehne’s versatile Connemara mare, Tyan Ma’Lady, was reserve in the capable hands of Sue Deakin, who will partner the eight-year-old in the BSPS Ridden Mountain and Moorland section.

Her Majesty The Queen, who as always took a keen interest in these classes, posted her second win of the Show when her home-bred mare, Balmoral Mandarin, headed her Highland class and stood reserve champion of the breed.

Oxfordshire-based producer Jo Bates clinched The Count Robert Orssich Hack Championship for the second year running with Suzanna Welby’s 2016 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) champion, Elusive, after some of the strongest classes seen for some years. In the Castle Arena finale, the elegant bay pipped the reigning HOYS victor, Young Lochinvar, who won the Small Height division.

The Martin Collins Enterprises Cob Championship went to Lancashire-based home producer Anne Gilliver after a sparkling performance on Sue Benson’s “low-mileage” lightweight winner, Whitegate Dazzler. Although Anne has ridden at the Show before and judged here three times, this was her first Royal Windsor championship and her joy was clear to see.

“I think a lot of this horse — we don’t show him much but he’s so sensible and straightforward that he takes it all in his stride,” she said of the seven-year-old. “However, you never know what’s going to happen so this is the most tremendous thrill.”

DRIVING: A CLOSE CONTEST IN THE LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Competitors in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix horse pairs class face a close competition after today’s Dressage phase as just five penalty points separate the first four names on the leader board. In first place is last year’s winner here – Lars Schwitte from Germany – who counts his 2017 Royal Windsor win as his most memorable sporting achievement. Driving his KWPNs he drove an accurate test to take the lead less than two penalties ahead of experienced Swiss horse pairs competitor Beat Schenk.

Schwitte’s win was all the more satisfying for him in that he was a late entry. Eager to compete here, he was put on a waiting list by his Federation and the Show, with his entry confirmed only in the last few weeks. As a warm-up, he competed in the Dressage phase at a GB national competition in Essex last weekend where his smooth test impressed those watching. With four international wins to his credit from 2017, he was a member of the silver medal winning team at the Horse Pairs World Championships in Slovenia.

Second-placed Schenk first competed here in 2006, when he won the horse pairs class, repeating this achievement in 2009 and 2011. In 2017, he was third at Royal Windsor, won the international event at Saumur, France and was a bronze medallist at the Horse Pairs World Championships in Slovenia.

Only just behind him in third place is Baroness Amely von Buchholtz from Argentina, a regular competitor here over the years. She took third place in the dressage phase in 2017.

ENDURANCE: ROYAL WINNER AT ROYAL WINDSOR ENDURANCE

Royal Windsor Endurance, supported by The Kingdom of Bahrain, provided another memorable day of sport, and Bahrain itself celebrated a win in the CEI2* with HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa riding Vipper De Luriecq coming in first in a time of 05:04:48. Portugal took top honours in the CEI1* with Rui Pereira riding a sublime three laps on Bloodie Mary finishing in 03:33:13.

HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa said, “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to ride in Windsor Great Park today and to be able to shake hands with her Majesty the Queen. What a pleasure, aside from winning, to come here and raise my flag and perform.”

British riders were also out in force with 68 entered across the three classes. One notable success was Carri Ann Dark from Wiltshire, who finished a brilliant third in the CEI1* on former Team GB Gelding, HS Drift.

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

Dujardin Dazzles on Second Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

International competition got well underway on the second day of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show. The CDI4* Dressage kicked off with the Al Shira’aa Grand Prix which saw Britain’s best duo, Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester, take the top spots aboard their exciting new partners, Mount St John Freestyle and Hawtins Delicato.

DRESSAGE: BRITISH RIDERS LEAD THE WAY

It might have been only the third grand prix together for Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Freestyle but it was another winning one. The pair gained their third victory in The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix with Charlotte heading off trainer, mentor and British team mate Carl Hester with Hawtins Delicato.

Freestyle, a nine-year-old mare owned by Emma Blundell of the Yorkshire based Mount St John stud, belied her main ring inexperience impressing the judges with her ground covering paces and relaxed attitude to the atmospheric arena to produce a winning score of 78.58%.

“I am chuffed to bits with her,” said the British Olympic gold medallist. “She’s so chilled and really takes everything in her stride especially as she has really done next to nothing at this international level – I am so, so happy.”

Carl was equally happy with his ride, the British-bred Hawtins Delicato, who was also competing in only his third Grand Prix and was not far behind the winning score – some judges even had the pair of riders and horses on near equal terms.

“You literally have no idea with these young horses how they will react but this is such a good arena and space and does give you an idea of how they will cope with the big occasion,” said Carl who is aiming Delicato for a team place for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ that will be held in the USA in September. “He is such a lovely horse with so much presence and the judges must, like me, also think highly of him.”

Richard Davison rounded off a British one-two-three, taking third place with his homebred Bubblingh (70.8%) while British riders Hayley Watson-Greaves and Rubins Nite, and Gareth Hughes with Don Carissimo were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Iranian rider and Windsor first-timer Litta Soheila Sohi might have finished at the other end of the leader board but was simply thrilled to be competing at the Show.

“I will never forget this moment,” said Litta, who is aiming to compete in the Asian Games in Jakarta later in the year. “This is no ordinary Show – there is so much going on at the same time; it is overwhelming. Just to be a part of it is as good as winning and I am just thrilled to be through to the freestyle tomorrow night.”

SHOWING: ROYAL WINDSOR DEBUTANTE TAKES VICTORY

Royal Windsor debutante Vikki Smith, from Hapton, Lancs, was as surprised as she was delighted to head the largest section of the Show so far. Riding Michelle Cuerden’s 14-year-old traditional stallion Del Boy, Vikki beat more than 100 entries to take the coveted Coloured Ridden Championship, having topped a line of 35 in her Native and Traditional class.

“I can’t believe a traditional pony could have beaten all the plaited horses,” Vikki said, “but Del Boy is an out-and-out showman and just loves his job.”

She now takes her place in Sunday afternoon’s Royal Windsor Ridden Supreme Showing Championship.

Oxfordshire-based working hunter specialist, Rory Gilsenan, went one better than last year to regain the section title he last won in 2016 with Aoife, the Land Rover Lightweight Working Hunter. His partner this time was Christian Kwek’s versatile mare Kenlis Carrera, class winner and reserve Champion last year, whose fluent clear round was one of only seven over a testing course in a strong Lightweight class. A storming gallop in the Castle Arena finale then clinched the overall title ahead of the Heavyweight class victors, Katy Green and I’m a Diamond, who produced one of only two clears in her division.

Sofia Scott, of Norfolk-based Team Hood, partnered her own former flat racer L’Amiral David to win the ROR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Series, and then stand Champion.

SHOW JUMPING: BRITISH DUO VICTORIOUS ON FIRST DAY OF INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION

The opening Show Jumping class of day two, the Land Rover Grades B & C Jumping Competition, went to British Olympic team gold medalist, Ben Maher, riding Eracantos, a horse recently acquired from The Netherlands for which Maher has high hopes for the future. With 12 double clears in the 36 horse class, Maher’s second-half draw proved advantageous as he shaved 0.05 seconds off runner-up Georgia Thame’s round. Tracy Priest, who set the pace from an early draw, finished in third with her grey mare Diamants Aurora.

The first CSI2* Class of the Show, the St George Two Phase, went to Joseph Davison, riding Vilenco, a homebred Je T’Aime Flamenco mare owned by his father, Dressage supremo Richard Davison. Davison’s double clear in a time of 31.20 seconds was 0.14 seconds faster than South African Charles Luyckx in second, with Scarlett Charles, daughter of London Olympic gold medal winning Show Jumper Peter Charles, in third.

Luyckx secured his second runner-up placing of the day in the following class, the CSI2* Thames Speed Stakes sponsored by Suregrow Fertiliser Ltd, which was won by Britain’s Tracy Priest on Caristo VDL. The twisty course allowed riders to take a few risks with tight turns throughout, but it was Priest who negotiated the quickest route to take the victory.

Later in the day, the focus shifted to the young horses of the future, with the Jumping Competition for Six-Year-Old horses. 49 combinations started the 1.20m single phase competition, which proved challenging, with only eight combinations jumping a double clear. William Rekert’s exceptionally speedy round with Hot Bluebird took the spoils, over two seconds faster than Megan James in second, with Alfie Bradstock a further second behind in third.

DRIVING: WORLD-CLASS START FOR WORLD NO.1 IN THE LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX

Reigning world champion and eight times Royal Windsor winner, Boyd Exell (AUS), got off to the best possible start in the Horse Four-in-Hands in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, storming to the top of the leader board a clear five penalties ahead of his closest challenger. Driving his mixed team of black Swedish and Dutch horses, his dressage test earned him top marks from all five judges.

“The horses moved beautifully as a team,” remarked President of the Jury, Bert Jambon from Belgium. He continued, “It was an accurate test with, above all, excellent transitions.”

Following him into the arena was Chester Weber (USA) winner at the Show in 2014 and 2015. His bay Dutch horses completed a fluent, forward test, but a few small mistakes put him in second place. Only these two competitors posted scores in the thirties.

In third place, seven penalties behind Weber, is France’s Benjamin Aillaud with his impressive Arab x Friesians. He last competed here ten years ago, after which he took a break from competing horse four-in-hands until just a couple of years ago. GB’s highest placed competitor is Wilf Bowman-Ripley, in 18th place.

Also completing this first dressage phase were the Pony Four-in-Hands which saw last year’s winner Tinne Bax (BEL) take the lead from the Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, who has recorded five previous Royal Windsor wins. Less than two penalties separate these two with Jacqueline Walter (GER) driving her eye-catching palomino team of Welsh Bs taking third place. Great Britain’s Roger Campbell is well in touch in this class in 5th place.

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

A Royal Victory on Opening Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show kicked off in style with a win for Her Majesty The Queen, who was present to enjoy the victory of Whalton Highwayman, ridden by 15-year-old Kinvara Garner. The private grounds of Windsor Castle were resplendent in the sunshine on the opening day of the five-day Show, as the Showing and National Show Jumping took centre stage.

SHOWING: HM THE QUEEN’S HORSE SHINES ON OPENING DAY OF ROYAL WINDSOR

Kinvara Garner took the Part Bred and Anglo Arab Championship, having headed a good 148cm class on HM The Queen’s 11-year-old Whalton Highwayman.

“This is his second Royal Windsor,” said Kinvara. “He has only been out twice before but has qualified for the Royal International Horse Show as a Show Hunter pony, and also as a Part Bred Arab. I couldn’t be more pleased with how the season started.”

Cheshire showman, Robert Walker, won his fourth Cuddy Hunter title against stiff competition, this time riding Jill Day’s outstanding lightweight View Point.

Local rider Jayne Ross won the Small Hunter, sponsored by Rosettes Direct, on Kay Campbell’s five-year-old Church Rock Cashel, attending only his third Show.

“I thought he would be next year’s horse,” said Jayne. “I am so surprised and delighted for him to win.”

The Amateur Hunter Championship title went to a former ladies’ winner, Time 2 Reflect, ridden this year by her owner Lucy Cameron.

SHOW JUMPING: LAURA RENWICK AND GEORGIA THAME MAKE IT LADIES’ DAY AT ROYAL WINDSOR

Britain’s leading lady, Laura Renwick, got the Show Jumping at Royal Windsor off to a flying start, winning the Equitop Myoplast Foxhunter – First Round, a two-phase National competition, with a double clear in a time of 34 seconds. Riding Arkuga, a seven-year-old homebred by Arko, out of her former top mare Beluga, Renwick used her international experience in the prestigious Castle Arena to knock over a second off the time of runner-up Charlie White.

The top twelve six-year-old horses from the Equitop Myoplast Foxhunter qualified for The Walwyn Novice Jumping Championship later in the day, a class which was won by Australian Rowan Willis, riding Hadyvola. The 1.30m course proved demanding for the novice horses, with only four combinations jumping clear, but Willis’ tight turn to an oxer approaching the final line made all the difference as he stormed to a four second victory.

The biggest class of the day, The 1.40m Land Rover Grades A & B Jumping Competition, went to Georgia Thame with Z7 Qamar. 15 of the 43 starters went through to the second phase against-the-clock, however speed proved the downfall of many, with only four managing to produce a rare double-clear. As second to go in the arena, Marie-Louise Thomas set the pace early on, producing a lovely clear in 35.90 seconds; however, Thame took the lead midway through the class with a time of 31.46 seconds, which proved unbeatable. Keith Doyle, riding Harlequin Dunraven, came close, but his double clear in 32.07 seconds was only good enough for second place.

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

HM The Queen’s Champion Horse, Barbers Shop, Arrives at Windsor Castle

Photo: Peter Nixon / Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Her Majesty The Queen’s homebred Champion, Barbers Shop, arrived at Windsor Castle ahead of his retirement at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show which celebrates its 75th year this week. The Show runs from 9-13 May, with a special retirement ceremony for Barbers Shop taking place on the afternoon of Sunday 13 May.

Tickets for Royal Windsor Horse Show are still available and can be purchased online at www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Behind the Scenes with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin ahead of Royal Windsor Horse Show

Ahead of competing at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, we were given a sneak preview of the training regime of Olympic gold medallists, Charlotte Dujardin CBE and Carl Hester MBE, as they prepare for the CDI4* Al’Shiraa Dressage Grand Prix and Freestyle competitions at Royal Windsor on the evenings of Thursday 10th and Friday 11th May.

Dujardin, who will be riding Mount St John Freestyle, her new Grand Prix horse and FEI World Equestrian Games™ hopeful, said, “I’m really excited about going to Windsor. I used to compete there Showing as a child, so it’s got some really great memories for me. It’s an incredible setting and to have the British crowd behind me will make it even more special. The Dressage always has an amazing atmosphere there; it’s usually under the floodlights at night, which makes it really unique – Mount St John Freestyle is going to absolutely love it and I’m looking forward to it so much!”

Exclusive behind-the-scenes access with the renowned duo indicated preparations were full steam ahead as Hester and Dujardin set their sights on Royal Windsor, and the jam-packed competition year ahead. Although competing against each other, Dujardin’s mentor, team mate and fellow competitor shared his joys of competing and his hopes for returning to defend his title, this year aboard Hawtins Delicato:

“I won my first championship medal at Royal Windsor back in 2009. The backdrop is sensational; there is nowhere quite like it. I remember competing to music under the lights with 8,000 people there that night watching me; it was very surreal, especially having the castle lit up in the background.”

Hester continued, “Since then Charlotte has won the Grand Prix and I won the Grand Prix there last year, so we have both had a turn at it, which is nice – keep it in the family and share the win! This year I am predicting that Charlotte will win it; her horse is sensational. We call her Mrs Valegro after our all-time star, Valegro, who won three Olympic gold medals. Watch this space!”

To see the Dressage action at Royal Windsor Horse Show first hand, or to find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Stellar International Line-Up at CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

Royal Windsor Horse Show will welcome the world’s best riders to the private grounds of Windsor Castle from 9-13 May 2018, with a line-up fitting to celebrate the Show’s 75th anniversary year. With international competitions taking place across four FEI equestrian disciplines, including CSI5* Show Jumping, CDI4* Dressage and CAIO4* Driving, as well as CEI2* Endurance, the calibre of entries is better than ever before.

International CSI5* Show Jumping

Six of the world’s top 10 Show Jumpers will be taking to the Castle Arena, headed by World No. 1 Kent Farrington (USA), who will be hoping to make a successful return from injury to reclaim his title in the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix. The class, the pinnacle event of the Show, will take place on Sunday 13 May, with a top-class line-up contending for the coveted Rolex Grand Prix and unprecedented prize fund of €300,000.

Reigning European Champion and individual silver medallist at the 2016 Olympics, Peder Fredricson (SWE) and Rio Olympic team gold medallist Kevin Staut (FRA), currently ranked third and fourth in the world respectively, will be hot on Farrington’s heels, seeking to usurp him from pole position in the Rolex Grand Prix, a position he has taken two years consecutively. Top Italian duo, Lorenzo de Luca and Alberto Zorzi along with fellow top-10 rider Steve Guerdat (SUI), individual gold medallist at London 2012, will be adding to the stiff competition.

A strong British contingent, led by crowd favourites Scott Brash and Ben Maher, will be looking to mount a formidable home challenge across the three days of CSI5* competition, including action taking place during a Saturday evening performance.  Father and son combination, John and Robert Whitaker, William Funnell and the notoriously fast Guy Williams will all be sure to set the Castle Arena alight, looking for a home victory.

Britain’s leading lady rider Laura Renwick will be heading the female challengers, along with USA representatives, Laura Kraut, another Olympic gold medallist within the stellar line-up, and Lauren Hough, plus British young rider Emily Moffitt.

Representing Ireland will be Bertram Allen, Denis Lynch and Cian O’Connor, all of whom were part of the European gold medal winning team last summer. Adding further international flair to the competition will be former individual Olympic champions, Canada’s Eric Lamaze and Brazil’s Rodrigo Pessoa, and former World No. 1 Daniel Deusser (GER), fresh from Grand Prix victory at the FEI World Cup Final in Paris last weekend.

International CDI4* Dressage

Reinforcing the international prestige of the Show will be the CDI4* Dressage, with The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix and The Al Shira’aa Grand Prix Freestyle to Music set to take centre stage on the evenings of Thursday 10 and Friday 11 May respectively. Home favourite Carl Hester has dominated Dressage at Royal Windsor in recent years, with victory aboard his Rio Olympic companion Nip Tuck in 2015 and returning to dominate both the Freestyle and Grand Prix with the British-bred Barolo in 2017. Hester will be returning in 2018 with Hawtins Delicato, with whom he recently made his National Grand Prix debut, scoring 76.8%, and the horse with which he is hoping to compete at the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG) later in the year.

Triple Olympic gold medallist, Charlotte Dujardin is sure to pose a serious challenge to Hester’s previous dominance, riding her new Grand Prix partner Mount St John Freestyle, who made an impressive Grand Prix debut last month, scoring 81%. The nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, hailed as Dujardin’s next superstar and nick-named “Mrs Valegro”, is also being aimed at WEG, with Windsor providing an excellent platform to showcase her ability in front of international judges, including Susan Hoevenaars, who will also be judging at WEG itself.

Four-time British Olympian, Richard Davison (GBR), will also be looking to steal Hester’s crown with homebred gelding Bubblingh, out of his former international ride Ballaseyr Royale, who together took the Grand Prix and Freestyle in Roosendaal at the end of last year, as will compatriot Hayley Watson-Greaves (GBR) with Rubins Nite and former British team member Gareth Hughes aboard Don Carissimo.

A strong international contingent will be seeking to dampen British spirits, including Tosca Visser Van Der Meulen and Thamar Zweistra from the Netherlands and Germany’s Juliette Piotrowski, a former Young Rider European team gold and individual silver medal winner. From Japan, Akane Kuroki will be riding her Olympic ride Toots, with young rider Caroline Chew (SGP), silver medal winner at the South East Asian Games, returning aboard Tribiani. Ireland’s Kate Dwyer will be making a spectacular come back from a broken back, which put her out of action for the winter season, aboard the twelve-year-old Snowdon Faberge.

International CAI3*/CAIO4* Driving

The 2018 CAIO Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, a FEI World Cup qualifier, will play host to a magnificent line-up in each of the three categories; horse and pony four-in-hands and horse pairs.

The 30 horse four-in-hand competitors represent 12 countries including five from the home nation. Among them will be reigning indoor and outdoor World Champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, who earlier this year claimed the FEI World Cup championship for the seventh time, looking for a ninth Royal Windsor win.

Giving him no quarter will be two top competitors from the nation that has dominated gold medal position at the World horse four-in-hand championships over the last decade, the Netherlands’ Ijsbrand Chardon and Koos de Ronde, the latter also being the current FEI World Cup bronze medallist. Chardon’s son, Bram, a previous world pony four-in-hand champion as well as pony four-in-hand winner at Windsor, will make his Royal Windsor debut in horse four-in-hand and will be one to watch. The USA’s Chester Weber will also be back attempting to reclaim his 2014 and 2015 Royal Windsor titles.

GB’s horse four-in-hand challenge will be in the experienced and capable hands of the Basset sisters, Karen and Pippa, as well as Wilf Bowman-Ripley, Dick Lane and Daniel Naprous, whose performance indoors at the London International Horse Show at Olympia has thrilled the home crowd in recent years.

The horse pairs, a CAI3*, will field 18 competitors from 11 nations, including last year’s winner, Lars Schwitte (GER). He will find himself with stiff competition from the current world bronze horse pairs medallist Beat Schenk (SUI) as well as the experienced Barry Capstick (IRL). The challenge from the home nation will come from successful horse pairs driver David Matthews, as well as barrister Chris Smith, current chairman of British Carriagedriving.

Competition in the 9-strong pony four-in-hand, also a CAI3*, will be as strong as it is in the other two categories with last year’s winner, Tinne Bax from Belgium out to retain her 2017 Royal Windsor title. The Netherlands’ Jan de Boer, the current world silver medallist and six-time Royal Windsor winner, will provide tough opposition, with Britain’s Sara Howe, Roger Campbell and Joanna Broadbent all determined to uphold the Union Jack.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said, “The calibre of entries at this year’s Show is second to none, demonstrating the ever-increasing international prestige of the event and cementing its status amongst the best shows in the world. We’re honoured to welcome some of the world’s finest horses and riders and are looking forward to watching the world-class action unfold.”

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Celebrating 75 Years of CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show

To celebrate the landmark 75th CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show, organisers have created a copyright free film: ‘Royal Windsor Horse Show through the ages’. Set up in 1943 to support ‘Wings for Victory’, a war time campaign to raise money to purchase Hurricanes and Spitfires for the Royal Air Force, the Show has grown to become an internationally recognised 5* equestrian event. Her Majesty The Queen has attended every year since its creation, with many of the world’s best riders taking to the private grounds of Windsor Castle to compete at the renowned event.

Royal Windsor Horse Show will take place from 9-13 May 2018; to find out more, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

To view the film, click here.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928

Spectacular Line-Up of Displays Announced for 75th Royal Windsor Horse Show

CHI Royal Windsor Horse Show is delighted to announce a spectacular line-up of displays at the 75th annual Show, taking place from 9-13 May 2018.

The Show has an exciting programme for its visitors throughout the week. Returning to Windsor, having previously performed at Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration in 2016, will be the Equestrian Federation of Azerbaijan, with their new performance ‘Land of Fire – Azerbaijan’.

The display celebrates the Karabakh horse, the native horse of southwestern Azerbaijan. Ten horse and rider combinations will be seen combining fast paced movements with tight turns and perfectly timed executions. They will be accompanied by the ‘Sarhadchi’ dance ensemble who will be performing traditional dances alongside two fire-jugglers performing a spectacular fire show. The performance, choreographed specifically for Royal Windsor Horse Show, demonstrates the strength and bravery of the Karabakh horse, and the courage and peacefulness of the Azerbaijan people.

Azar Hamzayev, Land of Fire – Azerbaijan Coach, said: “We are very excited to be returning to Royal Windsor Horse Show and to be showcasing a performance which captures our heritage, in front of the fantastic crowds. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the Karabakh horse, and the traditional culture of Azerbaijan.”

The Household Cavalry Mounted Band will be adding to the line-up of equestrian displays. After being formed in 2014 by the union of The Band of The Life Guards and The Band of The Blues and Royals, the two mounted bands of the British army. The band today combines State Trumpeters, mounted, marching and concert bands as well as smaller ensembles. They will appear in their gold State Dress as they do whenever a senior member of the Royal Family is present. They will be performing alongside the Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry who appear every year at Royal Windsor.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “It is a landmark year for Royal Windsor Horse Show so we are delighted to have an exciting overseas display which is steeped in tradition alongside a wonderfully traditional British military band to join us in the 75th anniversary celebrations.”

Crowd favourites returning to the private grounds of Windsor Castle include The Land Rover Shetland Pony Grand National, where the mini jockeys and their Shetland Ponies fearlessly race head-to-head, as well as the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games, which will see teams from the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales compete in a series of fast and furious races set to get the crowd cheering. Spectators can also expect to see The Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, the return of the Coaching Marathon, the Best Turned Out Trooper competition and the Skill at Arms amongst many other fascinating competitions and displays that can only be found at Royal Windsor.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show or to book tickets, visit www.rwhs.co.uk. Tickets can also be purchased by calling the box office on 0844 581 4960 from the UK and +44 (0)121 7966290 internationally. Windsor residents should call the Windsor Information Centre on 01753 743589.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Telford gayle@revolutionsports.co.uk +44(0)7717 776928