Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

Cathrine and Cassidy Are the Show-Stealers at Herning

Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

They were billed as the superstars that everyone wanted to see, and the brilliant Danish partnership of Cathrine Dufour and Atterupgaards Cassidy didn’t disappoint. In a field sprinkled with both blossoming and established talent they reigned supreme to win the exciting first leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ 2021/2022 Western European League on home ground at Herning.

They had to work hard, however, because compatriots Carina Cassøe Krüth and Heiline’s Danciera put on a spectacular performance to finish second, while the Dutch duo of Dinja van Liere and Hermes were sensational when slotting into third.

Young horses were really impressive, showing so much promise for things to come. But the crowd went wild when the old boy of the pack, the 18-year-old Cassidy, showed that he still has all the moves when stealing the limelight.

Opened

The action opened with Jennie Larson and Zircoon Spring Flower, the sole Swedish representatives when Patrik Kittel was withdrawn as his ride, Fiontini, was sold.

It was German Eventing idol, Ingrid Klimke, who led the way at the halfway stage when posting 78.750 with Franziskus 15. And when the action resumed after the break, Denmark’s Lone Bang Larsen went out in front with a lovely test from the 11-year-old mare Thranegaardens Rostov that earned 79.525. But then Van Liere and her fabulous nine-year-old stallion Hermes, who took the sport by storm when winning the Grand Prix in Aachen (GER) last month, forged a massive lead when putting 84.360 on the board.

With three left to go. Cassøe Krüth bettered that with a beautiful Freestyle from her 10-year-old mare that, despite a mistake in the one-tempi changes, earned a massive 86.395. So, second-last to go, Dufour and Cassidy had to do something special. But they’ve done it many times during their many years together and this was no exception. Posting 87.115 they bagged victory and brought the Danish crowd to their feet.

Crying

“I was crying my heart out; it was really fantastic!” said Dufour afterwards. With her younger horse, the 11-year-old Bohemian, she earned silver and bronze at the FEI Dressage European Championships last month, not long after returning from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But achieving what she did with Atterupgaards Cassidy, who carried her to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and who has collected 12 European Championship medals, including Young Rider gold and double-bronze at Senior level, during their hugely successful career together was just so very special. It’s about 18 months since he last appeared at an international event, but he showed he still loves every moment of it.

“He is turning 19 in one month and he’s just one of a kind. He’s been with me for 11 years and I have really had enough, but he hasn’t yet! I brought him here so that he could feel important again and he could show the crowd that he still wants to do it, so I’m over the moon!” Dufour said.

He had already made it clear he’s still very much in the game when winning the Grand Prix. He posted his Freestyle victory with apparently effortless ease.

Fit

Dufour says the horse she calls “Cassie” keeps himself fit. “You don’t have to do too much at home. I ride him once, maybe twice a week in dressage and the other days he’s just stretching and jogging or doing pole-work or hacking, so I think that’s why he’s so super healthy. “He’s just clever; he’s never using himself too much; he gives that much extra in the competitions, but back home I never ask for that. I just keep my fingers crossed when I bring him out and hope that he will do it, and he shows me again and again that he will!”

She insisted that she came out with no huge expectations. “I said at the beginning of this competition that there was no pressure; I wasn’t going to ride to win. I didn’t want to push Cassie to win; everything he offered me I took, but I wouldn’t have pushed him to do any more than he wanted,” she said. Will this be his last public appearance before going into well-earned retirement? Possibly not, it seems.

“We’ll see what this season brings, and I might do one more show with him, but he will be the one who decides, not me!” said the 29-year-old Dane who will take another horse, Vamos Amigos, to the second leg of the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Western European League at Lyon, France next week.

Cheer

The Danish crowd had plenty to cheer about, and for runner-up Cassøe Krüth, it was an extra test for her 10-year-old mare when they clapped loudly as the pair progressed up the final centreline. But Danciera seemed to enjoy it, “and she has never felt so good!” said the 37-year-old Dane.

“When they started clapping, I thought Ohh, we still have a long way to go! But she stayed focused, and it was okay and actually I think she liked it, so now they can do it any time!” she added.

Dutch 31-year-old Van Liere was delighted with her result with Hermes. “Yesterday we had a couple of mistakes, but it was our first Short Grand Prix and of course he still lacks experience. I’m riding him since he was three years old, and I hope I will be able to ride him for many more years. I plan to do more World Cups, but I don’t want to put too much pressure on him because he is still young,” said the athlete who hopes to bring him to the qualifiers on her home turf in Amsterdam in January and ’s-Hertogenbosch next March.

Show Director at Herning, Jens Trabjerg, was also very pleased. “It’s always nice as an organiser to have such fantastic sport as we had today. We have tried for the past five years to get the audience to stay for the prize-giving and I have to say we have been quite successful,” he pointed out. Not too surprising perhaps when the home-side contenders steal all the glory in front of their home crowd.

Results here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Horseracing Series 2021

2021 has been another huge year for the horse racing industry worldwide. While many great events took place, the two main series in the United States were the Triple Crown in the spring and the Breeders’ Cup in the fall.

The Triple Crown

The Triple Crown began in May, making it one of the two most important months on the horse racing schedule. Online horse betting has reached a peak, including many options for betting on the go using horse betting apps such as these: https://horse-betting.pro/guides/best-horse-betting-apps/.

The Triple Crown series of races are traditionally run in May and early June of each year, although global events have resulted in schedule adjustments, such as in 1945 and 2020.

On the first Saturday of the month of May, and the first of the Triple Crown series, the legendary Kentucky Derby takes place at a distance of a mile and a quarter. With a purse of some $3 million and a huge worldwide following, the Derby is one of the top horse events on the planet.  Thunderous applause can be heard from afar during the Kentucky Derby at the gorgeous Churchill Downs (Kentucky).

It is dubbed “The Run for the Roses,” stemming from the blanket of roses draped over the winner, and in the United States it is also known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” because of its approximate duration. It is the first leg of the American Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes, and then the Belmont Stakes.

Three weeks after the Derby comes the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland with a distance of 9.5 furlongs (1+3⁄16 miles (1,900 m)) on dirt. It has been dubbed “The Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.”

The Preakness Stakes has also been termed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” because a blanket of Maryland’s state flower is placed across the withers of the winning colt or filly. Attendance at the Preakness Stakes ranks second in North America among equestrian events, surpassed only by the Kentucky Derby.

An interesting history of the Preakness is that Pimlico officially opened October 25, 1870 with the colt Preakness winning the first running of the Dinner Party Stakes. Approximately 12,000 people attended, many taking special race trains arranged by the Northern Central Railway. Three years later the horse had the 1873 Preakness Stakes named in his honor.

The final leg in the American Triple Crown, open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds, is the Belmont Stakes, known by the nicknames “The Test of the Champion”/”The Run for the Carnations”/”The Third Jewel of the Triple Crown.”  The Belmont Stakes takes place on the first Saturday in June in Elmont (an unincorporated hamlet), New York.

When run at 1+1⁄2 miles, the Belmont Stakes covers one full lap of Belmont Park, known as “The Championship Track,” because nearly every major American champion in racing history has competed on the racetrack. Despite the distance, the race tends to favor horses with tactical speed: relatively few winners close from far behind the early leaders.

The 2021 Belmont Stakes was the 153rd running of the Belmont Stakes and the 110th time the event took place at Belmont Park. It is the final race of the Triple Crown.

The Triple Crown has come to represent the pinnacle achievement in horseracing. In its history, only 13 horses have won all three races; two of them are still alive.

The Breeders Cup World Championships

Ending at one finish line is the of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, an annual series of Grade I Thoroughbred horse races held on the first weekend of November.  These races are operated by Breeders’ Cup Limited, and in 2021, The Breeders’ Cup will return to another iconic racing venue: Del Mar, where the turf meets the surf Southern California style.

The event was created as a year-end championship for North American Thoroughbred racing, and also attracts top horses from other parts of the world, especially Europe.

With the current 2021 year having $31 million in purses and awards, every horse, jockey, trainer, and owner around the world has this two-day, 14-race, year-end culmination of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in their sights.

Many Breeders’ Cup winners will go on to win the Eclipse Award in their respective division. For example, of the eleven flat racehorse categories, seven of the Eclipse winners in 2015 had also won a Breeders’ Cup race, while three others were in the money.

The Breeders’ Cup Championship Saturday is one of the richest days in racing awarding over $22 million in purses and awards over 9 races, culminating in the defining event of the international racing season, the $6 Million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Five-Time Olympian Peder Fredricson’s Sensational Rise to World Number One

Photo: Peder Fredricson (SWE) (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

Peder Fredricson (SWE) has secured the number one spot of the Longines World Ranking for the first time in his career, taking the reins from Olympic bronze medallist, Daniel Deusser (GER), who took over the position for the third time back in June 2021 and now sits in second position.

Fredricson (49), who shot up the rankings last month from number 17 into second position, one that he has held frequently, is now at the top of this elite list on 3015 points, earning further recognition for his consistent performances this year, with one breathtaking ride after another.

”Finally! I can almost not believe it’s true. I’ve been close so many times before. Right now it feels incredibly good,” said Fredricson.

“To be number one on the world ranking is a goal I set a couple of years ago. It has at times felt like climbing the highest mountain in the world and I’ve almost reached the summit several times, but always fallen down. It feels amazing to finally reach the top and to be able to put down the flag.

“I dedicate this to my whole team. To be number one is something we’ve been working for during such a long time. It’s also very special that this success is made up of so many competitions with different horses during a whole year. To reach number one takes more than just good horses; you have to have good horse owners, good grooms, and a very dedicated and hardworking team on the ground. In that way, I rank this much higher than winning just one big class during one weekend. I’m very grateful to my team and we will celebrate this together.”

His trophy cabinet includes four Olympic medals, including team silver from the 2004 Athens Olympics and individual silver from the Rio 2016 Games, where he was the only athlete who was clear in all six rounds. Along with winning the individual silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in August this year, his outstanding performances helped Sweden to its first Team Jumping Olympic gold medal in almost 100 years, and marked 29 years after he made his Olympic debut at the age of 20 at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. Back then, he was an accomplished Eventer – and the youngest-ever Olympic equestrian athlete for Sweden.

With his loyal partner H&M All In, Fredricson was crowned the 2017 European Champion on home soil in Gothenburg (SWE), and took a silver medal with the team. He was a member of the Swedish squad that took team silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Tryon 2018 (USA), and in 2019 at the FEI World Cup™ Final Gothenburg (SWE), he took bronze in front of his home crowd. More recently, he won the individual bronze at the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships in Riesenbeck (GER).

In 2016 and 2017, he received the Athlete of the Year award at the Swedish Sports Gala. The ‘Jerring Prize’, which is Sweden’s most prestigious sporting prize, is awarded for a successful sports achievement. He earned this honour by a popular vote which put him above the likes of Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic, golfing sensation Henrik Stenson, and rallycross champion Mattias Ekström. In February 2019, he was presented with the Medal of Honour from Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf. This month, Fredricson was one of four athletes nominated for the Peden Bloodstock FEI Best Athlete Award, which will be announced in November.

Born into an equestrian family, Peder started riding at the age of 5. His father Ingvar is a veterinarian as well as the former boss at Flyinge, the largest breeding station in Sweden. His brother Jens, also part of Sweden’s equestrian elite, competed at the London 2012 Olympics, as well as two FEI Jumping World Cup™ Finals and FEI European Championships in 1997 and 2013. His wife Lisen, also a Jumping athlete, rode at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 and London in 2012.

The latest rankings reflect some strong performances with Martin Fuchs (SUI), Scott Brash (GBR), and Marlon Modolo Zanotelli (BRA) remaining in third, fourth, and fifth positions, respectively. A shuffle in the remainder of the top ten sees Steve Guerdat (SUI) take a leap from tenth to sixth spot on 2450 points, whilst Ben Maher (GBR) has dropped down to seventh with 2417 points. Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann has dropped by one spot to eighth place, and the USA’s Kent Farrington finds himself back in the top ten in ninth position, only 22 points behind the Swede. Belgian’s Jérôme Guery now sits at number ten this month.

The full rankings list is published here.

FEI Media Contact:

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

Update on Kevin’s Recovery and The Babington Foundation

Wellington, FL – October 4, 2021 – Kevin Babington continues to make progress month by month. The commitment to his daily physical therapy and frequent stem cell and other medical interventions continues at a torrid pace. At no point has Kevin’s self-expectations been anything less than dramatic. The courage, patience, tenacity, and kindness we all know to be substrates of Kevin’s makeup prior to his fall are on vivid display daily.

For those who don’t believe in miracles, Kevin can now move all his toes on each foot and independently, and just as of this writing, has some flexion in his feet. We all look forward to the day he stands to deliver the leading rider award at Silver Oak.

At the same time, the financial demands of Kevin’s care, therapy, and progress are steep and mandatory. The Show Jumping community has responded generously, but the requirement for fundraising continues to be of paramount importance.

Concurrently Kevin, Dianna, and the Babington Foundation have done much to support education, safety, and news of spinal research. These programs more broadly relate to all riders in the sport, most critically the importance of “Air Vests.”

For that reason, a new website, kevinbabingtonfoundation.org, is launched as a portal through which Kevin’s progress, important articles about spinal injury breakthroughs, and safety emphasis can regularly be found.

Of course, there is an important DONATE BUTTON with which we hope individuals and organizations will act, in whatever capacity, big or small. Keep in mind, as a licensed 501c3 charity, all donations will receive the appropriate tax documents.

Click here: https://youtu.be/fuwcQbXJBDo

Polish Rider Victorious in the 4* at Baborówko Autumn Show

Mateusz Kiempa (POL) & Lassban Radovix. M&R Photo.

The showjumping trial for the highest ranked class at Baborówko Autumn Show 2021, the CCI4*-S, presented by LOTTO, brought changes in the leaderboard. The course designer prepared a demanding challenge for the athletes, which resulted in only three clear rounds inside the time. Even the leaders had poles down. Amanda Staam (SWE), who was in the first position overnight, had two knockdowns, which added 8 points to her account with CORPOUBET AT and cost her the win. Mateusz Kiempa (POL) with LASSBAN RADOVIX finished with 4 penalties, but the solid foundation he built in two previous trials secured his victory. Kamil Rajnert (POL) jumped up into third riding GOUVERNEUR.

In the CCI3*-S, for the prize of Kuhn, the win went to Antonia Baumgart (GER) riding LAMANGO after their clear round inside the time. Julia Gillmaier (POL) advanced from fourth to second with RED DREAM PRINCES, and Pia Münker (GER) with JARD finished third.

The leaderboard was shuffled in the CCI2*-S, presented by the Wielkopolskie Voivodeship Local Government, as well. Josephine Schnaufer-Völkel (GER) with GINGER SPICE 3, the leader after dressage and cross-country, had two poles down, which knocked her into 10th position. A clear round secured the win for Jerome Robine (GER) riding AVATAR 42. Caro Hoffrichter (GER) with JUST JAQUES jumped up into second, and third belonged to Pia Münker (GER) riding CASCABLANCA, who was clear on the fences but had to add 0,8 for time.

More information can be found at:
www.equestrian.baborowko.pl
www.facebook.com/baborowko.equestrian

Germans Show Their Strength in Thrilling Opening Round

Daniel Deusser with Killer Queen VDM. (FEI/Łukasz Kowalski)

Team Germany strolled nonchalantly into Sunday’s deciding round of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021, when heading the leaderboard after the first round at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain.

But for the newly crowned European champions from Switzerland, it was an entirely different experience when they finished 12th of the 15 competing nations, missing the cut into the top eight who will battle it out for the title on Sunday afternoon.

Instead, they’ll go into the Challenge Cup in which they won’t just be hoping to restore their supremacy. They will also need to ensure they finish ahead of Norway, Great Britain, Italy, and France, because one of those five countries will be relegated to the EEF series in 2022 when finishing last of the Division 1 teams at this year’s Final.

Powerhouse

With two of the greatest combinations in the sport right now in the German side – world number one Daniel Deusser with Killer Queen VDM and Andrew Thieme and DSP Chakaria, who recently claimed the individual European title – they were always a powerhouse, but few would have expected the host nation of Spain to be their closest challengers. Germany collected just two time penalties for the win, but Spain accumulated just three to finish second ahead of The Netherlands in third place with four, while Brazil slotted into fourth place with five faults.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions from Sweden racked up nine faults for fifth, while both the defending Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ champions from Ireland and Team USA collected 10 faults each, the Irish combined times giving them the advantage when they were almost four seconds faster. The eighth and last qualifying spot went to Belgium who shared a score of 12 penalties with Norway, but who were considerably quicker.

When the second Final competition kicks off, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Brazil, Sweden, Ireland, USA, and Belgium will all begin again on a zero score.

Masterminded

Longtime Barcelona course designer, Spain’s Santiago Varela, who also masterminded the tracks at this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games, set them a test that Switzerland’s Bryan Balsiger described as “nice at the beginning but more technical at the end and the time is tight,” after posting a four-fault result with TwentyTwo des Bisches. He said the mood in the Swiss camp after their European victory in Riesenbeck, Germany four weeks ago was good. “We are friends and we worked together for the gold medal, but today is another show and another round and we need to fight to the end to get to the Final on Sunday.” However, that didn’t happen when his side racked up 19 faults.

The 80 seconds time-allowed proved difficult to get, and there were only seven clear rounds from 58 starters. The open water at fence five proved influential, as did the final line of fences from the massive triple bar at 11 to the double of verticals at 12 and the final oxer at 13.

Some made it look easy, however, and one of those was German pathfinder Deusser, and when team-mate Thieme collected just a single time fault, they looked very comfortable indeed. But David Will and C Vier 2 picked up nine faults so Christian Ahlmann needed to tidy things up when last to go for the German side with Clintrexo Z, cruising home to add just one more time fault for the winning score.

Impressive

Meanwhile, the Spanish were really impressive in front of their home crowd, Manuel Fernandez Saro providing the discard score when Jarlin de Torres put a foot in the water, but the remaining three – Ismael Garcis Roque (La Costa), Eduardo Alvarez Aznar (Legend), and Sergio Alvarez Moya (Alamo) – all only picked up a single time-fault each. Alvarez Moya’s Alamo is still only 13 but has a remarkable record, winning the FEI Jumping World Cup™ title for Switzerland’s Steve Guerdat in 2019 and always consistent.

Talking about the horse, Moya said, “Everybody loves him; he’s a great horse, a great competitor; he’s easy at home and a beautiful horse. He’s owned by me and Sergio Ramos, the best defender in the history of soccer who used to play for Real Madrid and who now plays with Paris Saint-Germain. He’s the player with the most games for the national team and a great guy too!” the Spanish rider said proudly.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic individual bronze medallists Mikael van der Vlueten and Beauville Z kicked off with a clear round for The Netherlands, and when Sanne Thijssen followed suit with Con Quidam RB, then the Dutch only had to count one of the four-fault results from Willem Greve (Carambole) and Harrie Smolders (Monaco) to qualify comfortably for Sunday.

Thijssen’s star has been rising rapidly this year, with sensational results from the 22-year-old athlete and her 15-year-old stallion. The pair had a successful run at Young Rider level together and she said she was selected for this prestigious Final because “my horse is in unbelievable form and he kept jumping clear and clear! He won the Grand Prix at Rotterdam and then at Oppglabeek and was second in the Grand Prix at Valkenswaard and he improved every time. I think we are a good combination together,” she said modestly.

And she’s an independent young lady. When asked if her father and former Dutch team rider Leon Thijssen is her trainer, she replied, “No, he likes to let me do my own thing and I always did from the beginning. I learn a little bit from everyone, but I don’t have one specific person that trains me and I like it that way!” she said.

Feeling the strain

As defending champions, the Irish were feeling the strain when pathfinder Denis Lynch was eliminated. But Darragh Kenny, the only member of their winning team from 2019 competing again this time around, saved their day with a brilliant anchorman clear from VDL Cartello, when Michael Duffy (Zilton SL Z) and similarly named Michael G Duffy (Lapuccino 2) put five faults each on the board.

Kenny felt the heat going into the ring. “I knew that I had to be clear if we were going to try to be in the next round, but the horse was already jumping fantastic in the warm-up, and I knew I just had to ride him well and he’d go the best he could. I was really happy with the way he jumped. We were a little unlucky with what happened with Denis, and the other two boys were great, and we just have to pray we qualify now,” he said. As it happened, they did.

He described Ireland’s Olympic effort this summer as “disappointing for all of us; we did our best going there and we had the best team we could, but it just didn’t work out and now we’re just trying to put it all back together again,” he explained. That makes this result in Barcelona all the more critical.

“Staying in Division 1 is very important for us. It’s important for our owners and horses and for us as riders, and for younger Irish riders to get the chance to get to bigger Nations Cup shows – it’s all very important for all of us,” he insisted.

That’s part of what makes the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ so appealing to every nation, and the decision about which country is relegated for 2022 will be made during the Challenge Cup.

Results here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Bubbling with Excitement ahead of Barcelona Final

Andre Thieme and DSP Chakaria. (FEI/Christophe Taniere)

The Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final 2021 promises to bring an incredible year of team Jumping to a close this week at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona, Spain.

Against all the odds in these Covid times, there has been spectacular team sport throughout the summer months, beginning with four thrilling legs of the Division 1 series in which Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, and The Netherlands all tasted success.

Then it was on to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where Sweden pipped Team USA in a nail-biting showdown that went right down to the wire. And that was followed, just four short weeks ago, by the Longines FEI Jumping European Championships in Riesenbeck, German where Switzerland snatched team gold ahead of the hosts.

Barcelona presents the opportunity for some scores to be settled, and the horse/athlete combinations listed in the line-up of the 15 competing nations for the event which kicks off this Friday 1 October, and which runs through to Sunday 3 October, suggests it’s going to be yet another mighty battle at this much-anticipated season-closer.

Once the draw for order-of-go takes place on Thursday (30 September) the stage will be set for this annual clash of the giants of the sport.

Defending champions

Team Ireland arrive as defending champions, but it is two years since they stood on the top step of the podium and also claimed the last remaining qualifying sport for the Tokyo Games.

Darragh Kenny, ranked 12th in the world, is the only member of that 2019 winning side to line out again this year, and he will be joined by Denis Lynch and Michael G Duffy along with his near-namesake Michael Duffy and Eoin McMahon who were in the Irish side at Riesenbeck.

The full list of teams is Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, and Uzbekistan.

All ten from Division 1 (BEL, FRA, GBR, GER, IRL, ITA, NED, NOR, SWE, SUI) have automatically qualified for the Final this year, but relegation to the EEF series in 2022 is still on the cards for the tenth-placed nation from this group next Sunday, so that piles on extra pressure.

Canada and USA represent North/Central America, and Uzbekistan have earned their slot as clear winners of the 2021 Eurasian League.

Extraordinary form

The Belgian team includes world number 8, Jerome Guery, who has been showing extraordinary form with Quel de Hus this year, and Gregory Wathelet who finished individually ninth in Tokyo with Nevados S.

Harry Charles, Emily Moffitt, Holly Smith, Jack Whitaker, and his uncle, the legendary John Whitaker, will fly the British flag during the week, while Team France are likely to come out with all guns blazing. They had gold in their sights in Tokyo, but it fell apart in the closing stages, so Matthieu Billot, Frederic Cottard, Marc Dilasser, Penelope Leprevost, and Olivier Robert will be on a mission to put that to rights.

Maikel van der Vleuten, who took individual Olympic bronze in August with Beauville Z, will headline the Dutch selection, while America’s Laura Kraut and Baloutinue, who were so impressive in Tokyo, will also be ones to watch.

The Swedes look really strong, with two of their three Olympic gold medallists – Malin Baryard-Johhnsson and Henrik von Eckermann, who also finished fourth individually – in action again alongside Angelica Augustsson Zanotelli, Rolf-Goran Bengtsson, and Angelie von Essen.

Biggest battle

Possibly the biggest battle will be waged between the Germans and Swiss.

The hosts of the FEI Jumping European Championships had plenty to celebrate when Andre Thieme clinched the individual title with the fabulous mare DSP Chakaria on the final day. But Steve Guerdat, Martin Fuchs, Bryan Balsiger, and Elian Baumann pinned Germany into silver medal spot in the team competition and there was some banter going on between the two sides during that week.

Switzerland fields the same four athletes this week along with Edwin Smits, but Germany sends out world number one Daniel Deusser together with Thieme, David Will, Christian Ahlmann, and Kendra Claricia Brinkop and they’ll be keen to turn the tables and lift the coveted Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2021 trophy.

All teams, consisting of four horse/athlete combinations, will line out in the first round of the Final on Friday night, and those who place ninth and above will go through to Saturday’s Challenge Cup, while the top eight teams will qualify for Sunday’s title-deciding final competition which will begin at 15.00 local time.

Website here

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Steve Guerdat and Venard de Cerisy Win the CP ‘International’

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

2021’s edition of the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ culminated with the week’s pinnacle class, the CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex. The second Major of the year, as part of the revered Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, welcomed 28 horse and rider combinations, who would go head-to-head in their individual quests to become the Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender. Austrian Max Kühner had his sights set on retaining his Live Contender status after winning the Rolex Grand Prix at The Dutch Masters in April.

The ultimate show jumping test for horse and rider, the Leopoldo Palacios-designed course would be contested over 14 demanding obstacles within the confines of Spruce Meadows’ imposing International Ring. With the competition watched on by 2,000 excited and knowledgeable spectators – the maximum allowed under COVID-19 restrictions – and with just 12 pairings progressing to Round 2, the stakes were high, with the riders all too aware that there was very little margin for error.

Australian Rowan Willis, a familiar face at Spruce Meadows, set the early Round 1 pace with his 15-year-old mare, Blue Movie, jumping fault-free in 80.99s. Home favourite Mario Deslauriers confidently progressed to Round 2 with his 12-year-old mare, Bardolina 2, crossing the line in 83.00s without a penalty. Swiss Steve Guerdat and Australian Hilary Scott were the only other riders to navigate the Round 1 course without picking up any penalties. The eight riders also advancing to Round 2 included Egypt’s Nayel Nassar, Canadian Erynn Ballard, Kent Farrington, McLain Ward, Will Simpson, and Natalie Dean from America, Mexico’s Carlos Hank Guerreiro, and Briton Scott Brash.

In a change of fortunes, American duo, Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, faultlessly steered their equestrian partners around the second round course, after each put a fence down in the first. Hot on the American pair’s heels was reigning Rolex Grand Slam champion, Scott Brash, who added just four penalty points to his first round score. However, it was former world number one Steve Guerdat who was to assume top spot after he effortlessly guided his prodigious 12-year-old gelding, Venard de Cerisy, around the 14-fence course. Following Guerdat’s performance, the final two riders to go were Deslauriers and Willis; however, neither were able to match their first round scores, meaning the three-time World Cup winner (2015, 2016, 2019) and 2012 Olympic Individual jumping champion won the CP ‘International’, and in doing so was crowned the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Live Contender.

The only rider to compete at each of the Majors since the inception of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, Guerdat commented: “I’ve been dreaming of winning these classes since I’ve been a little kid. Since I can remember, Calgary and Aachen have always been the shows that I want to win. I’ve been lucky enough to win Geneva a couple of times, but Aachen and Calgary have been missing. I’m not going to quit until I win them – I have one of them now, and I’m going to aim for the other one very soon. This is what drives us riders, I guess.

“Venard is a very strong, brave, and powerful horse. He has a lot of blood and energy in his jump. He doesn’t have the best of techniques, but because of his power and will to do good all the time, we’ve had the chance to understand each other over the years. He’s a very sensitive horse – he’s very difficult to get on and off, you can’t move him, and he’s a little bit shy with everything. But once he sees a jump, he just wants to jump it.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Tiffany Foster and Brighton Win the Suncor Winning Round

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

Twenty-five combinations contested Saturday’s 1m50 Suncor Winning Round in a wet International Ring following overnight and early morning rain. However, spectators’ spirits were not in the slightest bit dampened, as they were treated to some world-class performances from not only Canada’s finest equestrian athletes, but also a number of leading riders from eight other nations, who descended on Calgary for the 2021 edition of the Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’.

Round 1’s proceedings were dominated by the home nation, with four Canadian riders amongst the 10 who eventually progressed to Round 2, including Tiffany Foster and her 15-year-old gelding, Brighton, Amy Millar and her 11-year-old gelding, Christiano, and the experienced duo of Eric Lamaze and Jim Ifko, who were partnered by 11-year-old gelding, Kino, and the 12-year-old La Silla-bred mare, Celine Ls La Silla, respectively. The Irish trio of Jordan Coyle (Centriko Volo), Daniel Coyle (Ivory TCS), and Conor Swail also made the top-10 cut, and were joined in the Winning Round by the talented 23-year-old Belgian, Zoe Conter (Dawa De Greenbay Z), the in-form Egyptian, Nayel Nassar (Igor Van De Wittemoere), and British rider, Matthew Sampson (Geneve R).

But in the end, it was Tiffany Foster’s day to shine in front of an enthralled crowd, after she and the brilliant Brighton did enough to see off a late challenge from Conor Swail, beating him to top spot by three tenths of a second, with the current world number 59-ranked rider, Nayel Nassar, slotting into third place.

Delighted with her long-time partner, Brighton, Foster commented: “The Suncor Winning Round here at Spruce Meadows is a kind of unique event, as you know you don’t carry your faults, which means you’ve got to get into that top 10, so it’s always better to carry a little bit of rhythm. Brighton seems to love this class, so I just ride my round. The good thing about him is he’s super-fast, so even if I happen to have one down, I’m usually in with a shout, but he’s clear more than not!”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

McLain Ward Wins the Tourmaline Oil Cup

(Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

On a breezy and autumnal Calgarian afternoon, 28 horse and rider combinations representing 12 nations contested Friday’s feature class at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, the 1.55m Tourmaline Oil Cup. Legendary course designer Leopoldo Palacios set the pairings – which included three out of the world’s current top 10-ranked riders – 12 testing obstacles, with the Venezuelan and his team of assistants making full use of the vast and iconic International Ring.

American McLain Ward set the early pace with his 15-year-old bay mare, HH Azur, going clear in a time of 72.51s, within the 75-second time limit. Compatriot Kent Farrington and his 14-year-old gelding, Creedance, looked to be on imperious form, breezing around the course fault-free. In a show of American domination, winner of 2019’s CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex, Beezie Madden and her 15-year-old La Silla-bred Stallion, Breitling LS, also made light work of the 15-fence course. Much to the delight of the crowd, home favourites Tiffany Foster and Erynn Ballard progressed to the shoot-out, both aboard their talented 10-year-olds, Hamilton and Gakhir, respectively. In-form Nayel Nassar from Egypt and his veteran 19-year-old gelding, Coronado, was joined in the jump-off by Brazil’s Eduardo Menezes and his stallion H5 Chagauns and Australia’s Rowan Willis partnered by his grey stallion Ashton Dakota.

First to go in the jump-off was recent Olympic Team silver medallist, McLain Ward, who set a blistering time of 37.38s, which looked hard to beat, after the next seven riders – Rowan Willis, Kent Farrington, Eduardo Menezes, Erynn Ballard, Beezie Madden, and Tiffany Foster – all failed to navigate the eight-fence jump-off without penalties. Last to go, it was apparent that Nayel Nassar was playing it safe, with his sights set on second spot, eventually crossing the line without a fault and finishing runner-up behind deserved winner, Ward.

On his victory and his mare HH Azur’s stunning performance, the two-time Olympic Team gold medallist commented: “I don’t know if I particularly did it better than any of the other riders; she just jumped it better! I actually wasn’t upset by my position in the jump-off. I was just going to ride my plan. I know what her strengths and weaknesses are at this point, and I thought if I put a little bit of pressure on, there might be some mistakes and that played out.

“HH Azur is going to jump the Nations Cup tomorrow for our team, and then Casper, a stallion I’ve been kind of bringing along, who’s a phenomenal jumper and has had a strong summer in Europe, is the horse I’m aiming towards the big Grand Prix on Sunday.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam