Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

World’s Elite Riders Return to Eternal City for Rolex Gran Premio

Geneva, 18 May 2022 – The world’s elite show jumpers will gather in the magnificent gardens of Villa Borghese from 26-29 May to contest the 89th edition of the CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena. Staged in the heart of the Italian capital, the five-day event will feature some of the world’s finest horse and rider combinations and culminate on the Sunday with the 5* Rolex Gran Premio.

The CSIO Roma Piazza di Siena is steeped in history and tradition, having first been staged at this beautiful venue in 1926. In 2018, the 18th century oval was re-grassed, returning it to its original splendour. The organizers have strived for continuous improvement, ensuring the event’s stature as one of the most revered in the equestrian calendar.

Switzerland’s World No. 2 Martin Fuchs will be aiming to emulate his uncle Markus Fuchs, who won the Grand Prix here in 2001. He will face stiff competition from compatriot Steve Guerdat, with whom Fuchs won team gold at the 2021 FEI European Championships. Both riders won Rolex Majors last year – at the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ Tournament and the CHI Geneva, respectively – and appreciate the horsemanship, precision, and refinement required to win in Rome.

Looking ahead to the show, Fuchs said: “The CSIO Roma Piazza Di Siena is always one of my favourite events of the year. It is so magical to compete in such an amazing setting right in the centre of the city. With it being a Rolex show, you know the standard will be high and that you will face the toughest competition in the world, which always pushes riders to perform at their best.”

Bertram Allen, part of the Rolex New Guard, will be striving to become the first Irishman in 13 years to win this prestigious Grand Prix, along with in-form Kevin Staut and Scott Brash, the only rider to have claimed the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Virginie Chevailler
Rolex SA
virginie.chevailler@rolex.com
+41 (0) 22 302 2619

Merrick Haydon
rEvolution
mhaydon@revolutionworld.com
+44 (0) 7748 186 833

International Stars Shine Bright on Final Day of Royal Windsor Horse Show

The Rolex Grand Prix provided a fitting finale to the four-day Show, with the finest horse and riders in action to compete for the prestigious prize, which went to Gregory Wathelet. The CAIO4* Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix came to a close following three days of intense competition, with Boyd Exell taking the spoils. Elsewhere, the Champagne Laurent Perrier Meet of the British Driving Society, featuring Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Lady Louise Windsor, provided a fantastic spectacle and the final of the DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games was won by Wales.

WATHELET RIDES TO GLORY IN THE ROLEX GRAND PRIX

The feature CSI5* class of the day, the Rolex Grand Prix, saw the world’s best horse and rider combinations battle it out for the prestigious title. Bernardo Costa Cabral’s up-to-height 1.60m course proved challenging, with only three riders making it through to the jump-off. The likes of World No. 2 Martin Fuchs, World No. 3 Henrik von Eckermann, and London International Horse Show Grand Prix winner, Harry Charles, all accumulated four faults in the first round.

First to go in the jump-off, Belgian Gregory Wathelet, laid down the gauntlet with the tightest of turns to the Rolex double at the far end of the arena and flying down to the final fence to set the time to beat of 34.79 seconds aboard Nevados S. Max Kühner was next to take up the challenge, and he set out meaning business with Elektric Blue P, but he was not able to match Wathelet’s time, leaving it to Daniel Bluman as the final remaining rider able to take over the lead. Bluman was able to get closer to Wathelet’s time, but in doing so accrued four faults at the very last fence, leaving him in third.

Wathelet said: “It is amazing to win a Grand Prix, especially a Rolex Grand Prix. I jumped in the Nations Cup at La Baule last week and the horse was jumping really well, so I was confident coming to Royal Windsor that he was on great form. It was a tough course which was very up to height, but I thought there would be more clears from the top combinations. Even though there weren’t many riders in the jump-off you still have to go fast and clear to win. The Show is incredible; the atmosphere and the crowds are amazing; all of the riders love coming here.”

THE CHARLES DYNASTY RULE AT ROYAL WINDSOR

The Show Jumping got off to an early start with the Protexin Equine Under-25 Jumping Competition featuring Great Britain’s top up-and-coming young riders. Of the seven combinations who went through to the second round, it was Sienna Charles riding Chinta Van Geluut Z who set the pace as second to go, jumping an immaculate round in a time of 34.93 seconds. Those who followed were unable to match Charles’ standard, with Joe Fernyhough coming closest with a clear in a time of 35.42 to finish second, ahead of Oliver Fletcher in third.

A delighted Charles said: “This class is one I’ve always wanted to win; I’ve come close a couple of times so I’m really pleased with how it’s gone today. I was off a lot of last year with injury or illness, so I took her [Chinta Van Geluut Z] to Spain to build up for the season and I’m really happy with her today.”

The Manama Rose Show Stakes was a speed class with riders jumping one round of 12 fences against the clock. Home favourite John Whitaker took an early lead, setting the standard with an impressive display of speed and agility. Compatriot Guy Williams, known for his skill against the clock, set off meaning business, but took an extra pull down to the last, which denied him pole position. It was Britain’s leading lady rider, Holly Smith, who was the first to put Whitaker’s lead in jeopardy, and with a forward stride to the last, shaved 0.61 seconds off his time to take the lead at the midway point.

Shane Breen stepped up the pace once again, galloping flat out to the last to set what looked to be an unbeatable target. However, ultimately it was Harry Charles who showed his class, taking over the lead with just four to go with a slick performance aboard Billabong du Roumois. The 22-year-old shaved off over two seconds from Breen’s time to take the victory, the perfect preparation for the afternoon’s Rolex Grand Prix.

Charles said: “He is a new horse to me, and this is our first win together. He is a fantastic horse, who is extremely fast and has a lot of potential, so I am really excited about our future together. I didn’t watch anyone in the jump-off; I just stuck to my plan which was to start off conservatively and build up the speed as the course went on. I can’t believe that we were two and a half seconds faster than everyone else – it truly is an ode to how fast the horse is. He is very similar to my top horse, Stardust. Both are naturally quick and careful – those horses are hard to beat!”

SHOWING CHAMPIONS CROWNED

Her Majesty The Queen only narrowly missed another win in the show ring. Her home-bred five-year-old Fool’s Paradise — rated “a star in the making” by rider/producer Katie Jerram-Hunnable — was second in the Novice Riding Horse sponsored by Mr and Mrs Phil Swallow. Coincidentally, this lovely gelding is the son of a mare called Stardust, whom Jerram-Hunnable rode to win the Ladies’ Show Horse class twice here in the past. The overall title went to Cheshire producer Vicky Smith with the Mears family’s Times Square.

Chief Showing steward Sebastian Garner was in celebration mode when his daughter Kinvara topped the Intermediate Show Hunters, riding the 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding Despicable Me for her employers, Steve Pitt and Vicky Smith.

Senior Castle Arena Showing Steward and long-time Royal Windsor supporter Philip Judge was also beside himself with joy when his oldest son, Harry, seven, won the Lead Rein Show Hunter Pony class with his charming grey pony, Thistledown Snowfall. Judge, who owns an international haulage company, has stewarded at the show for many years, and also competed here as a child.

At the other end of the equine size scale, Forgelands Hyde Park — Friday’s Hack Champion with producer Danielle Heath — returned to the Show to land the Intermediate Championship with his owner’s daughter, Issy Mears.

EXELL SECURES VICTORY

At the end of a thrilling three days of international action, Boyd Exell (AUS) stormed home the winner of the CAIO4* Land Rover Grand Prix nearly 16 penalties clear of his closest rival, Glenn Geerts (BEL). Having led from the start with an untouchable Dressage score, Boyd held on to his lead through the Marathon phase despite mounting pressure from Geerts and eventual third place Michael Brauchle (GER). However, Exell’s early advantage was too much for his competitors to match, and even a handful of penalties in the Cones kept him well clear of his rivals.

The Team title went to Belgium, whose line-up of Dries Degrieck, Glenn Geerts, and Tom Stokmans clinched the competition by just 0.51 of a point over Germany’s Michael Brauchle, Mareike Harm, and Rene Poensgen.

To find out more about Royal Windsor Horse Show, visit www.rwhs.co.uk.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com

Avoid These 3 Mistakes Inexperienced Horse Bettors Make

With sports betting now more straightforward, transparent, and encumbered with choice than ever before, it makes nothing but sense that there will be more customers than ever looking to place bets on sports from football to fencing, and from hockey to horse racing. Indeed, equine events have been more strongly linked to the gambling game than any other form of sport, so it’s no surprise that many a greenhorn will place a bet on horse racing from time to time.

While there is supposed to be a certain element of fun to betting on any sport – and you shouldn’t partake if the end result is going to leave you feeling bitterly angry – it is also something that should be taken seriously. If you want to enhance your chances of winning, it is wise to avoid some pitfalls that novice bettors make when placing money on a horse race.

Don’t be distracted by a favorite or a popular horse

All of the greatest horses lose occasionally. Seabiscuit himself only won ten of his first 40 races, and it’s an inescapable fact that favorites lose all the time. Certain horses become popular with spectators for a range of reasons, from a majestic running style to a distinctive look – the British racing community has long had a love of grays that has led to horses becoming household names. For a novice bettor, the temptation will be to pick a horse with whom they are familiar, or who is beloved of a large audience. Paying close attention to the form is a much better idea than picking the big name.

Don’t spread your attention too thin

Online bettors often have the chance to use bonus bets on a number of events, and given that these bonus bets can expire, there will be the temptation to use them quickly. The best online gambling sites make it easy to place bets on your chosen horses, but it’s worth holding fire and using each race as a learning experience. If you place a lot of bets at once, your strategy for choosing those bets may turn out to be flawed, and you can stack up the losses without any chance to change course. Place one bet, watch the race, and see how your hunches hold up. Then place another bet once you’re happy with your strategy.

Don’t chase losses or ignore your bankroll

It’s easy to deposit in a betting account, and easy too to be seduced by the idea that a losing bet needs a winning bet to balance it out. You should start any stint of betting with a fixed bankroll: a certain amount to bet in one day, or across a week or month. And once you’ve fixed that, you should stick to it. If you win a bet, you can reinvest that money in your bankroll or enjoy the windfall, but what you should never do is chase a loss. Your bankroll should be specifically drawn from money that you can afford to say goodbye to, because you can never guarantee a win. Betting ceases to be fun when you need a win, and knowing when to step away is essential. Of all the rules to follow, this is the most important one.

2022 Horse Stars Hall of Fame Inductees Announced Including the First Mule

Photo: Elmer the therapy mule.

The Horse Stars Hall of Fame honors the contributions of amazing horses by sharing the stories of their athletic and humanitarian feats. It was established by the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) in 2013 to celebrate the extraordinary talent of horses and their magical and powerful bond with people.

The USEF inducts the horses recognized annually as “Horses of Honor” for their stellar athletic performances. The EQUUS Foundation inducts horses who have had an inspirational impact on the public as companions, teachers, and healers.

The 2022 Horse Stars Hall of Fame inductees are Aupollo’s Midnight Marquee, Balou du Reventon, Big Shot, Elmer, Happy Thoughts, HS Daydream’s Heads Up, Suppenkasper, and TDO Blackburn Hop. For the first time, the inductees included Elmer, the mule, to share the story about how all equines – not just horses – are stars and have a great impact on people.

“On behalf of the EQUUS Foundation and the United States Equestrian Federation, we wish to recognize the contributions of Jessica Lash in authoring the profiles of the 2022 inductees and to the many authors and photographers who have contributed over the years,” said Lynn Coakley, EQUUS Foundation President.

“The Horse Stars Hall of Fame is a wonderful way to demonstrate the staying power of horses — as athletes, companions, teachers and healers — and their unique abilities to move us through a spectrum of experiences from thrill and exhilaration to pure joy. By sharing the stories of these amazing horses, we hope to build a more informed and compassionate America that values the impact of horses in our lives.”

Visit the Horse Stars Hall of Fame here.

To learn more about the EQUUS Foundation and their mission, please visit www.equusfoundation.org.

Horse Racing Tips You Must Know

Horse racing is a sport that is growing in most parts of the world. The influence has been seen to increase in the betting and gambling world. The sports involve two or more horses being ridden by jockeys competing over a set distance.

Horse betting is a very profitable endeavor if done properly. To win big, you will need the best betting strategies. The strategies reduce the edge, ensuring your bet has a high winning probability. This is a similar strategy you can win with Kentucky Derby odds.

Keep reading as we explore various horse racing tips, including betting on horses.

Factors Affecting Horse Racing Betting

The Course

The course used has an impact on the horse’s performance. Some houses have a high winning rate on a straight course, while others are more used to winding courses. When betting, you should put high consideration into this factor.

The Weather and Track

The weather affects how the horses drink water, feed, and the racing track’s condition. The best tracks are all-weather tracks that are not affected by the weather, and racing can occur anytime. A tough racecourse is good as there is less slippery under the horse’s hooves, providing good racing conditions.

The Distance

When betting, consider looking at the horse’s profile and what distances the horse performs at the optimal level. Some of the horses in the race are good at short races, giving them a high winning probability.

The Jockey

The jockey affects how the horse runs as they control the running of the animals. Some jockeys are always in the race to train the horse on the movements and maneuvers in the race. There are known winning jockeys, and you should have high consideration when betting.

Betting Tips in Horse Racing

When betting in horse racing, it is best to focus on your main strategies as many variables affect the outcome of the races. The historical behaviors of the horses have high consideration as horses are animals of habit.

Wager on Win, Place, and Show Bets

These are the easiest bets to wager in horse racing. The win is wagering on the horse you want to win the race. Place bets the horses have to finish fast or second in the race.

The show bet the horse is expected to finish either fast, second, or third. These bets can be made for every race, depending on your bankroll. The most conservative bet is the show bet where you wander over a range out of first, second, or third.

Concentrate on One Race

When betting in races, several races happen simultaneously. Most gamblers will want to place their bets spread out on different races. This is not a good strategy as you are highly dependent on luck to win the bet.

Find a sport where you feel you have an advantage with a high winning probability. Betting on the favorite horse will result in a small profit, but betting on the less popular horse to defeat the favorite will result in a large profit. Choosing one race and finding an edge is the best way to ensure you win your odds.

Avoid the Maiden Races

The maiden race is a horse race for new horses that have never won a race. This makes the race very hard to predict as nobody knows what horse has the best chance of winning the race.

The stable owners are not mainly interested in winning the race. The main aim of this race is to train the horse on how they should maneuver in races.

Choose a Track and Learn about It

When betting on horse racers, don’t jump from one track to another. Like betting in soccer, you know the underdog teams and know who the favorite team is to win a match in every game because you are familiar with the teams. Having a good understanding of how the horses are trained and who trains these horses gives you an advantage while betting.

While betting, the jockeys racing the horses should be well-understood and their previous race participations. It is easier to find patterns based on the combination and the different horse histories. The different types of horses and their races are a big consideration while betting.

When betting, you should always choose the bets that value the money you are waging. It ensures you are betting on the horses with the highest probability of winning. This ensures you are making profits from your bets.

Verdict

There’s a lot to know about horse racing. The most important factor is to find a race where you know the horses and their past performance. This will give you a good indication of who is likely to win the race. Betting on favorites can result in small profits, but an underdog can lead to large profits.

Now that you have all the information you need to get started, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice and start making some profits! Good luck!

Five Major Horse Racing Events to Check Out in 2022

Horse racing is one of the most popular sports today, and we enjoy different events every year. Depending on your preference, you can always bet on these events at your favorite sports betting site or online casino with a sportsbook section. If you are a fan of horse racing, you will know how exciting these events can get.

As a result, you want to enjoy all the major and local horse racing events. Even if you are new or want to enjoy the sport casually, you can check out the top events available for the year. So, here are five incredible horse racing events for you to enjoy this year.

Saudi Cup

The Saudis have been pivoting to different sports in recent years, and one of their latest endeavors is the Saudi Cup for horse racing. It is tagged as the richest horse racing event because of its large prize pool. The winner takes $10 million from the $20 million prize pool.

This year is even more significant as they have raised it to $35 million, and the winner will take $15 million. As it stands, no events globally come in terms of prize pool and size. So, without any doubt, we will find most of the top athletes participating, making it one of the most competitive horse racing events of the year.

Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham festival is one of the most exciting and thrilling horse racing events every year. It is also one of the UK’s most prominent events. Every year thousands of spectators worldwide visit to witness the event live. We expect this year to be the same, and we might even see more expensive horse breeds compete.

The event is famous for its races that include multiple jumps, and speed is not the only thing that matters here. You also need stamina. Any horse can win, making it a perfect place to place bets on underdogs, and you can win big.

The Grand National

The Grand National is one of the most prestigious horse racing events globally. In addition, it is the oldest jump race worldwide. It was created in 1839 by William Lynn, a Liverpool innkeeper. The event takes place on the Aintree course boasting one of the biggest pots in global horse racing.

Since this is a prestigious event, we will see some of the best thoroughbreds compete. In addition, this year’s event boasts of featuring 40 champion thoroughbreds that might compete. So, you should put this one on your radar if you can make it to Liverpool, England.

Kentucky Derby

Horse racing is also popular in America, although not as much as in European countries like the UK. However, in the US, the Kentucky Derby is one of the most prestigious annual events. The race takes place at the Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and has been around since 1875.

This year’s race will make it the 148th season of the event, and anyone familiar with it will know that there are strict restrictions and regulations to follow. Only the best breeds and successful horses that meet the entry requirement can sign up and enter the event. In addition, the Kentucky Derby is restricted to only 3-year-old horses.

Melbourne Cup Carnival

Our last entry for this year is the one that takes place in Australia, the Melbourne Cup. The race happens on the prestigious Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, and it is one of the top events that close out the horse racing calendar year. The event has a massive following in the country, and only the best horses enter.

The Cup features a run of more than 3 km, and it is even older than the Kentucky Derby as it started in 1861, and horses from other countries can enter the event. We’ve even seen horses from the US, UK, and Ireland win several races in the Melbourne Cup.

Bottom Line  

Horse racing is an incredible sport that feels everyone with excitement and thrill. You don’t even have to be a fan before you can enjoy a race. Just pick one of these significant events, tune in or go on to watch it live to enjoy the incredible atmosphere at the various horse racing tracks.

First Timer Guide to Attending the Kentucky Derby

Horse racing is a significant sport in the United States. Although it is not as big as Basketball, Baseball, or Football, the sport has a massive following in the country. As you would find various MLB picks today or other top sports, getting picks and betting on horse racing is possible. You only have to find the right sports betting site.

Since there are plenty of horse racing events worldwide, there is a wide range of options. However, the Kentucky Derby is one of the most significant in the US. It has been around since the 19th century, making it one of the oldest horse racing events in the world. As a result, it is a prestigious event that every US horse racing fan should try at least once.

If you plan to attend the 2022 Kentucky Derby, you need to read this guide as it covers all you need to know as a first-timer. So, let’s dive right in!

Plan Far in Advance

Before anything, you need to start your planning process far ahead of the competition. Undoubtedly, you are already considering attending the Derby. So, why not start the planning process to get ahead? In turn, you will have enough time before the competition begins, and there will be no rush.

Book through the Official Website

You need to be careful when you want to book tickets for the event. You will find many shady options looking to siphon your money. So, take your time to find the official Kentucky Derby website and book your tickets. To avoid missing out on tickets and rush hours, you should undoubtedly plan ahead of time.

Consider Tickets Including Food

There are different kinds of tickets that you can buy for the Derby. You should go for the one that comes with food. You do not want to pay extra for food at the Churchill Downs outlets. So, you should consider buying the tickets that include food if they are available and within your spending budget.

Do Some Research on the Horses Ahead of Time

So that you do not look lost before the start of the races, you should ensure that you research the racing horses ahead of time. Once it is certain that you are going to the Kentucky Derby, you should start checking out the different horses and their previous performances at the Derby.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

When you start packing your clothes, you need to consider comfortable shoes. You do not want to have any problem watching the races as they can go on for hours. Therefore, you need to go for comfort over fashion. However, if you can get a pair that can do both, you should certainly go for them.

Wear Pink on Friday

On Fridays, the dress code is pink at Churchill Downs. So, if you are planning to go to the races this year, you should pack pink dresses. The reason is that Friday is devoted to fillies, female horses, races, and it is tagged Oaks Day. So, in honor of that, everyone is expected to adorn pink.

Bring Some Rain Gear

Since this is a springtime event, you should expect rain from time to time. Therefore, you should pack a few clear ponchos so you are ready whenever it rains and do not have to miss the races.

Don’t Forget Sunscreen

Even though it is spring, you still need to go with your sunscreen to avoid getting sunburned. You might have to stay under the sun during the event for a while. So, you should try packing a few sunscreens before leaving the house.

Learn How to Bet

Before going to the event, you should learn how to place a few bets on the horses. Not to worry, there are many resources online that can help you get started. In addition, ensure that you already know about the horses before you start placing your bets.

Final Thoughts

The Kentucky Derby is undoubtedly exciting to watch, and if you can make it down to Churchill Downs, you will have a massive range of fun. So, if you want to attend this year’s event, you need to start planning today. Take your time to follow this guide, and you will not have any problems.

Tell BLM to Put Cameras on Roundup Helicopters

Sick and old wild horses and burros and foals are terrorized, injured, and killed in helicopter roundups.

They are chased in extreme heat in the summer and below freezing temperatures in winter. They are driven countless miles — no one knows for sure how many, because no one monitors the helicopters.

Heavily pregnant mares are sometimes pursued so long and hard that they miscarry their foals, sometimes on the run, due to the physical stress caused by the chase.

We know how the Bureau of Land Management uses helicopters is inhumane — and The Cloud Foundation is dedicated to changing BLM policy, to get cameras on the roundup helicopters, trap sites, and roundup holding facilities.

Just like law enforcement cameras, this would help to ensure transparency, accountability, and added protection for our wild horses and burros.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW!

Submit your personalized comments by clicking here and demanding BLM incorporate cameras on each stage of the roundup activity — on helicopters, on the trap, and on holding sites.

The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Fuchs Wins the Title with the Horse of His Heart

(L to R) runner-up Harrie Smolders (NED), winner Martin Fuchs (SUI), and third-placed Jens Fredricson (SWE). (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

Switzerland’s Martin Fuchs was rightly proud when standing top of the podium as winner of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2022 Final in Leipzig, Germany. He came so close to clinching the trophy at the last Final in 2019 when slotting in behind his compatriot and three-time champion Steve Guerdat, and as he said, “I’ve been a couple of times second in Championships, and you obviously have it in mind you could be second again with the best riders in the world coming after me today.”

But in the end, he and his trusty steed Chaplin were the only ones in the leading pack to stand firm in the closing stages. Chaplin gave him everything, and more, over two rounds of tough jumping in which only three of the 30 starters left both courses intact. When Sweden’s Jens Fredricson was one of those, he finished third behind The Netherlands’ Harrie Smolders who claimed the second step of the podium.

Held the lead

America’s McLain Ward held the lead as the final day began, but a first-round error with Contagious left the 2017 champion vulnerable. He shared a four-fault tally with Smolders as the second round got underway, with Fuchs stalking the two of them carrying just five and on level pegging with young British star Harry Charles riding Romeo.

But a pole off the first element of the triple combination second time out saw Charles lose his grip, and when Smolders’ gelding, Monaco, clipped the following vertical, then Fuchs was quickly moving up the order.

Ward had no leeway now when last to go; any mistake would see his advantage unravel, and when his 13-year-old gelding lowered the middle element of the triple combination and also the white planks three fences from home, Fuchs had it in the bag, becoming only the fourth Swiss rider in the long history of the FEI Jumping World Cup series to hold the trophy aloft.

He rode Chaplin in Thursday’s first competition but swapped for The Sinner in Friday’s second leg. “After having a rail down on Friday, I wasn’t so sure I had made the right plan. But then I was still sitting in third place, so I thought two clear rounds with Chaplin on Sunday and we’ll be on the podium.

“That I end up winning this prestigious and historical competition obviously is a dream come true. All the best of the best riders’ names are written on this trophy and now to add mine is fantastic!” he said. He is the second member of the Fuchs family to win it; his uncle Markus Fuchs took the title with the brilliant Tinka’s Boy back in 2001.

Upset

Talking about losing his lead in Friday’s competition but somehow holding on for victory, he said, “When I came out on Friday, I walked to the warm-up and was pretty upset, but then Steve said, ‘Congratulations, now you must win on Sunday after what you did today!’ In hindsight when I looked at the video of my round, I was very happy, though obviously I was a bit lucky that I ended the course with these four points. It was a good plan that Chaplin had two days of rest and came back today to produce two clear rounds”

This was Smolders’ second time to finish in runner-up spot; his last was partnering Emerald back in 2016 when Guerdat posted the first of his three wins. But the Dutchman was delighted with his horse. “This was his first Championship, and I wasn’t sure how it would be. We knew he could do it one day, but over three days it’s a totally different story. He was coping with it very easily, so I think this won’t be his last Championship,” the delighted Dutchman said.

Plenty to celebrate

Meanwhile, Jens Fredricson also had plenty to celebrate. The older brother of Swedish phenomenon Peder Fredricson never touched a pole, and although others may have been surprised to see him on the podium, he wasn’t a bit surprised himself. He was lying ninth as the day began, and he and his horse, Markan Cosmopolit, were in spectacular form.

“I had great expectations actually and I enjoyed every second; it’s fantastic to be here doing what I love!” he said.

He describes himself as a “hobby rider” but his CV would suggest he’s long been a serious contender with a lifetime of international successes behind him. “I work at Flyinge and Stromsholm. I’m responsible for the next generation of riding instructors in Sweden,” he explained.

His last time at an FEI World Cup Final was on home ground in Gothenburg in 2013, and he admitted he’s made quite a few changes to his riding style since then. Partly due to the influence of his younger brother, Peder.

“I had the advantage of watching him going up to World No. 1. We talked almost every day so even if I wasn’t at the shows, I was there mentally. I followed his thinking and his development and I tried to do the same things, and I’ve changed a little bit my approach to the fences, and I now have a horse with very big scope. So I can sit a bit more still and have a better style. Before I used to throw my heart over and then we went over together; now when I look at the videos of my riding and it looks quite okay! I’m blessed that I have such good contact with my little brother. One of the most fantastic things in our sport is that I’m 55 years old and getting better every day. If I was running 100 metres, I would be less good every day!” he said with a laugh.

He also pointed out how great it is to see the younger generation rising through the ranks. “You want young riders coming up; there are some in their 20s like Jack (Whitaker, GBR) and Harry (Charles, GBR) and others. It’s important to have positive young riders coming along with good horses; that’s how the sport develops and gets better,” he pointed out.

Biggest names

Fuchs of course is one of those, not yet 30 but already one of the very biggest names in the sport. Over the last five years he has rarely been off the podium at any of the majors, taking individual silver at the FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018, runner-up at the last World Cup Final in 2019, and following with individual European gold that same year before taking team gold and individual silver at the FEI European Championships in 2021. Now he’s topped all that by taking the trophy every rider treasures: the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup.

And he did it with the big, brave, and charming Chaplin who he calls “the horse of my heart!” Many of the Swiss rider’s biggest wins were achieved with his brilliant grey Clooney who he describes as “a superstar and the most talented horse I’ve ever had.” But Chaplin is also super-special.

“He is just the biggest fighter; he doesn’t have the ability that Clooney has, but at the end he always gives everything. It was nice in the past few weeks because we got a lot of photos of his first foals, because last year he started breeding with some mares, so in the last two weeks we have a lot of pictures of new Chaplin babies so that was exciting. And now to come here and win the World Cup Final with him….”

For sure that is a dream come true.

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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

Von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera Triumph, while Werth Retires Weihegold in Style

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl (FEI/Richard Juilliart)

There’s nothing like a big win on home ground, but there’s also nothing like retiring a superstar horse in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd, so the Freestyle finale had it all when Jessica von Bredow-Werndl steered Dalera to victory at the FEI Dressage World Cup™ Final 2022 where the sport said a rousing farewell to Isabell Werth’s great mare, Weihegold OLD.

The Leipzig Messe was electric with excitement all night, and some of the equine stars shrank under the intensity of the noisy atmosphere during the first half of the competition.

But when it came down to the wire the big names really rose to the occasion, and it was Denmark’s Cathrine Dufour who lined up second with her new young star Vamos Amigos, while Werth and Weihegold finished third.

Raised the bar

Werth raised the bar when putting a score of 85.921 on the board when fifth-last to go in the field of 17, Weihegold producing a stunning test that was full of energy and beautifully ridden by the lady long known as “The Queen” of dressage. The knowledgeable crowd was with them every step of the way, knowing that this was their last performance together as the mare was to be retired. When they came to a halt, the crowd rose to their feet with an enormous roar to acknowledge them.

Team gold and individual silver at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, European team gold in 2017, three FEI Dressage World Cup™ titles in a row including the last one in 2019, and team gold at last year’s European Championships in Hagen (GER) amongst their many achievements – their record has been extraordinary.

Denmark’s Nanna Skodborg Merrald followed with an impressive performance from the big-moving Atterupgaards Orthilia, who posted 81.239 for second place temporarily; next in was her compatriot, Carina Cassøe Krüth, whose ride on the light-footed, loose-limbed Heiline’s Danciera included fearlessly forward one-tempi changes. The crowd held their breath until the scoreboard showed 84.971 – Werth was still out in front.

Looked threatening

However, the last of the Danes had yet to come, and Cathrine Dufour always looked threatening when steering Vamos Amigo through a brilliant test, although clearly she wasn’t pushing the 10-year-old to the limit in extended canter. It was no wonder because, as she said afterwards, “He was a bomb today for sure!” He certainly looked explosive but contained himself to the very end and, once his rider relaxed the rein, wandered out the arena like he’d heard a crowd like this a million times. He certainly hasn’t though.

“He’s never been in a ring as full as this before; he was really brave today!” Dufour said with delight.

But the story certainly wasn’t over yet because the lady who has dominated the podiums at both the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the European Championships last summer was yet to take her turn.

Crest of a wave

Jessica von Bredow-Werndl arrived in Leipzig for this week’s Final on the crest of a wave but, as she pointed out, a little “rounder” than usual because she is expecting her second baby to arrive in a few months’ time. However, the little bit of extra weight wasn’t bothering Dalera as the pair executed yet another exquisite test that demonstrated the delightful harmony between these two.

The balance, rhythm, accuracy, and lightness, and the drama of their tempi changes all came together to present the loveliest picture, and as they pranced up the final centreline, it was clear the result was done and dusted. When their score of 90.836 was announced the crowd erupted yet again.

Winner von Bredow-Werndl said afterwards, “I just wanted to come here and of course it was my goal to show what we have shown the last couple of months, but it couldn’t have been better to take a little break now and come back soon!”

Dufour joked that she shouldn’t rush returning to the sport after her baby arrives – “Just stay away for a while!” she suggested with an enormous laugh.

The Danes had every reason to be on a high, Dufour filling second spot, Cassøe Krüth finishing fourth, and Skodborg Merrald lining up in fifth place, while Germany’s Helen Langehanenberg had to settle for sixth. It was a show of mighty strength from Denmark, and it’s a real shot in the arm ahead of this summer’s World Dressage Championships on their home ground in Herning in four months’ time.

Really fantastic

“It’s really fantastic to see how the system in Denmark has gone so well over last four or five years, and you clearly see what has been produced – riders bringing young horses to the top; the two girls that are here are really cool and they can perform under pressure, myself included, and of course we love to put pressure on the girls sitting here!” she said, looking at Werth and von Bredow-Werndl.

“But there is still some way to go; we saw that in 2020 suddenly things change, so for now we are going to keep the horses sharp, try to make a good plan, and then really just enjoy that the Championship is going to be on Danish soil. That is quite fantastic in itself, and we are looking forward to inviting everyone for a great battle and great sport,” Dufour added.

When asked about the Ukrainian flag she had pinned to her tailcoat, she explained, “There is an awful situation going on right now, so I’m wearing it to show support to the people affected by this crazy war.” Newly-crowned champion, von Bredow-Werndl, leaned forward in agreement and added, “We all carry that flag in our hearts.”

Flowing again

After the prizegiving, the emotions were flowing again when Werth and Weihegold entered the arena for the mare’s retirement ceremony. “When you are in a competition you are focused on that, and of course the last line (of their Freestyle) was also quite emotional and when they gave Weihe the standing ovation that was very great. But to go in with the team of people who have been around for the last seven or eight years – that was really emotional, to feel the atmosphere,” Werth said. However, she felt it was the perfect send-off in the end. “It was what you wish for a horse like her, to give her the last honour – it was just super!” she added.

Meanwhile, von Bredow-Werndl reflected on the performance from Dalera that made success possible. “There are no words! She was phenomenal – she always leaves her heart for me in that square (in the arena), and it is not natural at all, and at the same time she does it again and again. I have the feeling even now that we are not yet at the end of our journey together!” said the athlete who believes her mare has even more room for improvement, and who became the sixth German athlete to win the coveted FEI Dressage World Cup™ trophy since the first Final took place back in 1986.

Result here.

by Louise Parkes

Media contact:

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