Category Archives: *Featured/Spotlights

Special features, spotlights, headlines

Where Next for Saudi Cup Winner Mishriff?

Source: Unsplash.

Mishriff produced the performance of his career to claim the 2021 Saudi Cup earlier this year at the King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh. John Gosden’s runner got the better of the American horse Charlatan in the closing stages of the prestigious dirt contest.

His win in Riyadh opens a lot of doors for the British-based horse, including some of the major races on the surface which are set to take place in the United States over the course of the rest of the year. Here is a look at some of those targets.

Royal Ascot Likely to Be Next

The Royal Meeting at Ascot is one of the biggest weeks of the year in Europe and given Mishriff is based in the UK, it would be a surprise if he did not line up in one of the races across the five days.

If he runs at Ascot in June, it will be his first appearance at the track since coming home at the back end of the field in the Champion Stakes last October. It will be interesting to see how Gosden’s runner fares in the horse racing predictions for the meeting.  As the community speculates on who will win, tools such as this will consider all elements when deciding odds. He has yet to win at the track but his latest form is excellent, two factors that will be worked into the tools used to predict the winners. These systems can offer greater insight which may even change your betting patterns.

Options at Royal Ascot include the Queen Anne Stakes (1m), Prince of Wales’s Stakes (1m2f), and Hardwicke Stakes (1m4f). The middle of those three races looks the most likely. Gosden has been successful on four occasions in that contest, including last year with Lord North.

Breeders’ Cup Classic Must Be a Target

Consideration is surely going to be given to the Breeders’ Cup Classic this year for Mishriff. The feature race of the world championship meeting is one of the most prestigious events in world racing. Success in the race would help elevate the horse into one of the best of his generation.

This year’s Breeders’ Cup meeting takes place at Del Mark Racecourse in California. A rematch with Charlatan could take place in that race in what would be a fascinating dual. It is Bob Baffert’s runner who currently tops the betting for the 1m2f contest on day two of the meeting.

Gosden became the first European trainer to win the Breeders’ Cup when he was successful with Raven’s Pass in 2008. If he can land the prize again 13 years later, it will be a huge achievement for the man who was once based in California.

Arc Hard to Refuse

Another race the British horse is likely to be campaigned for in 2021 is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris. That race takes place on turf, something which should not be a problem for him as he recently scored in the Sheema Classic.

The Arc attracts the best middle-distance horses from Europe, Japan, and other places around the world. It is a difficult race to win as it is often a large field, leaving the runners short for room on the course at Longchamp.

Gosden has won the Arc three times. He did so with the Derby winner Golden Horn in 2015, while the super mare, Enable, was victorious in 2017 and 2018.

This could be the final year we see Mishriff on the track before a career at stud. The more valuable races he sweeps up before then, the higher his value will become once he retires from the track.

BLM Plans to Wipe Out Southern Nevada Burros

Last month we told you about the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to eliminate burros from their own lands in California. NOW the agency is working to decimate the wild burro herds of Southern Nevada.

America’s wild burros just can’t get a break. BLM’s mismanagement keeps them at such low population levels that these gentle but hardy animals now face a genetic crisis.

PLEASE take a moment to speak up for the wild burros – and wild horses – of Nevada’s Lake Mead Complex.

Silence is complicity, so we MUST stand up and be heard. We can’t let America’s few remaining wild burros go without a fight!

The Cloud Foundation
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Max Kühner Wins Rolex Grand Prix at Dutch Masters, Becomes Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder.

Three days of spectacular CSI5* international show jumping at The Dutch Masters culminated with the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix, the first Rolex Grand Slam Major of 2021. The equestrian world’s eyes were on 28-year-old Swiss Rolex Testimonee, Martin Fuchs, who travelled to ‘s-Hertogenbosch as Live Contender, following his Rolex Grand Prix win at the CHI Geneva in December 2019.

Partnered by his talented grey gelding, Clooney 51, Fuchs faced formidable opposition from a string of experienced riders, including Scott Brash from Great Britain, American Kent Farrington, current world number one-ranked rider, Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, and Frenchman Kevin Staut. Other established names, such as German trio Marcus Ehning, Christian Ahlmann, and Daniel Deusser, US rider Laura Kraut, and Peder Fredricson from Sweden, helped to make up a truly impressive list of 43 starters from 15 nations, many of whom were more than capable of becoming the new Live Contender.

With Brash and his 12-year-old gelding, Hello Jefferson, and Farrington and his 13-year-old mare, Austria 2, both retiring, Fuchs and Staut each picking up eight penalty points, and many others failing to navigate the Louis Konickx-designed course fault-free, just eight combinations progressed to the jump-off – a seven-obstacle, 330m final test of ultimate skill, determination, and precision.

Philipp Weishaupt was the only one of the eight jump-off riders to have triumphed in a Rolex Grand Slam Major before (CHIO Aachen 2013 and CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ 2017), giving the German a slight edge in terms of experience. Weishaupt’s opposition included fellow countryman Christian Kukuk, Belgian duo, Jerome Guery and Gudrun Patteet, Luciana Diniz from Portugal, Brazilian Marlon Modolo Zanotelli, Max Kühner from Austria, and home favourite Willem Greve.

First to go, Weishaupt set the early pace, jumping clear in a time of 33.71 seconds; however, his lead was short-lived, as Christian Kukuk and his 11-year-old grey gelding Checker 47 went next, stopping the clock 0.14 seconds under Weishaupt’s time. With none of the following four riders able to better Kukuk’s performance, the Grand Prix’s fate lay with Modolo Zanotelli and Kühner. The penultimate partnership to go, Kühner and his 10-year-old gelding, Elektric Blue P, set off at blistering pace, crossing the finish line over a second ahead of Kukuk, etching his name at the top of the leaderboard, where he was to remain after the 32-year-old Brazilian couldn’t quite find enough speed at the last fence, slotting into a very respectable second place.

Delighted with his performance, the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender, Max Kühner, commented: “The Rolex Grand Slam has always been a big aim for me, so I’m very happy that it worked out today.

“I bought Elektric Blue [Elektric Blue P] when he was a two-year-old. I saw him do one free jump on a video, and I said I like him, and the auction was already running, so we bought him. He’s always done everything very well, he was always a very good horse, and he never disappointed me. He has unbelievable possibilities, as jumping is quite easy for him. He has a good character and likes to do the sport. At home he gets bored quite easily, so we have a special programme for him. We hack him and drive him to where he can climb a little bit in the mountains.

“Spruce Meadows and Aachen in September were already on my schedule. It’s still far away, but we will try to make a plan as early as possible. We will aim to take Chardonnay [Chardonnay 79] to Calgary, as he finished third in the last CP ‘International’, presented by Rolex in 2019, where he jumped very nicely. And maybe we’ll take Elektric Blue to Aachen.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Jack Whitaker Victorious in the Audi Prize

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder.

Forty-one horse and rider combinations from 15 nations made up the start list for the feature class on Day 2 of The Dutch Masters 2021 – the 1m55 Audi Prize. The star-studded line-up – which included former Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender, Philipp Weishaupt, 20-year-old rising British star and the next generation of show jumping talent, Jack Whitaker, and the on-form American, Laura Kraut – promised global equestrian fans watching online and on television a masterclass in show jumping skill and horsemanship.

After 10 starters, Kevin Staut and his 12-year-old bay mare, Visconti Du Telman, were the only pair to go clear, proof that course designer Louis Konickx had set a tough 13-obstacle, 16-effort test for both horse and rider. The Frenchman was soon to be joined in the jump-off by the only rider to have ever won the prestigious Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title, Scott Brash, who steered his talented 12-year-old stallion, Hello Vincent, effortlessly around the Brabanthallen’s stunning arena. Current world number one-ranked Swiss rider Steve Guerdat also went clear, setting up a scintillating and fascinating 11-horse jump-off.

Second to go in the jump-off – a demanding seven-obstacle challenge – Brash was the first of the 11 riders to go double clear, setting off at blistering pace, navigating the course with typical precision, and stopping the clock on 36.16 seconds, a target that looked tough to beat. With just two additional riders managing to go double clear – Marlon Modolo Zanotelli from Brazil and German Christian Kukuk – it appeared as though the Scotsman had proceedings sewn up. However, Jack Whitaker had other things on his mind, and full of confidence, the Yorkshireman and his black mare, Scenletha, shaved a decisive 0.37 seconds off Brash’s time. Whitaker will have watched last to go Kent Farrington with his heart in his mouth, but the American was unable to topple him, eventually slotting into second place.

Thrilled with his win, Whitaker commented, “The feeling is fantastic! It’s what everyone comes here to do, and it’s what I came here to do, but amongst some of these world-class riders it’s a bit surreal when you win, so I’m a bit stuck for words, to be honest – it’s fantastic! It’s my first 5* win, and it hasn’t sunk in. But as I say, it’s what you come here to do, and I knew it was just a case of when it was going to eventually happen, and it finally has.

“Scenletha is unbelievable; she’s such a nice horse. She’s so consistent and she’s got a lovely character, but she’s also feisty. Tonight, she fought for me a bit, and I can’t thank her enough. She’ll get plenty of polos and pats later!

“I’d just like to say thank you very much to the young Riders Academy for putting me in this position, and for everything they’ve done so far. I just hope that they can continue supporting and helping young riders like me.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Daniel Deusser Wins VDL Groep Prize

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Peggy Schröder.

The VDL Groep Prize was the highlight of Day 1 of the 2021 edition of The Dutch Masters, and attracted 41 leading horse and rider partnerships, among them 13 of the world’s top-20-ranked show jumpers, including Swiss world number one and Rolex Testimonee, Steve Guerdat, world number six, Pieter Devos from Belgium, and American Rolex Testimonee, Kent Farrington, currently ranked seventh.

Local course designer, Louis Konickx, set a fair 13-obstacle 1m55 test in the Brabanthallen’s main arena, with 10 combinations eventually progressing to compete in the jump-off. Christian Kukuk from Germany and his grey gelding Checker 47 set the quickest first-round time of 71.29 seconds, and they were joined by riders from six different nations, including two local Dutch riders – Kim Emmen and Marc Houtzager – making it a truly international spectacle and final showdown.

Second to go, it was Emmen and her 12-year-old stallion, Jack van het Dennehof, who set the early pace; however, it was Rio 2016 team bronze medallist, Daniel “Double D” Deusser and his 12-year-old gelding, Casallvano, who ultimately proved too strong for her and the rest of the field, as they breezed around the seven-obstacle jump-off, fault-free in a time of 35.66 seconds to claim the honours.

Thrilled with his victory, the 40-year-old German commented, “Having walked the course, I was quite surprised that there were so many clear rounds. My strategy in the jump-off was to try and win the class. I have to say, all the lines and the turns worked out really well, so I’m absolutely delighted for my horse tonight.

“Casallvano is actually a really scopey horse. He’s a little bit shy when he comes into the ring, but that’s also a positive part of being very careful on the jumps. I have to say that although he’s a very fast horse, I had in the last one or two weeks a couple of turns that didn’t work out like I expected, and I finally came to that point today where everything works out, which makes me very proud.

“Considering the circumstances, it’s not normal that we can do our job at the moment. The organisation here and the sponsors did a great job to make that happen and let us ride again.

“I will ride Scuderia Tobago [Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z] in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday. He is in great shape and he had a couple of very good results in Wellington a couple of weeks ago, and I hope to continue in the same shape on Sunday.”

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

The Dutch Masters “Riders Watch”: Who to Look Out For in the Rolex Grand Prix

Scott Brash at The Dutch Masters 2019 (Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof)

The Dutch Masters 2021, part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping, will host the first equestrian Major of the year, and will be held from 23-25 April in the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the south of the Netherlands. After more than a year of uncertainty, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent Equine Virus (EHV-1), organisers of this year’s show are delighted to welcome many of the world’s best riders and their horses to compete at the legendary Brabanthallen over three days of world-class equestrian competition.

As with each of the four Majors that comprise the Rolex Grand Slam – The Dutch Masters, CHIO Aachen, CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’, and CHI Geneva – this year’s edition of The Dutch Masters will peak on the Sunday afternoon with the Rolex Grand Prix, with elite riders – including 15 out of the current world top 20 – battling it out to become the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender.

Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping – Rider Watch

The Dutch Masters 2021 has attracted no fewer than six Rolex Testimonees, including British show jumper, Scott Brash, who remains the first and only rider to have ever won three consecutive Majors, thereby claiming the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping title in September 2015. Brash has spent 2021 competing in the Qatari capital, Doha, and in Lier in northern Belgium, and comes to The Dutch Masters hoping to reclaim live contender status.

Joining Brash is current world number one-ranked rider, Steve Guerdat. Guerdat has a stellar record at Rolex Majors, having triumphed in the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in both 2013 and 2015, and the Swiss show jumper will be aiming to add The Dutch Masters Major crown to his enviable list of titles.

As a result of winning the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in December 2019, current world number three-ranked rider Martin Fuchs comes to The Dutch Masters, as the live Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping contender. The Swiss rider has spent the most part of 2021 at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, USA with his grey geldings, Clooney 51 and Leone Jei, and will do whatever it takes to ensure he remains live contender going into the CSIO Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ in September.

2014 FEI World Equestrian Games™ Individual gold medalist and home favourite, Jeroen Dubbeldam, travels to The Dutch Masters with Forever SFN, Kennedy Z, and Oak Grove’s Carlyle. While a Major win eludes Dubbeldam, the Dutchman will have his sights firmly set on a big result in Sunday’s Rolex Grand Prix. Dubbeldam makes up a string of 11 entries for the Netherlands, including Bart Bles, Kim Emmen, Willem Grieve, Marc Houtzager, Kevin Jockems, Johnny Pals, former world number one-ranked rider, Harrie Smolders, Leopold van Asten, Eric van der Vleuten, and Jur Vrieling.

Kent Farrington and compatriot Laura Kraut are the sole representatives from the USA at this year’s Dutch Masters. A two-time Major winner (CHI Geneva 2017 and CHIO Aachen 2019), Farrington travels to ‘s-Hertogenbosch with his gelding Creedance and mare Austria 2, and the current world number seven-ranked rider has the necessary experience and aptitude to be confident that he will very much be in the mix in the Rolex Grand Prix on Sunday.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Exclusive Interview with Rolex Grand Slam Live Contender Martin Fuchs

Photo: Rolex Grand Slam / Ashley Neuhof.

What are your plans for 2021 and what would you like to achieve?

Well, obviously the biggest goal for 2021 is the Olympic Games in Tokyo. That is my number one target; I dream about getting a medal at the Olympic Games. Another main focus for me is the Rolex Grand Slam, especially for me, as I’m currently the Live Contender for the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping. In any normal year, the four Majors are the most important shows, but being the Live Contender gives an extra edge to it.

You won the Rolex Grand Prix at CHI Geneva in 2019, which makes you the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping Live Contender. Does this give you extra motivation to win the Rolex Grand Prix at this year’s The Dutch Masters?

Being the Live Contender of the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is very exciting. I do try to look at it like any other show, as every time I bring Clooney to the big classes, I try to win, and at any Major that I go to, I’m always trying to be at the top of my game. So, I’m trying to approach it like any other competition, although it does cross my mind every now and then that this could be a really big achievement to win two in a row.

What have you learnt over the course of the last year (about yourself and generally), and what positives will you take?

I’ve learnt that I can be happy and enjoy other things, rather than just horses, that I don’t have to be at horse shows every week. I’ve liked spending time with friends and family; of course, I’ve done that before, but it’s usually been done on the road. I’ve appreciated having some down time and not constantly traveling.

Read more here.

© 2021 Rolex – Rolex Grand Slam

Jorst Concludes AGDF 2021 with Victory in FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*

Charlotte Jorst and Kastel’s Nintendo ©SusanStickle.

Wellington, FL – April 4, 2021 – The 2021 Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF) resumed its final day of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL on Sunday, April 4. Victory and a personal best score went to Charlotte Jorst (USA) and Kastel’s Nintendo in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI3*, presented by Wellington Equestrian Realty.

Jorst and Kastel Denmark’s 2003 KWPN stallion by Negro rode to a “Pirates of the Caribbean”-themed freestyle, highlighting the horse’s big movement and showcasing his talent for the piaffe and passage. The test ultimately won them a 77.400%. “It feels great to hit a personal best,” began Jorst “but to be honest, now it has me wanting more!”

She continued, “I’ve had lessons with Debbie [McDonald] this week, and that has really seemed to help me finesse those little things that needed to be finessed. He was great in the Grand Prix, so yesterday I just walked him out. Today, I just warmed up a little beforehand to keep him fresh. He loves it, and he really loves his job.”

The pair, based on the West Coast for the remainder of the year, has enjoyed Florida this season and Jorst admitted that each season she likes it more and more. “This season I’ve been here longer than I ever have in the past,” she explained. “There’s just so much kindness here. I feel like in this community in Florida is one family. For me, this has been an incredible season full of personal growth and friendships. It’s really been an incredible season for me on all fronts, and it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly supportive this community is.”

The FEI Intermediaire I Freestyle CDI3* was topped by Dongseon Kim (KOR) and his own Lord Nunes, a 2012 Rheinlander stallion by Lord Loxley I, who earned a 72.850%. Second place went to Elaine Cordia Van Reesema (USA) on her own 2010 KWPN gelding, Fellow (Amazing Star), earning a score of 70.075%. Third was rounded out by Spain’s Paula Matute Guimon on Deborah Ann Berger’s 2005 Hanoverian gelding by White Star, Legacy’s Walentino, with 69.150%.

For more information and results, please visit www.GlobalDressageFestival.com.

David Blake Blasts Off in $50k Wanderers Club Grand Prix CSI2* to Conclude 2021 WEF

David Blake (IRL) and Dy Zento © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – April 4, 2021 – On the final day of the 2021 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF), David Blake (IRL) and Dy Zento, owned by Pine Hollow Farm, put forth a stellar double clear effort on their way to being crowned victorious in the $50,000 Wanderers Club Grand Prix CSI2* on Sunday, April 4, at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC).

In the feature class on Sunday morning, a total of 44 pairs represented the starting field as course designer Olaf Petersen Jr. (GER) set an impressive 1.45m track. Just five horse-and-rider combinations from the first half of the class qualified for the jump-off while another 10 pairs were added to the list from the second half. In the end, an exciting group of 15 set to return represented seven different nations.

The fourth rider to jump in the subsequent round posted the first double clear effort of the day, as Alejandro Karolyi (VEN) guided Venitienne, a Karolyi Showjumping Inc.-owned entry, around the track effortlessly. He and the 12-year-old Selle Français mare by Lando x Flipper D’Elle crossed the finish line in a time of 47.90 seconds.

Next to go would answer the questions even faster as Kevin Mealiff (IRL) and Tupac Van De Vrombautshoeve Z, owned by Oakmont Stables, LLC, set the new leading time of 44.05 seconds. Mealiff and the 11-year-old Zangersheide gelding by Thunder VD Zuuthoeve would hold the lead through the next few pairs until Blake and Dy Zento returned.

Broder and Gorin-Byrne Finish WEF 2021 on a High Note in the Bruno Delgrange Palm Beach Adult Medal

On the final day of the WEF 2021 season, Amber Broder and Tip Jar bested a field of 14 adult equitation riders in the Rost Arena to claim the top prize in the Bruno Delgrange Palm Beach Adult Medal. Tracey Gorin-Byrne and Fiach Byrne Inc.’s Honor Hill’s Giovanni were awarded as the Bruno Delgrange Palm Beach Adult Medal Series Winners.

Equitation riders were asked to navigate an over fences course and then the top 12 scores returned for a flat phase in the medal. Broder, of Setauket, NY, and Tip Jar, owned by Kimberly Griffiths, earned a score of 85 in the first round and moved up two spots in the flat portion to take home the blue ribbon.

“I felt like I did all of the jumps really well,” commented Broder. “I was just trying to make all my distances match and be consistent. He was really with me today. To end so strong with one of my favorite horses and a horse I feel so lucky to ride was amazing.”

For more information and results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Yvonne Losos De Muñiz Rides to Second Personal Best Score of Week at AGDF

Yvonne Losos De Muñiz and Aquamarijn ©SusanStickle.

Wellington, FL – April 3, 2021 – It was Yvonne Losos De Muñiz (DOM) and Aquamarijn who notched another victory on Saturday, April 3, at the Adequan® Global Dressage Festival (AGDF), this time in the FEI Grand Prix Freestyle CDI 4*, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, after riding to yet another personal best score of 80.745%.

“Right now I think I’m still on cloud nine,” said Losos De Muñiz after her performance with the 2005 KWPN mare by United. “The whole week has been incredible. As I mentioned yesterday, I am incredibly satisfied in knowing that the training is working, that I’m on and she’s on.”

She continued, “I’m thrilled where I ended up. I’ve reached all of my personal goals, and right now I’m exactly where I wanted to be going into this next part of training while setting up for the Olympics, so I’m going to go on vacation now! This season I made my freestyle more difficult, and there was a period of time once or twice after riding it that I have been tempted to back off and tone it down, but I knew that if I could ride it at home then I could ride it here. I just needed to figure out the amount of pressure where, when, and how, and today I figured it out. We nailed it, and it was such a cool feeling going down that center line, and I just wanted to cheer the whole way. It’s really an amazing feeling when you’re at that point with your equine partner; there is no other feeling in the world. It’s pretty amazing.”

Losos De Muñiz also credited the quality and atmosphere of the AGDF venue, saying, “The atmosphere here [at AGDF] is amazing, and while I know that there are other incredible venues out there, I think that this venue here offers us so much in every aspect. I couldn’t ask for a better place to compete throughout the winter.”

For more information and results, please visit www.GlobalDressageFestival.com.