There was something for everyone at today’s Royal Windsor Horse Show, with a Royal victory in the showing ring and the debut of International 4* show jumping bringing the sporting action to new heights.
SHOW JUMPING: WHITAKER’S REIGN SUPREME
Guy Williams, renowned for being quick against the clock, set the early pace as third to go in the first International 4* competition of the Show, the Manama Speed Stakes, with an immaculate clear in a time of 26.94 seconds. Those that followed tried in vain to catch Guy at the top of the order, who went away eventual winner aboard the fourteen-year-old chestnut gelding Casper De Muze. The penultimate rider, USA’s Laura Kraut looked to put Guy’s lead in jeopardy, making all the turns and galloping to the last, creating excitement amongst the packed grandstand, however her time of 27.23 was only good enough for second place. In third was Joe Davison, son of former Royal Windsor Horse Show Dressage winner Richard Davison, who jumped the two phase track clear in 27.79.
The feature event of the day, the Bahrain Pearl Stakes, saw a global field of 35 world class riders contesting the £7,500 first prize, reflecting the upgraded status of the show to 4* level. Great Britain’s Tim Stockdale was the first to jump clear in the 17 horse jump-off, setting a time of 41.06, however it was double Olympic gold medallist Beezie Madden who threw down the gauntlet, knocking over five seconds off Tim’s time, stopping the clock in an impressive 36 seconds. The twisty course caused a few problems for those trying to chase the leaders, but home favourite John Whitaker pulled out all the stops jumping clear in 33.62 aboard the stunning stallion Argento to take the lead much to the delight of the Windsor crowd. However, when it looked like John had the class wrapped up, it was son Robert, riding Catwalk IV, who had the final say posting an impressive clear in 32.44 to take the well-deserved victory.
LAND ROVER INTERNATIONAL DRIVING GRAND PRIX
Germany’s Dieter Höfs took the lead after the first phase of the pony four-in-hand Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix winning the dressage from former World Champion, Jan de Boer of the Netherlands. Höfs was last to go of the ten pony four-in-hands and steered his Welsh ponies through a smooth test to head the class just 2-penalties ahead of the Dutchman.
The sole Hungarian driver at Royal Windsor this year, Vilmos Jambor, took third place with his Hackney ponies some 3-penalties behind de Boer. The only British pony four-in-hand competitor, Sara Howe, a member of Great Britain’s bronze medal winning team at the 2015 Pony World Championships, is currently in fifth place.
The Nations Cup for horse four-in-hands, in which seven Nations are competing, has the Netherlands in the lead at this stage, with Germany second and Australia third. Great Britain is in fifth place behind Belgium
All competitors in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix face the challenging cross-country marathon tomorrow. The eight obstacles have been flagged by experienced course designer, Richard Nicoll from the USA, who kindly stepped in when last year’s course designer, Christian Iseli, was taken ill just a few days ago.
SHOWING: FURTHER DELIGHT FOR HM THE QUEEN
HM The Queen’s black Fell mare Murthwaite Dawn Chorus delighted her owner by winning her class and then going on to stand reserve supreme in-hand mountain and moorland champion. The pony lives at the Royal Mews and is regularly ridden by members of the Royal Family. The winner of the exceptionally high standard class was Broughton Morwena, owned by Lesley Evans.
In ridden ranks, Clare Twiston-Davies’s reigning Horse of the Year Show cob champion Randalstown Musketeer took his first Royal Windsor title for Wales based producer Vicky Hesford.
Source: Press release RWHS