What a bumper selection of showjumping news we have to bring you this week! From Harry Charles coming oh, so close to winning just about everything at the Stuttgart German Masters, to the dazzling spectacle of the Global Champions Playoffs in Prague, a World Cup jackpot in Las Vegas and an outstanding British Nations Cup success, we didn’t know where to look – it was a weekend packed full of epic sport.
Want to find out who won what and where? Then read on for this week’s round-up of international showjumping news and results.
Showjumping news: ‘One of the best shows of my career’
British showjumping star Harry Charles enjoyed a winning double, narrowly missing out on an outstanding four-timer, at the CSI5* Stuttgart German Masters. With the speedy Billabong Du Roumois, the 24-year-old finished second in the opening speed class, following up with a convincing 1.55m victory the next day. Later that night, he triumphed with Ann Thompson’s Aralyn Blue in the 1.55m Stuttgart German Master, sealing the week with a runner-up spot on Casquo Blue in Sunday’s Longines FEI World Cup qualifier behind Kevin Staut (Beau De Laubry Z).
“This has been one of the best shows of my career and it’s one of those weeks that doesn’t happen very often in this sport,” said Harry, who finished just 0.14sec slower than his French rival in the World Cup. “I didn’t quite think I could catch Kevin – Casquo isn’t the fastest horse – but when you have a crowd like this behind you, you give it everything and my horse gave it everything as well. It was so close, but it feels like a win anyway!
“It’s amazing what Casquo can do with his body, how athletic he is, and today he had a bit of speed in him as well,” added Harry, crediting the brilliant team around him for “letting me have weekends like this”.
“On Friday, to become the German Master was a pretty cool title. I would have loved to have won the World Cup, too, but maybe I’ll come back next year and try again!”
A dazzling win for super Epaillard and a round of ‘pure joy’ for von Eckermann
Amid pyrotechnics, lights and big-stadium atmosphere at the Global Champions Playoffs in Prague, Czechia, Julien Epaillard was the star of the show in Saturday night’s €1.26m Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Super Grand Prix, for which riders qualified at each of the season’s grands prix. Two technical rounds of jumping set by Uliano Vezzani resulted in no double clears so the flying Frenchman won with chestnut mare Dubai Du Cedre as the quickest four-faulter, just tapping out fence three in a nail-biting second round.
“I had my plan and I was disappointed with the fault,” said Julien. “I saw Henrik von Eckermann’s round on King Edward and my mare is very different – she has a smaller stride – so I couldn’t do the same plan as him. I still had a lot of delicate fences to jump and two good riders following me, so I felt the pressure.
“I don’t have all the comfort with her, she’s a bit special,” he said of the Baloubet Du Rouet x Diamant De Semilly mare. “But she has a lot of blood and she uses that to jump – sometimes with me, sometimes not!
“This is one of my biggest victories, so I’ll enjoy it.”
Former Super Grand Prix winner Henrik von Eckermann’s second-round clear with King Edward lifted them from seventh to second ahead of third-placed Max Kuhner (Up Too Jacco Blue), but the world number one was disappointed. But he described every round with his brilliant partner King Edward as “pure joy”.
“Every time I go in the ring with him, I try my best because we can only do so many shows,” he said. “So even if I’m second today, a round like that is pure joy, because of the feeling he gives me.”
There were no British riders in contention for this year’s Super Grand Prix, but Ireland’s Bertram Allen and Pacino Amiro soared up to fourth with a superb second-round clear. The top three grooms, Caroline Belouet, Louise Barraud, and Mariella Offner, were also awarded in the prize-giving.
Jodie Hall McAteer and her great mare Hardessa flew the British flag in Saturday’s 1.50m jump-off class, finishing second to Frank Schuttert (Isis), while Sophie Evans (Florida Van Maarle) won a CSI2* speed class.
Showjumping news: Nations Cup glory for Great Britain
In other showjumping news, British rider Mark Edwards continued his excellent run of overseas form by winning the CSI2* grand prix in the Villamoura Champions Tour, Portugal, with Royale Tale. The Welsh rider then became the hero of the Great Britain team when jumping a triple clear on Marlene Edwards’ Flying Tinker II, including a thrilling jump-off performance versus Belgium and USA, to take them to the top of the podium in Sunday’s CSIO3* Nations Cup.
Mark was joined on the podium by Olli Fletcher (Hello William), Adrian Whiteway on Chacco Volo and James Smith riding Tayvale Hunky Dory, and Mark credited “great team spirit all week”.
“I knew what was needed to win and Flying Tinker came out in the jump-off like the little superstar he is,” said Mark, who beat the Belgian challenge by nearly 2sec. “Today’s win makes it all the more special, jumping treble clear on a home-bred.”
One million less in prize money: ‘the pressure was immense’
The 2023 Global Champions League (GCL) season champions Riesenbeck International followed up with victory in Sunday’s €6.5m GCL Super Cup Final. They were represented in this epic season finale by GCL rider of the year, Christian Kukuk (Checker 47), Eoin McMahon (Mila) and Philipp Weishaupt (Zineday), the latter two securing crucial double clears for the squad. Valkenswaard United agonisingly took second for successive years, with a double clear from Marcus Ehning on Stargold, and just four faults apiece for Great Britain’s John Whitaker (Equine America Unick Du Francport) and Gilles Thomas (Luna Van Het Dennehof).
“One rail down and it was one million less in prize money – the pressure was immense,” said Philipp, the final rider in for Ludger Beerbaum’s GCL team, who threw his hat in delight at securing victory with that vital clear. “As I crossed the line, it all just came out of me – can you imagine you are last in the ring and it’s all in your hands and you deliver it? It’s an amazing feeling and the reason we do the sport.”
British rider speeds up her husband’s horse! ‘She’s been a hero’
British showjumper Louise Simpson (Cindy R) won the 1.50m CSI3* grand prix at the Autumn MET II in Oliva Nova, Spain, with Cindy R, a mare previously ridden by her husband David Simpson.
“Cindy R is not the fastest horse and I have only been riding her a few months, so I don’t know her inside out,” said Louise of the Clarimo x Quidam De Revel 11-year-old, bred by Dietmar Rohling, and who was used as a broodmare until three years ago. “She does have a big stride, but I did not think I would be anywhere near fast enough to win!”
Louise and the chestnut mare triumphed after a 10-way jump-off.
“When there were quite a few clears, I thought ‘Oh God’ – I did not think it was going to be easy,” said Louise.
“We have had her for about a year. She is a huge mare and on paper you would definitely say she’s a guy’s horse. My husband David has been riding her for most of the year, but actually ignoring her size, she is so sweet and easy that I kind of stole her three or four months ago and she’s been a hero.
“The plan was to put me on her to speed her up, so I feel like I’ve done that now.”
Showjumping news: Viva Swail in Las Vegas
Irishman Conor Swail hit the World Cup jackpot when winning his first qualifier of the season in Las Vegas riding his great partner, 16-year-old Count Me In. The pair topped a six-way jump-off to take victory after an “up-and-down year” for the gelding.
“I’m lucky that ‘Crosby’ is very quick,” said Conor. “Regardless, he is very careful. We went through a little period where he wasn’t comfortable jumping the bigger fences, so we took a step back. Tonight he felt as good as ever, so I’m really delighted.
“The horse owes me nothing. I think he’s the best horse I’ve ever ridden. He brought me to the World Cup Final, I won at Dublin, he’s brought me incredible days and basically brought me to the top 10 in the world.”
Conor beat his student Vanessa Mannix of Canada riding Lehar into second, but said they remain very good friends.
“Vanessa has been riding great for a number of years now,” he said. “She’s got a nice string of horses at the moment, and it’s fantastic to see her on the podium as well.”
‘It’s just me and my wife doing the grooming’
And finally in this week’s showjumping news round-up, we were impressed with the story behind Irishman Dylan Daly securing victory at the Wellington International Annual Series in Florida. The 26-year-old grabbed the headlines in the CSI3* Flagler Insurance grand prix riding Cinderella Z and there is no expansive team to thank for this enterprising young rider.
“At the moment, it’s just me and my wife doing the grooming ourselves,” said Dylan. “The main thing for me is to spend time with the horse and really build up that team partnership.”
Picture of the week: What an angle!
We couldn’t finish this week’s showjumping news round-up without mentioning this fantastic image captured by Cassidy Klein of the athletic duo of Brazil’s Luiza Leivas and Novak De Kalvarie. This flying combination took the shortest route of all to win the national grand prix at Wellington International after a five-way jump-off. What a horse!
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