Horse & Hound’s coverage of the Liverpool International Horse Show is brought to you in association with Equestrian.com

The inaugural Equestrian.com Liverpool International Horse Show kicked the New Year off in style with Emanuele Gaudiano taking the spoils in the first international class of the weekend. The Italian – fresh from his recent World Cup class victory at Olympia – took the win by 0.16 seconds ahead of John Whitaker in front of a near capacity crowd.

Organiser Nina Barbour’s team gave spectators a fantastic show from the outset, with the opening ceremony featuring opera stars Belle Voci and The Bootleg Beatles.

Grand National winner Many Clouds welcomed the crowds in the collecting ring, which is open to public viewing from both the shopping village and champagne bar.

Twenty-eight combinations came forward, with first-to-go Wilm Vermier (Belgium) leading until Emanuele Gaudiano stormed into the lead with Cocoshynsky, shaving nearly two seconds from the leading time with the Cornet Obolensky 13-year-old. “She’s a winner and when she’s clear, she’s very fast”, Emanuele told H&H after his win.

Hanley loses top horse

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Sadly the class was overshadowed by the nasty fall of Cameron Hanley’s Antello Z (pictured above), who was later put down as a result of his injuries after crashing through an oxer in the jump-off.

The horse crumpled on landing, pitching Cameron over his head before cantering around the arena with blood visible on his near fore. He then came to a standstill in the exit tunnel looking shaken.

A horse ambulance was called, with the horse taken to Leahurst Equine Hospital for further examination,  before Robert Smith entered the arena to re-start proceedings some half an hour later.

Meanwhile, a great round from Nicole Pavitt and Victor Blue was just not quick enough to edge out Emanuele with five left to go. Home crowd favourite John Whitaker meant business from the outset but couldn’t quite match the Italian rider’s time.

“I lost a bit of time at the second last fence, everywhere else I was really quick,” said John. “Emanuele’s such a fast rider; he wins every week wherever he goes.” John’s success continued with a win in the afternoon’s Accumulator riding Echo Of Light, almost two seconds clear of Wilm, who this time rode Hacienda D’Eversum.

Commenting on Cameron’s accident, John told H&H that it “puts a dull shadow over everything. It’s a real shame but it can happen. It’s a really sad day for the horse and Cameron”.