Robert Smith demonstrated why he is Britain’s leading rider with a fantastic string of performances at the Belfast International Horse Show last weekend that rarely saw him outside the top two positions, and earnt him the richly deserved award of leading rider of the show.

Britain’s No.1 was placed in 10 of the 13 “leading rider” classes, with four wins and five second places to his credit. British riders demonstrated their strength and depth by taking five of top 10 places in the leading rider award, with Nick Skelton in second and Andrew Davies fourth.

Robert’s amazing run began on the first day with wins in the Equestrian Surfaces Welcome Stakes on Kalusha and Four Dee Engineering Winning Round on Marius Claudius. He was also second in the pre-show two-phase competition on Jerry Macguire.

On board Marius Claudius, Robert shaved 2secs off Ireland’s Marion Hughes to take the Belfast International Jumping Stakes on Friday evening and was third in three classes during Saturday on Kalusha and Jerry Macguire.

On the final day Robert won the Days Hotel Stakes, piping Holland’s Emile Tacken to the post by just 0.21sec, before taking fifth place in the Envirocare Grand Prix.

The grand prix was extremely successful for British riders, with an amazing performance from Andrew Davies and Limbo V beating Nick Skelton riding Arko II into second place by just over 2secs. Switzerland’s Daniel Etter was third with Ireland’s Cian O’Connor fourth.

A clear round from John Whitaker and Lord Z took him through to the second round, but 12 faults then dropped him down to ninth. Robert Maguire was the highest place four-faulter to take the last of the prize money in tenth place.

Leading rider results

1, Robert Smith (GBR) 104.60;
2, Nick Skelton (GBR) 62.10;
3, Robert Breul (FRA) 39.10;
4, Andrew Davies (GBR) 36.00;
5, Lars Nieberg (GER) 32.00;
6, Marion Hughes (IRE) 29.10;
7, Clement McMahon (IRL) 29.00;
8, Emile Tacken (NED) 27.00;
9, Robert Whitaker (GBR) 26.00;
10, John Whitaker (GBR) 25.70.

For all the results visit: www.belfasthorseshow.com

  • Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full report from Belfast in the 11 December issue.