Making the headlines among this week’s showjumping results were some exceptional young horses at the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Championships, a victorious British pony team and a raft of winners from the Unex Competition Yard in Saint Tropez.
For John Whitaker fans, there was a moment to savour in front of the New York skyline, where Daniel Deusser also chalked up the incredible achievement of back-to-back five-star grands prix. A landmark first international win also came for 39-year-old Matthew Boddy, so congratulations to him.
Here is your weekly round-up of international action from the world of showjumping over the past week.
John Whitaker wins in front of the Statue of Liberty
Yorkshire’s very own John Whitaker saved the best for last when closing the Longines Global Champions Tour of New York with a sizzling five-star win aboard Equine America Unick Du Francport. With 10 combinations qualifying for the jump-off, this was always going to be a red-hot finale and, against the backdrop of the New York city skyline, fourth-drawn John (pictured above) flew home quickest, to beat Egypt’s Nayel Nassar riding El Conde.
“I am absolutely delighted,” said John, one of only three double clears. “This is such a special location and venue with the iconic Statue of Liberty behind us. We have come a long way, so to finish like this is top.
“Nayel was quick so when I beat him I knew I had a chance.”
World finals showcase Irish breeding…
The FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championships for Young Horses at Lanaken in Belgium once again put the spotlight on some exceptional Irish bloodlines, with both the five- and six-year-old finals won by Irish-bred youngsters.
The six-year-old title went to the outstanding Kannan mare ABC Saving Grace, ridden by Ethen Ahearne (pictured above) and bred by Patrick Kehoe out of Cruising mare Ardnehue Diamond Cruiser. Grace is a half-sister to the former Harry Charles ride ABC Quantum Cruise.
“I got ABS Saving Grace in November when I started my own stable and competed her for the first time in February or March,” said Ethen, who was making his debut at these world championships. “But so far she has only jumped at national level and last month in Dublin we were able to qualify for this World Championship. So this was actually the first time we competed at international level.”
A total of 40 combinations had qualified for this six-year-old final, with 14 jumping clear in round one, and the runner-up spot went to Garance De Vains, by Diamant De Semilly, ridden by Valentin Pacaud for France from breeder Christian Bihl. British rider Alex Gill had two horses through to the jump-off and took the bronze medal riding the VDL Stud’s KWPN gelding Lacoste VDL (VDL Zirocco Blue x Indoctro).
… With a tremendous five-year-old also taking centre stage
The five-year-old champion at the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championships for Young Horses was BP Goodfellas (Stakkato Gold x Obos Quality), bred by Kevin Babington and ridden by Ger O’Neill, who only took the reins four weeks earlier.
“I have nothing but admiration for this horse,” said Ger, who has won two championships at Lanaken in recent years.
The 1.30m track was set by Eugene Mathy and 18 of the 47 finalists progressed to the jump-off, where Ger and the quality gelding came out from late draw to post the fastest clear in 40.12sec.
“He didn’t need, in retrospect, to jump the double with the speed at which I entered,” said the Irishman. “But he did a great job. He is a nice horse to ride with a real winner’s mentality. I also rode his mother [Goodwins Loyalty] a long time ago, so that makes a nice story. And I expect this is only the first chapter for BP Goodfellas.”
If at first you don’t succeed… First international success for Matthew Boddy
In New York, the CSI2* grand prix presented by Champagne Piaff at the Longines Global Champions Tour was won by British rider Matthew Boddy and the 14-year-old gelding Chameur 137, owned by Purple Road LLC (pictured in action, above). The pair were the fastest of just two double clears. This win was a landmark for the 39-year-old rider as it was his first international success.
“I owe so much to Georgina Bloomberg and [trainer] Jimmy Doyle; I’m not doing this without them,” said Matthew, who works for Georgina’s Gotham Enterprizes. “Representing them makes me proud as anything. I’ve been trying for two and a half years to win for them and I’ve been knocking on the door for a long time.
“I thought my mum and dad were going to have a heart attack at home! It’s a great first international win for me,” added Matthew, who was competing at only his second show on Chameur, who was previously ridden by Georgina. “Today was the result we wanted. We’ve been experimenting for a couple of days because I don’t really know him that well. We went in on the attack and it worked for us. He jumped so easy, nice and confident. It was cool to be here and win in New York, especially for Georgina. She’s so kind to me and gives me horses to ride. I like working for the team and wearing the badge.”
The runner-up spot went to US rider Emmanuelle Greenberg riding the 14-year-old Darco stallion Dublin Van Overis, while third was US-based British rider Amanda Derbyshire and her recent Hampton Classic victor Wonder If, a 10-year-old mare by Cevin Z owned by Gochman Sport Horse LLC. This pair produced the fastest jump-off time but with one rail down to beat fourth-placed finisher Mimi Gochman and Celina BH.
‘Icing on the cake’ for impressive Casall seven-year-old
The champion seven-year-old at the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses was the Casall-sired gelding Caillan, ridden by Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson for owner-breeder Gerd Ohlsen. The runner-up was the Zangersheide stallion Dourkhan Hero Z, ridden by Christian Ahlmann, with Cornet Obolensky mare Precious Dwerse Hagen and Olivier Philippaerts of Belgium taking third.
Great Britain’s James Whitaker reached the jump-off with the quality son of Argento, Just Call Me Henry, to take seventh in this coveted final.
Rolf, who rode the great stallion Casall to a string of great international successes during an outstanding career together, and Caillan flew from penultimate draw to secure the world title.
“We have had an incredibly good year – we already won the championship in Holstein and Warendorf and this is really the icing on the cake,” said Rolf. “If I compare him to his sire, Caillan is more explosive on the jump than Casall, but of course he still has a long way to go to match his track record!”
There was a British victory in the seven-year-old consolation final courtesy of Joe Trunkfield riding Harry Whall’s Uriah 4, with the runner-up spot going to Billy Utah, by Cevin Z, ridden by Jessica Burke of Ireland.
Back-to-back grands prix for Daniel Deusser
Germany’s Daniel Deusser followed up on his success at the recent CP International at Spruce Meadows by making a triumphant return with Scuderia 1918 Tobago Z in the Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix of New York. Less than a second separated the quartet of jump-off contenders and the runner-up spot went to London victor Pieter Devos riding Mom’s Toupie De La Roque, with Sweden’s Malin Baryard-Johnsson third on H&M Indiana.
This was Tobago’s fourth show back after a break.
“I’m happy and proud that he is finally getting back into form and I hope to enjoy him a little longer,” said Daniel. “If it works out like that when you’re last to go in the jump-off and you finish in first place, then it’s always fun!”
The golden ticket to the LGCT Super Grand Prix in Prague passed to fourth-placed Irishman Shane Sweetnam on Alejandro.
“This is Alejandro’s second time qualifying for LGCT Super Grand Prix so that shows what a great horse he is,” said Shane. “He was close in Miami so I thought I had a chance of winning today. I am very excited to have qualified and very excited about today’s result.”
Ben Maher and Faltic HB took sixth in the grand prix with four faults in round one and the Brit now heads to the season final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, next month at the top of the overall season standings.
A triumphant British team
Great Britain’s pony team scooped victory in the FEI Youth Nations Cup Final in the Netherlands ahead of France and Ireland in a tight-scoring contest. The squad of Tabitha Kyle, who jumped the clinching double clear on Atomic Du Bary, Noora von Bulow on Elando Van De Eoshoeve, Harriet Hodge riding Little Charlie and Tilly Bamford (Lapislazuli) claimed victory on a score of six. Noora was also an individual winner on the pony small tour riding the 15-year-old mare Delflip and in the junior section with the prolific nine-year-old Interstar B, while Tabitha came home with a victorious four-timer with Oakley and the mare Nightgirl VH Sonnishof Z. Junior rider Eve McCoy also kept the British flag flying with a double of 1.30m win with her father Sir Anthony’s Cocktail D’Azur.
‘She’s going to be a big name for me’
The Irish flag flew proudly in New York, first for Eoin McMahon and the 16-year-old gelding Chacon, who triumphed in the opening CSI5* 1.45m two-phase at the Longines Global Champions Tour of New York.
“There were some spooky fences on the course today, but my horse handled it very well,” said Eoin of Madeleine Winter-Schulze’s Chacco-Blue son.
Chasing him home were German showjumper Hans-Dieter Dreher riding Cous Cous, with third place going to fellow Irishman Shane Breen and Haya, who went on to win Sunday’s CSI5* speed class (pictured above).
“She was fantastic in there,” said Shane of the 10-year-old KWPN mare (Mylord Cathargo x For Pleasure) he co-owns with Old Lodge and on whom he triumphed in the Queen’s Cup at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.
“She’s been wonderful all season. The plan is to build her up for the grands prix and, step by step, we’re getting there. Next year, she’s going to be a big name for me.
“I saw that they were doing seven strides quite easily to the last jump, so I thought if I kept up on the left-hand side, I could do six strides. I chanced it and it came off.”
He beat his fellow Irishman Darrah Kenny and Chic Chic into second.
Team Unex prove unstoppable in St Tropez
In the CSI1* classes at Hubside Jumping in St Tropez, the Gredleys’ Unex Competition Yard was again well represented in the winner’s circle with Rachel Gredley (pictured above) collecting red ribbons on both Jalanna and Hobalo. Rachel’s sister-in-law Polly landed a 1.25m one-two on Jimmy Mack V Berkenbroeck and Baloubelle and, not to be outdone, stable jockey Joe Clayton headed a class on Sunday with Belinda. This seals a phenomenal run of form for the team over the past three weeks in the south of France.
Rachel said of the 10-year-old Hobalo, who was previously ridden by her husband Tim Gredley: “I’ve only been riding Hobalo for two or three months. He is a very respectful, courageous horse and it is great to see him win a class today. I think he has the potential to go to higher classes, just like [London LGCT winner] Jalanna, who has been running very well for three weeks at Hubside Jumping.”
French showjumper Julien Gronin landed the CSI5* 1.60m grand prix jump-off riding the 13-year-old mare Valou Du Lys. He was chased home by Ireland’s Billy Twomey and the stallion Chat Botte ED. The two-star equivalent went to Lorenzo De Luca riding Poden Farms’ mare Dirka De Blondel. Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano (pictured top soaring past a riskily parked red Ferrari) was also a multi-winner this week.
Prague Lions triumph in GCL
GCL team Prague Lions produced the sole double clear to triumph in the Global Champions League of New York, held on Governors Island. The squad was represented by Niels Bruynseels aboard Matador and Pieter Devos and the super barefoot mare Mom’s Toupie De La Roque and this was the Lions’ third success of the season. This also fast-tracked them to the semi-finals of the GC Super Cup in Prague in November. Stockholm Hearts and Berlin Eagles head to the final in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, next month just one point apart at the top of the leader board.
French-bred triumphs in the Sires of the World
The prestigious Sires of the World Class at the FEI WBFSH Jumping World Breeding Championship for Young Horses was won by the Selle-Francais approved Kannan stallion Drako De Maugre, ridden by Germany’s Patrick Stühlmeyer. Belgium’s Gudrun Pateet took second on the eight-year-old Sea Coast Enjoy Z (Emerald x Parco).
“I’ve been riding this horse for a while but this is only our sixth competition together,” said Patrick of the winning nine-year-old. “I’m confident he has more in store for us.”
The highest placed British contenders were Louise Saywell with Ian Dowie’s nine-year-old Kinsborough Kasper, by Kannan, in a very creditable 12th.
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