A horse clearing the wings, Team GB and a quartet of Irish ponies: who won showjumping ribbons this weekend?

  • The Longines Global Champions Tour moved on to the French Riviera while the FEI Nations Cup series rolled into St Gallen this week and the ribbons came flooding in during a busy extended weekend of international sport. Plenty of British and Irish riders achieved podium finishes but the star of the show was undoubtedly Martin Fuchs‘ brilliant partner Conner Jei (pictured above), who reached some seriously dizzy heights over the mammoth obstacles — almost clearing the wings in fact — en route to winning the Swiss grand prix.

    Here is your weekly round-up of international jumping action.

    1. Is there a trampoline on the take-off side, Conner Jei?

    Martin Fuchs and the hugely scopey 11-year-old Holstein gelding Conner Jei, winners of the Rolex grand prix of Dinard last year, added the Longines grand prix of Switzerland in St Gallen to their impressive CV on Saturday, much to the delight of the Swiss rider’s home crowd.

    Conner Jei (pictured above) looked as though he was on springs as he cleared the towering fences with feet to spare, rocketing home 2sec clear of his rivals in a 13-strong jump-off. Martin was also honoured at the show for his World Cup success earlier in the year, having followed in the footsteps of his uncle Markus Fuchs, who won the final some two decades earlier. Best of the Brits in the grand prix was 10th-placed Harry Charles riding Romeo 88.

    Martin went on to help the Swiss team win Monday’s Longines FEI Nations Cup with a team total of eight faults. Just behind the winners, Great Britain tied with the Netherlands on 12 faults but second place went to the Dutch team with a marginally faster time, putting the Brits in third. It was a tremendous performance from Team GB’s Harry Charles (Casquo Blue), Joe Stockdale (Equine America Cacharel), Jack Whitaker (Equine America Valmy De La Lande) and his uncle John Whitaker (Equine America Unick Du Francport), none of whom tallied more than four faults in each of their rounds.

    Podium champagne for the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes

    2. LGCT podium for Maher behind Deusser and the stallion with a ‘special’ technique

    German superstar Daniel Deusser landed the Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix of Cannes riding Bingo Ste Hermelle, the diminutive stallion with whom he won at Royal Windsor and who he describes as having a “special technique” over the oxers. Bingo used it to great effect over the towering 1.60m track set by Uliano Vezzani and their flat-out gallop to the final fence sealed victory and a golden ticket for Daniel (pictured on top of the podium, above) to the Super Grand Prix in Prague in November.

    “First to go in the jump-off is never easy,” he said. “I took all the risks to the last fence, it is a great atmosphere and a great jump-off but of course, I wanted to be number one. Bingo really fights for me and wants to win in the ring.”

    Ben Maher and Faltic HB in the Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes

    The runner-up spot went to US rider Spencer Smith on Theodore Manciais with Ben Maher third on Faltic HB (pictured above). The British pair gave the winner a good chase with what he described as a “super double clear” from Oakingham Stud’s 12-year-old, but just couldn’t match the time, finishing a second slower than Daniel. Ben is now fourth in the overall standings behind leader Christian Ahlmann.

    In the CSI* classes, Great Britain’s Olivia Sponer was a double winner on Crazy Girl, while Claire Beecroft triumphed on the final day’s 1.45m grand prix with her game mare, the 12-year-old Kandora.

    3. Irish ponies triumph in Nations Cup

    Ireland’s pony team won the Nations Cup at the CSIO Youth Spring Tour in Zuidwolde in the Netherlands, with Belgium and Great Britain sharing second on 12 faults. The winning squad of Coen Williams on Saxton Freedam, Katie Nallon riding Little Smithe, Ben Walsh on Derryvane Belle and James Derwin riding Rincoola Babog finished on a zero score for a commanding victory.

    Great Britain was represented by pathfinder Tabitha Kyle (Gangnam Style, owned by TJ Hall Limited), Izabella Rogers and Queen Star, owned by Nicola Rogers, Phoebe Farman with her mother Tracy Priest’s Teachmor Joey, and Sophie Evans, who produced a double clear with the 11 year-old bay stallion Oscar Van De Beekerheide, owned by ESM Equestrian.

    4. Mendoza is crowned leading lady rider

    US-based British showjumper Jessica Mendoza sealed a great week at the CSI4* Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania by winning the leading lady rider prize. She described it as an “unbelievable week” taking ribbons with her top horses Dublin, Play and Casanova 499.

    5. Double win for O’Connor

    At the CSI4* Wiesbaden in Germany, Team Karlswood were in flying form with Cian O’Connor landing a winning double with C Vier 2 and Taj Mahal, while his pupils Max and Tom Wachman were in the money riding Quintini and Lazzaro respectively. On Monday, Max Wachman finished the show with the runner-up spot in the 1.60m grand prix riding Berlux Z. Victory went to Germany’s David Will with Concordia 49.

    5. Teenager narrowly misses top spot

    The pony grand prix at CSIO Youth Spring Tour in Zuidwolde, the Netherlands, was won by home rider Siebe Leemans with Noriego VD Riloo in a time of 33.08sec, but less than a second behind with the only other double clear of the competition was British rider Tilly Bamford, 13, riding the 12-year-old dun gelding Lapislazuli. Among the other great results from the show was a third place for Great Britain’s Noora von Bülow in the children-on-horses grand prix riding Lucky Lisa, just 0.11sec behind the winner, Poland’s Malgorzata Babczynska riding Happylina.

    6. Spanish whitewash on home soil

    Eduardo Alvarez Aznar of Spain riding Rokfeller De Pleville Bois Margot landed the CSIO3* grand prix in Madrid, where British team rider Karl Robins claimed third riding his own 11-year-old bay mare Equine America G Camille HBF. Spain had also won the Longines EEF Nations Cup at the show, with Ireland’s team of Richard Howley (Consulent de Prelet Z), Jessica Burke (Namamia), Kevin Gallagher (Ballypatrick Flamenco (ISH) and Jenny Rankin (Carmela Z) taking third. Great Britain finished in ninth place.

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