The focus of international showjumping action this week was Birmingham, England, as we enjoyed a week of CSI3* jumping at Horse of the Year Show, with Shane Breen producing a breathtaking jump-off round to land the feature class, the Leading Showjumper of the Year title. But there was plenty happening overseas, too, with France’s Roger-Yves Bost and another Irishman, Shane Sweetnam, both gambling – and winning – with very daring decisions to take strides out in their respective classes.
Here is your weekly round-up of international action from the world of showjumping over the past week, plus showjumping results
Bosty sees a long one!
At the CSI5* Hubside Jumping, St Tropez, French rider Roger-Yves Bost landed Saturday’s two-phase with a spectacular leap (main image above) on the 14-year-old mare Urane, which helped to nudge them just 0.14sec clear of the field of 31 combinations.
“I knew this was the last class of the weekend for Urane so it had to be for us – especially as the mare is doing really well at the moment,” said the Flying Frenchman, who also won at the venue a fortnight earlier. “I gave it everything in the second part of the course and took out a stride before the last fence – I think that’s what made the difference.”
Sunday’s grand prix was won by another Frenchman, Laurent Goffinet riding Atome Des Etisses. Ireland’s Mark McAuley finished sixth with four faults in the jump-off on Jasco VD Bisschop. Earlier in the week, Scott Brash was also in the ribbons in the five-star classes on Hello Jefferson.
Charles siblings hit winning form
Harry Charles won Friday’s CSI2* speed class at Hubside Jumping, St Tropez, with the relatively new ride, the 11-year-old mare Chavira, who was competed by his sister Sienna after coming from Sweden. The pair won by nearly 1.5sec in a field of 54 starters to claim the €6,375 top prize. The following day, Sienna won the silver tour grand prix with the lovely grey mare Havana M in a strong 12-way jump-off. Their sister Scarlett jumped double clear to finish seventh with the stallion I Am Jordan, while Ben Maher was placed higher up the rankings with Pamela Wright and Charlotte Rossetter’s Enjeu De Grisien.
A Whitaker-packed jump-off
After a stellar year in which he’s landed the Hickstead Derby and the Queen’s Cup at the Royal International, Irish showjumper Shane Breen landed the Leading Showjumper of the Year at HOYS with the brilliant stallion Cuick Star Kervec (pictured above), who wowed the crowds with some mighty bucks on his lap of honour.
But Shane had some fierce opposition, not least from a strong contingent of Whitakers, and the famous showjumping family accounted for a whopping half of the eight jump-off contenders, as well as featuring throughout the show’s showjumping results. John Whitaker and Jack Whitaker took second and third respectively in Sunday’s feature class, with Robert Whitaker and his cousin Donald Whitaker not far behind.
“His scope is amazing. I’ve never ridden anything with this much scope,” said Shane, of his Quick Star stallion, with whom he finished 0.19sec ahead of John with Equine America Unick Du Francport.
“John is a legend of the sport and I knew he was in it to win it tonight,” said Shane of his 67-year-old rival. “He is an inspiration.”
Emotional win for home rider
On the CSI4* Morocco Royal Tour, home rider Abdelkebir Ouaddar won the 1.50m World Cup grand prix with the 14-year-old gelding Istanbull VH Ooievaarshof.
“This victory is magnificent because this horse was very difficult, but I managed to get him on my side and he gave his heart today,” said the Moroccan rider, who dedicated his victory to the country’s king.
Celebrations abound on all-Irish podium
Ireland’s Darragh Kerins lead an Irish top three in Sunday’s CSI3* Split Rock Fall II $100,000 Lugano Diamonds grand prix. Darragh blazed to victory aboard Eve Jobs’ Valentino Tuiliere (Diamant De Semilly x Silvio), more than half a second ahead of Shane Sweetnam riding Alejandro with Daniel Coyle third on Jeffrey Jarden (all three pictured above). Darragh had been drawn first in an eight-way jump-off over tracks set by Bernardo Costa Cabral at Kentucky Horse Park, pulling off a risky inside turn in front of an unused fence to set the target of 38.49sec. Australian showjumper Rowan Willis clocked the fastest time of 37.26sec riding Wellington Grey Goose but with a fence down to place him fifth.
“For the past few months, this horse has just been jumping unbelievably, but I always end up just short in second or third place,” said Darragh of the 13-year-old gelding. “The horse really deserved the win today.”
Father and daughter win 500 miles apart
As well as finishing on the grand prix podium in Kentucky, Irish showjumper Shane Sweetnam won a 1.45m CSI3* class at the Split Rock Hunter Jumper Fall II, while over 500 miles away his 14-year-old daughter Olivia Sweetnam took the grand pony hunter champion title at the 2022 Capital Challenge Horse Show. Shane’s win came with Alejandro, taking out a jaw-dropping two strides to the final line.
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Meanwhile on the US East Coast at Prince George’s Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro, his daughter Olivia piloted the seven-year-old gelding Goldmark (pictured above) to beat a field of more than 100 ponies to claim the prestigious grand champion title.
“Right from the start he was a winner,” said Olivia, who is trained by her parents Ali and Shane Sweetnam at their Sweet Oak Farm in Florida. “Every show we’ve gone to we’ve won classes. In all except one show we’ve been champion or reserve. He’s just so amazing, and he really wants to do his best always.”
A grand prix win for Cyprus
In week two of the Autumn Mediterranean Equestrian Tour at Oliva Nova, Spain, a rider from Cyprus landed the CSI2* 1.50m grand prix. Alexa Stais rode Urhelia Lutterbach to victory in a huge jump-off, where the highest placed British rider was Jemma Kirk (Diamonds Are Unique) in eighth, sealing a week of excellent results for Jemma. Lance Whitehouse claimed the seven-year-old trophy this week with his British-bred Colestus son, Dexter.
Back-to-back World Cups for Swail
Another Irishman in flying form this week was US-based Conor Swail, who landed Sacramento’s World Cup qualifier at the Murieta Equestrian Center for the second year running. The world number five headed last season’s North American League on the World Cup circuit and enjoyed a flying start to this year’s eight-leg series riding Vital Chance De La Roque (pictured above).
“He has had an incredible year,” said Conor of the 13-year-old Diamant De Semilly gelding. “Every time I ride him, I know he’s going to give me a good shot to win. The two of us just seem to have a good partnership.”
The pair claimed victory as the only double clear in a three-way jump-off, with 20-year-old Sophie Siegel (A-Girl) and Natalie Dean (Chance Ste Hermelle) of USA completing the podium.
“When you go first [in a jump-off of this size], you’re either first, second or third. I’d prefer to be first, and I wanted to try to put it away early,” said Conor. “I was going to do what my strengths are. My plan was to be fast [and not] leave the door open.”
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