British world champions narrowly beat Michael Jung to historic Aachen eventing victory

  • World champions Yasmin Ingham and Banzai Du Loir scored a milestone victory to become the first British combination to win the prestigious SAP Cup at CHIO Aachen.

    The pair put a hiccup of a run-out while in the lead at Kentucky CCI5* behind them to produce a stellar performance, sealing victory on a total of 27.1 – 0.1 of a penalty ahead of Germany’s Michael Jung and FischerChipmunk (27.2).

    The last British event rider to taste Aachen glory was Zara Phillips when she piloted the great Toytown to take the world champion title in 2006. There’s an element of poetry, perhaps, in the fact that Yas should score a historic British victory in Aachen’s CCI4*-S while reigning world champion.

    “I’m very lucky to be on such an amazing horse – we have an amazing partnership,” said Yasmin, 26, riding for Janette Chin and the Sue Davies Fund.

    “It’s nice to sort of put things right after our little mistake, well, my mistake, in Kentucky in the spring. I’m really glad that I rode him to get his glory, because he deserves it. I’m so proud of him and this is his moment.”

    Yasmin and Banzai, a 12-year-old Selle Français gelding, led the dressage on 23.5, before a couple of showjumping time-faults dropped them to provisional third.

    Yasmin, who hails from the Isle of Man, admitted she was “kicking herself” for being too slow in the showjumping, and channelled that frustration to deliver a cracking cross-country round.

    The pair stopped the clock four seconds over the optimum time – the equal fastest round of the day – to climb the leaderboard. Overnight leaders Tom McEwen and JL Dublin were last to go, but picked up 20 penalties at the Turkish Airlines Complex at fence 16c to put them out of contention individually.

    “Dubs was phenomenal. We had literally two seconds of mistake, which cost us a big deal today,” said Tom. “But he was up on the time, he was flying – he was magnificent. We’ve learnt a lot, which is why we came here.”

    Equestrian analytics company EquiRatings billed this year’s field as the strongest since its records started in 2015.

    Yasmin added: “It’s the biggest event in the world in terms of calibre of combinations, in the dressage, showjumping and eventing. So to be here, surrounded by such amazing horse and rider combinations feels very special and to come out on top is quite surreal.

    “I’ll certainly be relishing this moment for a very long time. It’s all down to how amazing Banzai is and our partnership.”

    Kentucky five-star winners Tamie Smith and Mai Baum were third on 33.7.

    CHIO Aachen eventing Nations Cup: team standings

    The four-star class at Aachen’s World Equestrian Festival also incorporated a Nations Cup team competition, which was won by the home side. The US finished second, with the British team of Yasmin, Tom, Gemma Stevens (Flash Cooley) and Kirsty Chabert (Classic IV) taking third place.

    The Brits had mixed fortunes over Rudiger Schwartz’s influential cross-country course.

    Pathfinders Gemma and the game Flash Cooley, owned by Pru Dawes, joined Yasmin and Christoph Wahler (Carjatan S) in producing the joint-fastest round of the day. But they were deemed to have missed a flag at fence 18b, resulting in 15 penalties and 24th place.

    “I was thrilled with Flash Cooley, his round was absolutely amazing,” said Gemma. “I’m beyond gutted to have been given a 15. I did feel like the horse jumped the fence, but that’s the sport and we’ve got to take it on the chin and move forward.”

    Kirsty and her 2022 Luhmühlen runner-up Classic VI, owned by Carole Somers, John Johnston and Kate Ward, started well, but picked up 20 penalties at fence 11b owing to a miscommunication. The pair finished 32nd.

    “She was phenomenal,” said Kirsty, adding that the experience was “one of those learning curves”.

    “I saw a huge stride coming up to the Normandy bank – I changed my mind and that split second made the difference. She’s a very careful jumper. She actually did nothing wrong. It was a split-second mistake for me and something I’ve got to go work on on a psychological side for me, is to trust your instincts.”

    Individual rider Hector Payne finished second-best Brit in 21st with a clear cross-country jumping round with Dynasty, who is owned by Jeremy and Judith Skinner, and David and Margie Hall.

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