‘I’ve let the horse gain belief in himself’: patience rewarded with spectacular World Cup double

  • There was one stand-out performance making showjumping news this week. Ireland’s Richard Howley found out that sometimes World Cup wins are just like waiting for buses – you land one and then another follows in quick succession. It was an outstanding feat to achieve two on the trot, so hats off to him and the team behind the brilliant gelding Consulent Du Prelet Z.

    But he wasn’t the only Irishman in flying form this week, and Great Britain’s Ben Maher was among the grand prix winners. We bring you our weekly round-up of all this week’s international showjumping news and results.

    ‘I’m not going to put him in a bad situation’

    Just a week after claiming his first sensational World Cup qualifier success in Oslo, Norway, Wetherby-based Irishman Richard Howley repeated the feat at the Helsinki International Horse Show, Finland, again with the mighty gelding Consulent De Prelet Z, a 12-year-old son of Consulent Z who Richard has been riding for two years.

    Richard, 31, may have had considerably fewer rivals than the 17-way jump-off he topped last week, but from last draw he scorched home a whopping 2.59sec quickest of the eight contenders going against the clock in Finland. Second place went to Germany’s Philipp Schulze Topphoff on the big-striding mare Carla NRW, with world number one and title-holder Henrik von Eckermann third with another quality chestnut, Dzara Dorchival.

    “It’s hard to take it in, but I believe in my horse 100 per cent and my team,” Richard told H&H, also crediting advice from his team-mate Mark McAuley for gaining the winning edge. “The horse gives everything every time. But I went in the ring to either win or come eighth – I was never going to be second!”

    Richard’s patience in his partnership with the “very careful” Consulent, who is owned by Richard and Morgan Kent’s HK Horses and Sarah Borthwick, is clearly paying off.

    “It’s from riding him well consistently, letting the horse gain belief in himself and belief in me that I’m not going to put him in a bad situation,” he explained.

    “Apart from that, he’s also growing and developing, with every show he goes to he’s just getting better and better. He’s so clever and he’s so smart, so it makes my job easier because he’s so talented. I don’t think he’s even fully found himself yet – I still think he has more to give. So we’re just trying to find a bit of middle ground of consistency and trust in the partnership. I think the world of him, and my owner Sarah Borthwick and myself think this horse could give everything. But we’re just trying to get the best out of him.

    “He competed very well at the Global Tour this summer and now he’s come indoors and two out of two [World Cup qualifiers] he has won. I can’t expect more from him but I’m very grateful for what he does for me.”

    “I always want to win and, competing against the best riders, you have to give your all,” added Richard, who will spend the next few weeks competing in Portugal.

    This season’s World Cup Final is being hosted by Saudi Arabia, and Richard said he is now “very motivated” to build on this opportunity to contest it.

    “Obviously I never thought I would win both legs, even if it is always the goal to win,” said Sligo-born Richard, who pocketed  €57,500 for this success.

    “We’re aiming for April, we’re going to push very hard for that.”

    Showjumping news: home-bred enjoys more glory

    The Helsinki grand prix went to Kevin Staut of France on the 10-year-old Beau De Laubry Z, and Shane Breen finished third on Cuick Star Kervec (Quick Star x Diamant De Semilly) having produced the quickest jump-off round but with four faults added. The Hickstead-based Irishman had triumphed the previous day with his super grey home-bred Scarteen, who he described as the “perfect old man’s horse”, the pair rocketing to top spot in the 1.45m speed class.

    Well, Fancy that

    Elsewhere in this week’s showjumping news, in Spain’s Andalucia October Tour, Ben Walker was among the plentiful winners, finishing first and third in Sunday’s 1.35m with Emma Ziff’s Fygo Von D’Ouwe Grint and David Simpson’s Balloon Cruise, who he’d won with earlier in the week. Claudia Moore headed the same day’s 1.25m and the previous day’s 1.30m on the nine-year-old Jadraque P, while Coolmore Showjumping’s eight-year-old stallion Fancy De Kergane (Berdenn De Kergane x Cor De Hus) continues to impress, winning a 1.40m jump-off class under Cian O’Connor in week two of the tour as attention turns to this week’s Nations Cup competition.

    Showjumping news: Ben Maher and Ginger-Blue conclude Autumn MET I 2023 with a win in the CSI3 1.50m Grand Prix

    Ben Maher and Ginger-Blue conclude Autumn MET I 2023 with a win in the CSI3 1.50m Grand Prix. Credit: MET/1clicphoto

    Ginger-Blue makes it two

    Ben Maher and Jane Clark’s 12-year-old Plot Blue mare Ginger-Blue recorded their second grand prix victory on the Autumn Mediterranean Equestrian Tour (MET) in Oliva Nova, Spain. They topped this CSI3* 1.50m feature class after an 11-way jump-off, where they came home nearly a second quicker than Nicola Philippaerts on H&M Luna Van’t Ruytershof Z.

    Showjumping news: champion of champions

    Great Britain’s high-flying rider Mark Edwards racked up an outstanding string of placings on the Vilamoura Champions Tour in Portugal, including wins with seven-year-old Casque D’Or and Dillinger NE in the two-phase, and a fourth-place finish with Flying Tinker II in the CSI2* grand prix.

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