Is this a future superstar? ‘Hot’ mare ‘with a bit to learn’ wins her first five-star at Royal Windsor

  • Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann lifted the first silverware for the international jumping at Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday (13 May).

    Riding a relatively new addition to his string, the nine-year-old mare Iliana, Henrik rocketed out of the starting stalls to cross the line just 0.04sec faster than Germany’s Christian Ahlmann with Calvino 16, who had to settle for the runner-up spot.

    “She’s quite special this mare. She’s quite hot and ‘on it’, and very quick, but at the moment the steering still has to improve – she has a bit to learn!” said Henrik of the mare who was still on her toes even after scorching round the 1.45m two-phase track for the CSI5* Manama Stakes.

    He began riding Iliana, a Dutch-bred daughter of Cardento, at the start of this year.

    “She’s new and has a lot of potential – she just needs to calm down a bit,” smiled Henrik.

    Henrik, currently ranked number three in the world, was part of the gold medal-winning team at the Tokyo Olympics last year and won the Rolex grand prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show on Toveks Mary Lou in 2019.

    “I love this show and always come back – it’s one of my favourites,” he said. “I love the English people and it feels very different here.

    “I ride King Edward for a training round this afternoon [Friday] and then in the grand prix on Sunday.”

    Behind Henrik and Christian was the best-placed Brit, Guy Williams riding his prolific winning stallion Rouge De Ravel for third, barely half a second off the pace of the winner having jumped much earlier in the draw.

    Irish riders filled fourth and sixth courtesy of David Simpson (Medoc De Toxandria) and last night’s puissance joint-winner Trevor Breen, this time riding Mandy Hall’s Toyger.

    Fifth place went to William Funnell riding Equine America Billy McCain.

    • Keep up to date with all the action from Royal Windsor Horse Show via the Horse & Hound website and in next week’s magazine, in the shops Thursday 19 May.

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