King Edward rules again and a teenager enjoys an ‘I beat John Whitaker’ moment

  • The reigning world champions Henrik von Eckermann and his equine superstar King Edward made a welcome return to the winner’s enclosure this week after the 12-year-old gelding “struggled to return to good form” after a post-World Championships break. Meanwhile a Liechtenstein teenager enjoyed an “incredible” five-star win, beating the legendary John Whitaker no less. Great Britain’s James Smith and Irish showjumper Bertram Allen are also among this week’s grand prix winners while Israeli rider Daniel Bluman ends up risking it all in the heat of a World Cup jump-off, and his gamble produces handsome rewards.

    Here is H&H’s weekly round up of the past week’s international action from the world of showjumping, plus showjumping results.

    King Edward reigns once again: ‘He’s a genius’

    Swedish rider Henrik von Eckermann and the brilliantly talented 12-year-old gelding King Edward triumphed in the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier presented by Scuderia 1918 in Verona, Italy, in a seven-strong jump-off. Taking second with the only other double clear was last-drawn Gerfried Puck of Austria riding the relatively inexperienced nine-year-old Equitron Naxcel V. Great Britain’s Harry Charles took third with his Olympic partner Romeo 88, having clocked the fastest time but with the final fence falling for four faults.

    “We gave King Edward a bit of a break [after the world championships] and we struggled to get back to the good form we had,” said Henrik, the double gold medallist there and current world number one. “Verona was normally not in my plan but I felt he needed one more show because he did just four classes in three months and I have two big shows coming up. So I thought I’d take him here to get him going a little bit more and today he was fantastic again!

    “King is a genius horse – he proves it again and again.”

    Gerfried Puck said: “I’m really proud to be second to a horse and rider combination like King Edward and Henrik, and I hope my horse in the next years will be just as famous – he has all the potential for the future.”

    Third-placed Harry Charles added: “When you get into the jump-off and come so close it’s a bit gutting but that’s how it goes. I’ve got some points on the board and I’ll try to build on that.”

    Talking about leading the under-25 world rankings, 23-year-old Harry added: “That’s not as cool as Henrik being world number one, but maybe one day my turn will come!”

    Grand prix victory for James Smith, deputising for injured Laura Renwick

    British rider James Smith landed the CSI3* grand prix to conclude week four of the Vilamoura Champions Tour in Portugal. Riding the injured rider Laura Renwick’s home-bred Arkuga, he won the €25,000 top prize after a competitive 15-way jump-off. US showjumper Cathleen Driscoll claimed second on the 12-year-old Arome, while Joe Whitaker took third on Hulahupe JR. James’s success sealed a profitable week for British riders with Izac Ketteridge (Chapon VD Heffinck Z and Z7 Canya Dance), Helen Rees and Henry Squibb (Alothain De Blondel) among the CSI3* winners, while Ireland’s Trevor Breen triumphed in Saturday’s 1.45m jump-off class on Home Farm Equestrian’s ex-eventer Gonzalo.

    Billy Mexico daughter lands two-star grand prix

    Over in Peelbergen, the Netherlands, the CSI2* grand prix was won by Ireland’s Bertram Allen who said he was “delighted” with the 10-year-old Billy Mexico daughter Emmylou. The pair only teamed up at the start of the year and have recently posted some eye-catching five-star results.

    Showjumping results: Denis Lynch rides the winning round in Verona

    Ireland’s Denis Lynch also claimed a five-star win in Verona, Italy, riding the 16-year-old GC Chopin’s Bushi to victory in the Selleria Equipe winning round.

    “In the deciding round I had a good starting spot and the performance of Bushi, who is a particularly experienced horse, was really brilliant,” said Denis, who topped a field of 46 competitors over Uliano Vezzani’s clever tracks.

    In second was Harrie Smolders (Uricas VD Kattevennen) with Steve Guerdat third on the nine-year-old stallion Double Jeu D’Honvault.

    Showjumping results: Jennifer Hochstadter beats John Whitaker to land a five-star class at Jumping Verona

    Liechtenstein teenager enjoys an ‘I beat John Whitaker’ moment

    At the CSI5* Jumping Verona in Italy, 19-year-old Liechtenstein rider Jennifer Hochstadter earned the runner-up spot in Friday’s opening class, then went one better on the final morning to win the Volkswagen accumulator with her 10-year-old Tinka’s Boy gelding CSIO Bel (pictured above). She was almost a second quicker than her nearest rival, who just happened to be British legend John Whitaker on Sharid.

    “It’s really incredible,” she said. “John is a legend of the sport. I knew he scored the time to beat and I’m so happy to have succeeded.

    “Bel is a very special horse for me, because he gives me everything every time. I managed to win the second competition I rode him in, in September 2020 in Saint Tropez. Before that, he was ridden by Simon Delestre, whose father Marcel is my coach, and Simon is very valuable for my growth.”

    Showjumping results: Daniel Bluman and Ladriano win the World Cup qualifer in Lexington, USA

    ‘My plan was not to take a big risk, but I just did!’

    Israel’s Daniel Bluman headed the Longines FEI World Cup qualifier in Lexington, USA, having claimed he did not wish to take a big risk to the third fence in the jump-off, a spooky wall, but his competitive spirit took over and handed him victory with long-term partner, the 14-year-old Ladriano Z (pictured above) over his six rivals.

    “Jump number three was a very, very difficult fence in the jump-off, because my horse looks at the wall,” he said. “My plan was not to take a big risk, but then I just did!

    “You see the people in the crowd – the kids having fun and cheering. Many years ago, we were those kids watching the National Horse Show and cheering for the riders we liked. It’s always cool when people show up and the class turns out to be an exciting one, like it was tonight.”

    The win was especially poignant as the horse missed a year of competition due to injury.

    “We weren’t really sure what was going to happen with his career,” said Daniel. “Last year, this was the first grand prix [back] that he jumped, and he finished third, and since then he’s had a pretty good run. He doesn’t show that often. He’s been second multiple times and third, but tonight he won. I’m really happy that he gets to put his name [in the history books] at a prestigious horse show.”

    Home-bred soars to victory in Maastricht

    At the CSI4* Maastricht grand prix, Dutchman Maikel van der Vleuten triumphed with his home-bred 10-year-old mare Elwikke, a winner in London earlier this year. Best of the British riders in the grand prix was William Funnell riding Equine America Billy Picador, who just picked up four faults in the jump-off.

    Stardust teams up with a new member of the Charles family

    In the 1.50m CSI3* grand prix on the Autumn MET Tour in Spain, the winner was France’s Alexa Ferrer riding Arka de La Hart Z, with Great Britain’s Sienna Charles claiming the runner-up spot with the former top ride of her brother Harry, Stardust. The pair only teamed up a matter of weeks ago and have produced some exceptional performances already.

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