Two very different horses cleared 1.90m to share the honours in the LeMieux six bar as the London Horse Show showjumping continues today.
Britain’s Alfie Bradstock (H. D’Or) and Austria’s Max Kühner (EIC Coriolis Des Isles) were the only competitors to record clears in the fourth round, when the final fence stood at 1.85m. They elected to go head to head rather than splitting the top prize at this point, giving the crowd a thrill, but both were fault-free again in the fifth and final round.
“He’s a puissance specialist and then the six bar is just something extra while we’re here – we might as well give it a go. I never expected him to do that,” said Alfie, who is from a high-profile National Hunt family. He had a few race-rides, but spent more time in the eventing sphere, winning pony and junior team gold medals before he switched his focus to showjumping.
Alfie competed the now 14-year-old H. D’Or for a couple of years before he moved to Switzerland and the horse was sold to Susan Oaks. After two years break, he started riding him again for Susan when he came back to Britain four or five months ago.
The 27-year-old rider showed his skill in piloting the grey through the grid as he doesn’t have the most conventional technique.
Alfie explained: “He’s a bit special. He got a massive stride, but then as you’re getting close to the jump, he’s sort of getting further away. It’s like he’s just weighing up everything so you just have to keep kicking. But when the crowd go wild, he gets an extra foot of scope and carefulness. He’s fantastic.”
Joint-winner EIC Coriolis Des Isles put in a smooth performance throughout the class for Max Kühner, clearing the fences neatly and economically in every round.
“He’s just nine, but he’s very talented,” said Max. “He was second in his first class here [Thursday’s Santa stakes] and I went very fast in the jump-off. So I used this class to calm him a little bit down and give us some exercise before the World Cup [qualifier] tomorrow.”
Ireland’s Michael G Duffy (Lapuccino) and Laura Renwick (Parkmore Rowan) both jumped in the fourth round, but Michael had the penultimate down and Laura knocked both the final two fences.
Two riders shared fifth, having withdrawn their eight-year-old horses after clears in the third round – they were Holly Smith with Billy Serafina and Steve Guerdat on Is-Minka.
The London Horse Show showjumping continues with two jump-off classes later today.
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