Some of Britain’s nominated entries for the showjumping at the Tokyo Olympics will be making their final UK appearance before the Games at Royal Windsor Horse Show (1-4 July) — which can go ahead despite delays to the full lifting of the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions.
Four of the nine longlisted Tokyo combinations will be in attendance; Scott Brash and Hello Jefferson, Harry Charles and Romeo 88, Emily Moffitt and Winning Good, and Holly Smith and Denver. William Funnell and Ben Maher will also compete but have yet to name on which horses.
The other British entries for Windsor include Guy Williams and John, Robert and Jack Whitaker, who will be taking on the likes of reigning Rolex grand prix champion Henrick von Eckermann, world number two Steve Guerdat, European champion Martin Fuchs, and three-time Olympic gold medallist McLain Ward.
A Royal Windsor spokesman said the CSI5* showjumping (2-4 July) is once again set to feature the top horse and rider combinations in the world as they make their final preparations for the Tokyo Games, three weeks later.
“Under the latest [Government] announcements we can confirm we’re going ahead with the show, which has already been planned to meet the Government’s stage three regulations. Working closely with Public Health England and the royal borough we have made changes including limiting our audience to enable social distancing of one metre plus, incorporating track and trace, facemasks where applicable and extra sanitiser and signage to keep all our attendees safe.
“Visitors will also be sent a pre-event screening declaration. We are very lucky that the outdoor space of the show lends itself to adapting for Covid. It’s looking to be a great – if unusual – year at Royal Windsor Horse Show and we’re delighted to see you there soon.”
Also on the Royal Windsor Horse Show entries list to take on international course-designer Bernardo Costa Cabral’s tracks are Olympic silver medallist Peder Fredricson, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle, Billy Twomey, Shane Breen and Michael Duffy, and US riders Beezie Madden, Kent Farrington and Jessica Springsteen.
“Confidence will be high within Ben Maher’s camp as the world number four will come to Windsor fresh from an outstanding CSI5* grand prix victory in Valkenswaard earlier this month aboard his outstanding gelding, Explosion W,” said the spokesman.
“Jessica is sure to capture the attention of the sell-out crowd. The daughter of rock legend Bruce Springsteen is a former winner at Royal Windsor and returns to the show in top form.”
Scott Brash, who took second last weekend in the St Gallen grand prix on Hello Vincent, said Royal Windsor is one of his favourite shows of the year.
“It’s an amazing setting with top-class competition, and to have the support of the home crowd, especially after a year without fans at events, is going to be very special indeed,” he said.
The spokesman said the CAIO4* driving promises to be equally high-level competition with world number one Boyd Exell “the man to beat”.
“The five-time world four-in-hand champion and nine-time World Cup driving champion, who is based in the Netherlands, spent lockdown creating new obstacles on his marathon course in Valkenswaard, so will come to Windsor well prepared,” he said.
Brits Dan Naprous, Karen Bassett and Mark Carruthers are among the Brits to take on the likes of Belgians Dries Degriek, Glen Geerts, and youngest competitor in the driving field Sam Gees, 20. From the Netherlands, multiple world champion Ijsbrand Chardon, his son Bram, and Koose De Ronda and Han Heus will be in attendance.
Only those who appear on this list may be put forward for selection for the Tokyo Games
“His ears were forward and he was really enjoying his job. It was a lot of fun”
Show director Simon Brooks-Ward said to have such a high calibre of equestrian athletes competing at the show this year is a testament to Royal Windsor’s status as one of the “best in the world”.
“With the Olympics just around the corner, we will be seeing the horses and riders in peak condition and we can’t wait to watch the action unfold,” he said.
Tickets are limited in order to adhere to current Government guidelines, but those unable to attend can watch the Castle Arena via live streaming on the show’s website. For more information and to book tickets visit: www.rwhs.co.uk
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