Report by Penny Richardson
Swiss star Steve Guerdat’s most recent visit to a major outdoor show in Britain prior to this week was when he became individual Olympic Champion at London 2012. He must be wishing he came here more often after jumping a sensational round to win the five-star Rolex Grand Prix at Royal Windsor Horse Show today on Bianca.
Course-designer Bob Ellis provided the perfect result with a 10-horse jump-off that included some of the world’s best riders. There were only four double clears and Steve with the 12-year-old Swedish-bred Bianca skipped round to beat the United States’ Laura Kraut on the recently addition to her stable, Catwalk 22, by half a second.
Third place went to Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano on the huge-jumping Caspar 232, while William Whitaker was best of the Brits in fourth with the only other double clear on Utamaro D’Ecaussines.
The result could have been different though, as Canada’s Eric Lamaze (Fine Lady 5) and Robert Whitaker (Catwalk IV) were both faster than the winners and each rolled a pole at the last fence.
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Although they have competed at most of the world’s top shows and championships, this was a first grand prix win for Steve and Bianca.
“I’m very pleased for Bianca. That sounds mad because we’ve had loads of good placings, but we never managed to win before. I had a really good feeling about her. This was her first show after the World Cup final, she was fresh and the course suited her,” he said.
“Windsor is the kind of show I like. The crowd gets behind you, there are lots of real horse people here who appreciate what we are doing and it makes me very motivated.”
The two-star grand prix that kicked off the final day’s proceedings went to Britain courtesy of Joe Davison, who had his first ever win at the level on Coral Reef Wise Guy.
Don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (17 May 2018) for full reports and coverage from the Royal Windsor Horse Show
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