‘It’s gutting but there’s a lot more to come from him’: unlucky faults deny Joe Stockdale and talented stallion first 5* win

  • Joe Stockdale and the much-admired 10-year-old stallion Ebanking gave a real glimpse of their potential at 5* level when they came within millimetres of taking a win in Royal Windsor Horse Show’s 1.55m Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup.

    Riders often talk about having “an unlucky pole” but for once the description could not have been more accurate, as the slightest of taps at the final fence shattered the partnership’s hope of victory, when they were a formidable 2.66sec up on the clock.

    “I’d set myself up for that class this week — I said at the start of the week I wanted to win it — so it was a bit gutting,” said Joe, who took over the ride on Barbara Hester’s son of Etoulon from Adam Botham two years ago.

    “I was nearly through the finish by the time pole hit the ground. He only just tickled it, I don’t think he even knew he touched it.”

    The partnership were jumping third in a seven-strong jump off for Saturday’s €12,500 feature class, and were chasing a pathfinding lead set by the USA’s Kent Farrington and Landon.

    “To be honest, even though I thought I’d be up on the time, that last line was still the right distance to go on, I don’t think I could have ridden it differently. I gave him time and set him up, it was just really unlucky. I think you could jump that another 10 times and I don’t think he’d have it down, it was uncharacteristic,” Joe added.

    ‘He is more than capable of winning at 5* by a fair margin’

    “It’s bittersweet because although it’s gutting, I set him up for that class and he had his eyes on the ball. There’s a lot of positives — I think there is a lot to come from that horse, and he was showing in a 5* 1.55m, that he was more than capable of winning by a fair margin.”

    Ebanking was very successful as young horse, qualifying for several classes at Horse of the Year Show, where he was a favourite for the Foxhunter final, and taking a 1.30m win in the 2* at the London Global Champions Tour as a seven-year-old.

    At the end of last year he made a significant step up to CSI5*, and in January he jumped well in the nations cup in Sharjah

    “It took a while to work a few things out with him and he has taken time to get to this level,” Joe said. “He’s a quick learner who doesn’t want to make a mistake but he didn’t walk through the door ready to go at 5*.

    “He was a good winner as a young horse but he had to go through a period of not winning and taking time with him and now I feel that I can push that button and take him onto a bigger cog, asking him more doesn’t mean it gets away from him.

    “He’s a horse who gives 100% every time and that attitude and mentality make things easy to work out. He’s a great asset to my string.”

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