‘I’m lucky to ride such an athlete’: British Olympic hopeful wins Luhmühlen CCI4*-S hours after five-star podium

  • Yasmin Ingham has taken the honours with Banzai Du Loir in the Longines Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S results today (16 June), keeping her Olympic dreams very much alive.

    Luhmühlen was a particularly significant competition as the final event before the announcement of the British eventing team – or a shortened list – for the Paris Games. Of the 12 British horse and rider combinations listed as Paris potentials last month, five were in action here in Germany; Yasmin Ingham with Banzai Du Loir and Rehy DJ, Tom McEwen and JL Dublin, Laura Collett and London 52, and Ros Canter and Izilot DHI.

    “It was a very important weekend for me, and there was a lot of pressure involved,” said Yasmin, who earlier in the day finished third in the Luhmühlen CCI5* with Rehy DJ.

    “Of course all of us have the goal of being selected for an Olympic Games for our country. I just wanted to make sure that I was doing everything I possibly could to put myself and Banzai in the best place for that.”

    And that they did, when they produced a textbook clear round in the final showjumping phase this afternoon, to remain on their score after the cross-country, 29.3. This kept the pressure firmly on Germany’s Michael Jung and FisherChipmunk FRH, who had held the lead of the CCI4*-S  since the second day of dressage on Friday (14 June), but had no room for error.

    Laura Collett had been in second following the cross-country, but London 52 was withdrawn before the final trot-up this morning after he sustained a minor injury to his coronet band, meaning Yasmin moved up the order.

    Things were going well for Michael and FischerChipmunk in the final phase until they had a rail at the third part of the treble combination at fence 10. They also added 0.8 of a time-penalty, to finish on a final score of 30.9, for third place in the Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S results.

    Yasmin said Janette Chinn and the Sue Davies Fund’s 13-year-old Banzai Du Loir was “pretty perfect” in the showjumping.

    “I felt like he was giving them lots of air, and he felt at its best. Overall he’s been brilliant all weekend, so I’m very proud of him,” she said.

    “He is very elegant and holds a lot of presence in the dressage, in the cross-country he’s brave and fast, and in the showjumping he’s very agile. He just holds the ability to basically come out on top – or nearly – in each phase, and that’s what makes such a great event horse. I feel lucky that I’m able to ride such an athlete.”

    “The decision is out of our hands”

    Yasmin said “there’s so many British riders and horses that could all go and win a gold medal in Paris”.

    “The decision is out of our hands, it’s down to the selectors and I’m sure they’ll make the right decision. We’ve come out this year; Banzai is a world champion, he’s an Aachen champion, he’s been on a five-star podium three times now – it’s very exciting,” she said.

    “I feel very lucky to be in this position. I understand that with horses there’s lots of low days, and there’s lots of high days, and we must enjoy the good times and really appreciate that we get to do this sport and that I get to ride horses like him.”

    Another podium finish for Tom McEwen

    Tom McEwen, too, enjoyed a double podium today, with a clear round on Paris hopeful JL Dublin earning him second spot on the Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S results. Tom was second in the CCI5* with CHF Cooliser, owned by Vicky Bates and David Myers.

    “Us Brits, as well as probably many other nations, are under a lot of scrutiny for our Olympic spots, and we just all try to do as well as we can,” said Tom.

    “For ‘Dubs’ this weekend, he’s been fantastic, he jumped brilliantly in the cross-country, today’s showjumping was beautiful, and to be honest we could go a lot better on the flat. There’s a lot to look forward to, and whether we’re picked or not, it’s a nice step and the right progression. I’m delighted with him and he’s been a dude all week.”

    Tom had said he had been “umming and ahhing” about his plan for JL Dublin prior to Luhmühlen. When asked whether that was choosing between running in Germany or on home soil at Bramham last month (where other Paris hopefuls including Kitty King and Vendredi Biats and Ros Canter and Lordships Graffalo competed) – Tom said it came down to whether JL Dublin “needed to even run at all”.

    “For me coming here where it’s intense, quick and sharp, was definitely the best prep if I was lucky enough to be selected for Paris,” he said.

    “I wouldn’t necessarily run a horse that’s done a three-day like Kentucky (where Tom and JL Dublin were runners-up), and run well, necessarily this quickly round a proper cross-country track like this. For me Luhmühlen was always the answer because it’s got the surfaces, it’s got the proper twisty cross-country.

    “Bramham is one of my favourite events, but here is definitely setting you more up towards what realistically all of us are here for, not just the Brits, but the Kiwis, the Italians, the Australians – everyone is here for the same idea.”

    Michael Jung crowned German national champion

    The Luhmühlen Horse Trials CCI4*-S incorporated the German national championship, with the title going to Michael and FischerChipmunk. Michael also finished fourth in the CCI4*-S with 11-year-old Kilcandra Ocean Power.

    “I’m very happy with both horses,” said Michael.

    “Kilcandra Ocean Power did a fantastic round today, he jumped really well, and FischerChipmunk also. Sadly we had one down, every jump was very good, we were just a bit unlucky in the last combination.”

    Germany’s Sandra Auffarth and Viamant Du Matz were fifth and runners-up in the German national championship, while fellow home-side rider 23-year-old Calvin Böckmann was sixth and took the under-25 award on Altair De La Cense. Frenchman Benjamin Massie and Figaro Fonroy were seventh, Germany’s Jérôme Robiné and Black Ice and Julia Krajewski and Nickel 21 were eighth and ninth respectively, and New Zealand’s Tim Price was 10th on Falco.

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