The five-star showjumping classes at Royal Windsor Horse Show are proving fast and furious but one British combination has so far been invincible. Find out who won Saturday's Falcon Stakes, less than 24hrs after claiming her first victory at the show on Friday...
Great Britain’s Olympic selected rider Holly Smith has racked up an impressive winning double in the five-star classes at Royal Windsor Horse Show with the flying chestnut stallion, Fruselli, who she describes endearingly as “just a great type of guy”.
The pair’s first victory came in Friday’s 1.50m Pearl Stakes and they looked threatening from the off in round one of the 1.50m Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021 Falcon Stakes on Saturday, where the top 10 riders return for a second round against the clock.
Second-drawn Jack Whitaker set an impressive target with the 12-year-old Elucar VE, but Jessica Springsteen of USA steamed round on Stone Hill Farm’s Hungry Heart to slice a massive chunk off the leading time, crossing the line clear in 36.09sec.
However, Holly Smith and Fruselli immediately scorched out of the starting blocks, rocketing round the Castle Arena taking every inside bend. The Zambesi son always looks to be relishing the challenge of taking on these fences in top gear and looked beautifully at ease to flash home clear in 34.10sec. The time proved unbeatable although Israel rider Daniel Bluman launched a mighty challenge to take the runner-up spot in the Royal Windsor Horse Show 2021 Falcon Stakes on the 11-year-old mare Colestina H.
“Between fences one to two everyone else had gone eight strides but I really set off on an angle to make sure that I got the seven strides,” said Holly, who was announced on Friday as one of the Team GB showjumping quartet heading to the Tokyo Olympics alongside Ben Maher, Scott Brash and Harry Charles.
“After that, there were a few other stride-out options but once I got that seven so easily, I knew I could get the others. It was just a case of him staying careful enough for me to keep galloping at them like that and to keep turning! But he was absolutely fantastic.”
Paying tribute to her recent La Baule Derby winner, Holly said: “He’s just very willing, very genuine and very forward going. He’s just a great type of guy.
“It’s great to be back here at Royal Windsor – I don’t know if it was just my imagination, but everybody seems extra pleased to be here and really enjoying it.”
Jessica Springsteen finished in third place, just ahead of yesterday’s five-star winner in the Manama Stakes, the self-confessed royalty “nerd”, Lillie Keenan again on board Agana Van Het Gerendal Z.
Keep up to date with all the action from Royal Windsor on HorseandHound.co.uk and pick up next week’s magazine for our in-depth analysis of all the action.
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