Geoff Glazzard recalls his ride on It’s The Business at Valkenswaard
I have a whole list of major wins and placings to choose from, but It’s The Business [Teddy] really did give me the ride of my life to win the special stallion class at Valkenswaard, Holland, in 1994.
There were three competitions in all, where points were accumulated. On the first day, Teddy and I won, and Franke Sloothaak finished second on Mister. On the second day, we were all seeded, and the most successful combinations started last. This time, Franke won and we finished third.
We all started from zero on the third day. We were next to last to jump, and Franke and Mister would follow us. It was a big, testing course. The first half was quite normal, and then there was a potential turn to a huge oxer.
Dutch rider Piet Raymakers was the first one to take the turn. The spectators went absolutely wild cheering their own rider, and the pressure was certainly on.
We were waiting in the wings and I remember saying to Derek [Morton]: “Teddy doesn’t know enough to do that.”
Derek’s instant reply was: “Well, it’s time for him to learn.”
We set off and matched Piet stride for stride over the early part of the course. Teddy was really on song and jumped out of his skin. We had a good stride to everything and he never felt like faulting.
At the halfway stage, we were level pegging, and then we took the cut to the big oxer and he flew it. The whole place exploded, the crowd was cheering, whistling and screaming.
We carried on to the final vertical at the gallop. It was a straight run, and Teddy locked on to where he was going as if there were a homing device in the fence. Ears pricked, he pinged it and we were home clear.
I don’t think any one single fence has ever given me such a buzz since. Teddy trusted me to jump at that speed and he rose to the occasion beyond belief. That day, he grew from 16.1hh to 18.2hh. We then had to agonise through Franke’s round, but he had the oxer down to give us victory.
The following day, we jumped in the grand prix. As we approached the combination I took a pull to set him up and the rein snapped. At the time, I couldn’t help thinking, what would have happened if the rein had snapped yesterday on the gallop to that final upright? Fate had intervened. He was meant to win; it was Teddy’s day and he deserved his moment of glory.
We had many more wins of course. He was a great competitor and a lovely character. We retired him to full-time stud duties at the ageof 15. He’d earned his rest.
Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound (21 November) where Robert Oliver talks about his “ride of a lifetime” out hunting on showing star King’s General.
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