Working hunter ponies delighted a packed audience around the Frogmore arena. One of the most popular winners was the 18-year-old 143cm grey gelding Carnsdale Caspar, owned by the Wrennall family and beautifully ridden by Katie Wrennall, 12. The still enthusiastic campaigner jumped one of only two clears over a demanding course.
Another game veteran, 16-year-old CJs Tonto, accounted for the 133cm division, but the section title went to Sophie Lawes and her 135cm bay mare Carnsdale Vanity Fair.
The youngest winner was Toby Johnstone who took the BSPS Heritage Mountain & Moorland Open Lead Rein Class riding Pumphill Fandango.
Britain’s beautiful native breeds again took centre stage at the show. The top spot went to Hannah Horton with Lady Huntingdon’s stunning Connemara Slieve Bloom Jill; her first Royal Windsor native title. At the other end of the age range, Angela Pallet’s amazing 18-year-old Welsh Section B gelding Waitwith Westwind was reserve champion.
The prestigious show pony title went to Yorkshire-based combination Georgina Holmes and her 148cm winner Wilderness Early Bird.
The Queen’s black Fell mare Murthwaite Dawn Chorus delighted her owner by winning her class and then going on to take reserve supreme in-hand mountain and moorland champion. The pony lives at the Royal Mews and is regularly ridden by members of the royal family. The winner of the class was Broughton Morwena, a Welsh cob owned by Lesley Evans.
In ridden ranks, Clare Twiston-Davies’s reigning Horse of the Year Show cob champion, Randalstown Musketeer, took his first Royal Windsor title for Vicky Hesford.
With his magnificent four-in-hand warmbloods, reigning World Champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, drove to victory in the final phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix at Royal Windsor, reclaiming the win that has been his six times previously.
“We’ve been second for the last two years,” smiled a relieved Exell. “I lost it in the cones last year and I really did not want to do that again.” He added, “I’ve been trying out new combinations of horses in recent years but these ones have really gone well for me. They got me out of trouble in obstacle seven yesterday when we almost took a wrong turn.”
Exell was in first place as the final phase began, but the pressure mounted as the top drivers began recording double clear rounds. Four-time World Champion, Ijsbrand Chardon of the Netherlands, was less than one cones penalty behind Exell and is usually exemplary in this section. However, uncharacteristically, he had two balls down which dropped him behind fellow Dutchman Koos de Ronde and German driver Christoph Sandmann, and gave Boyd a bit of breathing space. He didn’t need it – he drove a sure and clean double clear to take his seventh Royal Windsor win.
Today’s cones course was designed by Richard Nicolls from the USA, and was described by competitors as ‘classic Nicolls’.
“They know that I design courses that are flowing but technical,” he said. “There are changes of rein and various options but I don’t like mad dashes across the arena or a course that constantly doubles back on itself. It’s better for drivers if the course flows, and it’s better for spectators too.”
Pony four-in-hands provided an even more nail-biting finale. Yesterday’s marathon winner, Germany’s Michael Bugener, lying third overall, attacked the course with vigour; it earned him a round that was clear on time but at the expense of 12 penalty points. In second place at this stage, Jan de Boer from the Netherlands drove confidently and steadily, also making the time but picking up just 3 penalties. In the lead, Vilmos Jambor Jr from Hungary drove with some caution and dropped behind on time, but more punishingly accrued 9 penalties. Jan de Boer and his Welsh Sec. A team, therefore, claimed the win for the sixth time, with Bugener and Jambor Jr, both competing for the first time here, taking second and third.
“I’m particularly pleased with the new pony I have in the wheel,” said the delighted Dutchman, who last won here two years ago. “I felt I really had to look after him in the marathon, particularly in the first obstacles, as he is still inexperienced.”
In the Nations Cup driving competition, the Netherlands – Ijsbrand Chardon, Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman – never looked like relinquishing the first place they have held since the first day. Germany (Rainer Duen, Marieke Harm and Christoph Sandmann) retained their second position throughout, but Belgium (Dries Degrieck and Edouard Simonet) overtook Australia for third.
Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy CSI4*
A full house of enthusiastic visitors witnessed the USA’s Kent Farrington claim the biggest spoils of the week in the Grand Prix for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy. Despite a valiant challenge by Britain’s John Whitaker (Argento), who thrilled the home crowd, the American visitor took the win with the super-speedy Creedance, a KWPN chestnut gelding.
After an exciting first round, 14 riders came through with faultless score cards to the jump-off. Canada’s Tiffany Foster, on Ben Maher’s former London Olympic gold-medal-winning ride Tripple X III, was second to go and held the lead for almost half the second phase with her clean performance. Kent and Creedance smashed her target by three seconds, causing those watching to whoop in delight at the display of calculated horsemanship.
John then tried to steal the win for the home crowd, but finished one second adrift despite a strong start out on the shortened course.
“Up to the planks [halfway around the track] I knew I was quicker,” said John, who praised Royal Windsor Horse Show’s move to four-star jumping. “Then he spooked at something. I don’t know what it was, so I ended up doing two or three strides more than Kent.”
The final double clear of the class came from Italy’s Piergiorgio Bucci (Casallo Z), but a steadier round than the two prior faultless performers meant third place and handed victory to Kent.
“Creedance is a naturally fast horse and was flying out there, but I held my breath a bit when John went,” said Kent. “I grew up watching him and he is still just as good now as he was then.
“I’ve taken two big wins this week so I think I should get out of town quick!”
Palm Accumulator CSI4*
France’s Adeline Hecart shot home 0.01sec ahead of Britain’s Robert Smith and Cimano E to win the Palm Accumulator with Questions D’Orval. “There weren’t really many places to make up extra time, so I think there was a bit of luck involved,” said Adeline, who won last year’s Falcon Stakes with the 12-year-old mare.
“It is my favourite show in the world,” she added. “Last year, the atmosphere was amazing and the people who come here are so knowledgeable and appreciative of horses. But this year you can really feel that there is something more, and sense how much people love the Queen and want to celebrate her birthday.”
Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes CSI4*
The day before, the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup was the feature event and turned into a scintillating race against the clock, with World No. 6, Kent Farrington coming out on top in the eight horse jump-off. Joe Davison (GBR) produced a beautiful clear as first to go in the jump-off, setting a time of 36.79 seconds. However, with notably fast riders to follow, his lead was soon relinquished. Kent, riding the blisteringly fast Creedance, showed why he is among the best riders in the world, posting an impressive time of 31.86, more than a second faster than eventual runner-up Tiffany Foster.
Kent, a Rolex Testimonee, was at Royal Windsor for the first time, and was thrilled with the result, “What more can I ask for? I’ve never been here before, so we’re off to a great start, and with this being The Queen’s Birthday Celebration too, it’s a great moment.”
The CSI 4* Falcon Stakes, the second world-ranking class of the day, went to the UK’s leading lady rider, Laura Renwick and Heliodor Hybris. The unique class format, whereby the winners of each of the seven groups in the first round, along with the fastest losers, go through to the jump-off, caused plenty of excitement in the packed stands. Lorenzo De Luca held the lead after posting a challenging 28.03, but Laura, last to go, cut more than a second off his time.
Service Team Jumping
Her Majesty The Queen’s Challenge Cup For Service Team Jumping was claimed by the Household Cavalry Team B with the only faultless tally at the end of two rounds. The trio of riders were Major Housby-Skeggs (Hightide), Corporal of the Horse Lacey (Nudger) and Captain Chambers (Freeway).
Manama Speed Stakes CSI4*
Guy Williams (GBR) set the early pace in the first 4* competition of the show, the Manama Speed Stakes, with an immaculate clear in 26.94sec. Those that followed tried in vain to catch him, but he was the eventual winner aboard the fourteen-year-old chestnut gelding Casper De Muze. The penultimate rider, USA’s Laura Kraut came closest to Guy’s time, making all the turns and galloping to the last, but her 27.23sec was only good enough for second. In third was Joe Davison, son of former Royal Windsor Horse Show Dressage winner Richard Davison.
The Bahrain Pearl Stakes CSI4*
This class saw 35 world class riders contesting the £7,500 first prize, reflecting the upgraded status of Royal Windsor to 4* level. Tim Stockdale (GBR) was the first to go clear in the 17-horse jump-off, setting a time of 41.06, then double Olympic gold medallist Beezie Madden threw down the gauntlet, knocking more than five seconds off Tim’s time, and stopping the clock in an impressive 36sec. The twisty course caused a few problems but home favourite John Whitaker pulled out all the stops, clear in 33.62 aboard the stunning stallion Argento to take the lead. Just when it looked as if John had the class wrapped up, his son Robert, riding Catwalk IV, had the final say, posting an impressive clear in 32.44 to take a well-deserved victory.
Full results can be found on this link.