International show jumping action

Lots of action overnight in the International show jumping arenas.

David Simpson on Gotti Van Paemel
David Simpson on Gotti Van Paemel

David Simpson steals the show in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial
Ireland’s David Simpson had his first major win in Hickstead’s International Arena today, taking the honours in the Bunn Leisure Derby Trial.

Tactics came to the fore in the jump-off, when David (riding Gotti Van Paemel) faced two rivals in the form of William Funnell (Billy Onslow) and Shane Breen (Acoustik Solo du Baloubet). First to go was William, who finished in a time of 64.30sec, but knocked one fence to finish on four faults. Hickstead-based Shane Breen picked up an unfortunate eight faults, paving the way for David to go for a steady clear.

“He’s not fast, but he’s really careful,” explained David. “I decided if the lads went clear I’d jump a few fences and pull him up and give him a pat, because I knew I’d come third and then I could save him for the Derby. But when they had fences down I knew I could jump a clear round.”

David is hopeful that the horse can continue his winning streak in the Derby, the feature class of this meeting.

“He was really good in the Derby last year, but took a real dislike to the hedge for some reason, so I immediately went home and built a hedge to train over and he’s fine now. This is the best chance I’ve ever had in the Derby, I just need to get him freshened back up and feeling as good as he does today.”

David shares a yard near Horsham with his fiancée Louise Pavitt, the winner of yesterday’s Stoner Jewellers Vase speed class. The pair have two young children and are getting married in August.

“It’s really nice to win a class here, actually – usually it’s Louise who wins,” joked David. “We’ve been at our new yard for about two years now and the horses are all really happy and settled. They seem to have hit a good run of form and we have a great bunch of owners.”

In the Hickstead Master’s Challenge – where riders tackle a timed course before a series of white gates of ascending heights, it was Britain’s Guy Williams who won for the second year in a row with the chestnut Casper de Muze.

“Casper is brave, careful and a very good gate jumper. He is a Grand Prix horse demoted to a speed horse, so he wins a lot,” said Guy.

Several showing classes reached their conclusion in the International Arena, with leading show producer Jayne Ross scoring a double of wins. She took the Ready Supp Supreme Cob Championship with Cob in Hood, as well the Alltech Small Show Hunter Championship with Hello Dolly. Hannah Horton was the Blue Chip Native BSPS Heritage Supreme Champion with the eight-year-old Connemara mare Slieve Bloom Jill.

“She never ever lets me down. She’s a showgirl – the bigger the occasion the better she goes. She didn’t put a foot wrong today and it feels amazing to win at Hickstead,” said Hannah.

The highlight of tomorrow’s show jumping is the British Speed Derby, which is a single-round timed class that takes in many of Hickstead’s fixed obstacles. Guy Williams has won this class for the past two years running, again with Casper de Muze, and has now clocked up a total of four wins, so this year he will be aiming for a record fifth victory. But Harriet Nuttall – runner-up in 2015 – will no doubt be doing her best to beat Guy and claim her first international title at Hickstead.

CHIO Rotterdam: Nations Cup

The podium (L to R): Rob Ehrens Chef d’Equipe with team members Jur Vrieling, Harrie Smolders, Maikel van der Vleuten and Willem Greve. (Image: Arnd Bronkhorst)
The podium (L to R): Rob Ehrens Chef d’Equipe with team members Jur Vrieling, Harrie Smolders, Maikel van der Vleuten and Willem Greve. (Image: Arnd Bronkhorst)

The Dutch show jumpers have won the FEI Nations Cup Furusiyya at the CHIO Rotterdam. This takes them to the lead in the Nations Cup series and sets them up  nicely for Rio.

“After 11 years’ toil and struggle, we have now finally succeeded,” coach Rob Ehrens said, smiling contentedly (the last time the Dutch jumping riders managed to win the Nations Cup was 2003, also in Rotterdam). “It was fantastic. I’m very happy with it. My riders were extremely motivated. That is what must be for an athlete. I do not know if it’s because the Olympics are getting closer. I see a very healthy rivalry in the group. It’s still exciting who comes into the team. For us all. The Olympics are once every four years. I must be convinced that I take the right decision; I want to go to Rio de Janeiro with a team as strong as possible.

There are still big competitions to come before the team is named. In Falsterbo (July 8)  Jeroen Dubbeldam, Gerco Schröder Glocks, Wout Jan van der Schans, Jur Vrieling and Johnny Pals will be competing. Aachen has Ehrens Willem Greve, Leopold van Asten, Maikel van der Vleuten, Gerco Schröder and Harrie Smolders. 

Harrie Smolders (NL) riding Emerakd NOP (Image: Arnd Bronkhorst)
Harrie Smolders riding Emerakd NOP (Image: Arnd Bronkhorst)

Here at Rotterdam, Harrie Smolders had a time fault: “So I would also have the drop score,” he laughed. His time error with Emerald N.O.P. in the first round did not count for the team. “Emerald was so eager in the first round. He hadn’t run since Rome, so I had to correct him – something that took time. It was a flaw. All the horses jumped fantastic today.”  All other Dutch combinations jumped clear.

Jur Vrieling, who rode the grey stallion VDL Zirocco Blue N.O.P., said, Zirocco felt really good today. This is just a great result.”

Maikel van der Vleuten riding VDI Groep Verdi TN NOP (Image: Arnd Bronkhorst)
Maikel van der Vleuten riding VDI Groep Verdi TN NOP (Image: Arnd Bronkhorst)

Willem Greve also had clear rounds with Carom N.O.P., so Maikel van der Vleuten, the last rider for Netherlands did not even have to jump, because the victory was already won.  

Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup presented by Longines, CHIO Rotterdam
1. Netherlands, str 0 pts
Harrie Smolders (Lage Mierde), Emerald N.O.P. (V.Diamant de Semilly), 1 + 0
Jur Vrieling (Holwierde), VDL Zirocco Blue N.O.P. (V.Mr. Blue) 0 + 0
Willem Greve (Markelo), Carom N.O.P. (V.Cassini I), stallion, 0 + 0
Maikel van der Vleuten (Someren), VDL Groep Verdi TN N.O.P. (Quidam de Revel), 0 + ng
2. Switzerland, 4 str pts
3. Germany, str 8 pts
4. Sweden, 13 str pts
5. United States, 16 str pts
6. Belgium, 21 pts str
7. France, 28 str pts
8. Great Britain, 33 pts str

Monaco – Global Champions Tour

Bertram Allen wins on Molly Malone. (Image: GCT: Stefano Grasso)
Bertram Allen wins on Molly Malone. (Image: GCT: Stefano Grasso)

Irish star Bertram Allen and his brilliant 12-year-old grey mare Molly Malone V took the Prix Massimo Dutti trophy this afternoon after a thirteen rider jump-off. The combination went double clear in an impressive 34.56s as the sun set over Port Hercule.

A top-class field of 37 horses and riders competed in the small sand arena, over a tough and tight course. Last event’s Grand Prix winners, Scott Brash (GBR) and Hello Forever were the first to go clear, and Swedish Olympic medallist Rolf-Göran Bengtsson with his stunning grey stallion Clarimo ASK also set a cracking pace.

Georgina Bloomberg (USA) put in another stunning round, this time with Caleno 3. She was joined in the jump-off by compatriot Audrey Coulter (USA) and Alex, Jane Richard Philips (SUI) and Zekina Z, Piergiorgio Bucci (ITA) with Casallo Z and Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA) with the big-striding Caspar 232.

First out for the jump-off, Scott Brash and Hello Forever caught an unlucky pole. Bertram Allen was the first to go clear, throwing down the gauntlet for the rest of the field as he galloped to the fences with Molly Malone V. A brilliant turn to the full-height vertical at number three saved valuable seconds, and the pair stopped the clock at 34.56s. The ever-speedy David Will (GER) and Cento du Rouet looked right on Bertram’s heels, but were just pipped to the post, finishing two tenths of a second behind in 34.74s.

One of the final riders to go was Jerome Guery (BEL) and Alicante, another dangerously fast combination who saw double success in the LGCT Chantilly speed classes earlier this month. Jerome and Alicante gave it their all, and came excruciatingly close to Bertram’s time, crossing the line in 34.64s. So, the top three finished within a whisker of each other, with fourth placed Pieter Devos and Apart almost two seconds behind them. Switzerland’s Christina Liebherr and L.B. Eagle Eye took fifth and Katharina Offel (GER) with Umeunig was sixth.

Jos Verlooy on Farfelu de la Pomme (Image: Stefano Grasso)
Jos Verlooy on Farfelu de la Pomme (Image: Stefano Grasso)

The first class of the three-day feast of show jumping kicked off in style with young talent Jos Verlooy (BEL) and Farfelu de la Pomme winning the CSI5* 1.45m Prix Fédération Equestre de la Principauté de Monaco.

Jos rode an exceptionally competitive round. Guiding the 11-year-old chestnut mare to perfection, he kept up the gallop all the way to the line, home in 25.67s to take top honours.

Georgina Bloomberg (USA) set the early pace with her stunning 11-year-old dark bay gelding Balou, jumping a beautiful clear and throwing down the gauntlet for the rest of the field. Hot on her heels was Pius Schwizer (SUI) with PSG Future, an experienced combination, who pipped the American by two tenths of a second and finished third.

Second place went to Turkey’s Ömer Karaevli who rode his 10-year-old bay gelding Cortani brilliantly to finish less than half a second behind Jos.

Georgina finished fourth with Balou overall – only fractions of a second adrift. Italy’s Piergiorgio Bucci and Chiba Chiba took fifth place, with young Dutch rider Lisa Nooren on VDL Groep Centora de Wallyro riding a fantastic clear to finish in sixth. Jane Richard Philips (SUI) was seventh with Pablo de Virton.