Back to Lock Down in Western Europe

With hugely higher Covid 19 cases reported every day and governments scrabbling around, trying to find a way through this most hideous pandemic, most of Western Europe is now in or about to be in lock down once again. Slightly different from the first lock down in that elite sports are set to continue but behind closed doors. Racing, football and rugby will continue, but it is less certain about other sport horse activities. At Badminton, the organisers announced last week that the iconic Horse Trials in 2021 will go ahead, but behind closed doors unless things improve significantly and permission is given to allow a limited number of spectators to attend. However, unsurprisingly, Mechelen, Belgium’s Christmas World Cup Round for dressage and showjumping has been cancelled. Belgium is currently facing some of the worst Covid cases in Europe.

Racing

Chris Waller takes a brace of Group 1 races

In form trainer, Chris Waller took two of the four Group 1 races in Flemington in Australia. The first was the Coolmore Stud Stakes with 14 runners and run over 6 furlongs with September Run, ridden by Craig Williams, winning by 1 ¾ lengths from Swats That, and Wild Ruler in third. His second victor of the day was in the Kennedy Cantala Handicap Stakes over a mile with Yulong Prince, this time ridden by Damian Lane. The winner of the sixteen runner contest won with just a head to spare from the second home Cascadian. Rock was third in a tightly run race. The second Group 1 mile race was for mares and fillies with thirteen going to post – The TAB Empire Rose Stakes. The winner, ridden by Damian Oliver was Shout The Bar in another very tight contest from Odeum in second and Forbidden Love in third. The winner is trained by Gai Waterhouse and Damian Bott. There were thirteen runners. The final and most valuable race on the card was the AAMI Victoria Derby over 1 mile 4 furlongs. The winner was an outsider, Jonny Get Angry who won by a comfortable length for owner and trainer Denis Pagan. The winner was ridden by Lachien King. Second home in the fourteen runner race was Hit The Shot with the favourite Young Werther in third.

This week sees the running of the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous flat race with 24 runners declared for the centre piece tomorrow and at the end of the week the Breeders Cup races in the USA will finish a difficult flat season.

Dressage

Henri Ruoste from Finland wins Grand Prix and Special

In the CDI Grand Prix in Oldenberg in Germany, Henri Ruoste from Finland took both this and the Grand Prix Special class. He was riding Kontestro Db. He took the Grand Prix with 75.348% and the special with 76.255%. In second for both classes was Dorothee Schneider for Germany riding Sammy Davis Jnr. In the Freestyle to music, with the Fin taking a break, Dorothee was able to win, again riding Sammy Davis Jnr with 80.201%. Henri Ruoste only started in international competition in February of this year, so taking this competition was a real feat for the Fin, particularly with the shortage of FEI classes to attend in 2020. It was his personal best scores.

In Newent in Gloucestershire in England, Charlotte Dujardin’s international ride Valegro has been honoured with a half size statue placed in the town centre. The statue, made of bronze, was unveiled by a delighted rider and Carl Hester.

Show Jumping

Show jumping rider from America, Andrew Kocher is in trouble. He has been reported to the FEI for using electrified spurs during both competition and training. The FEI have convened a hearing to adjudicate the case. Since the case was first reported on October 20th, Kocher has been suspended from any National or International competition.

In the one 4 star CSI show jumping FEI competition over the weekend in Lexington in the USA, Devlin Ryan from the USA took the first prize of $70,000 riding Eddie Blue. Fellow American, Spencer Smith was second with Quibelle. There were only 27 combinations taking part in the Grand Prix. Paul O’Shea , from Ireland was third.

In Belgium at Opglabbeek, the 3 star CSI did manage to circumvent the covid rules and there were 59 starters in the Grand Prix. Marcus Enhing from Germany took the top spot with the grey Hanoverian mare Calanda 42 with a double clear and a good 2 seconds ahead of Kevin Staut from France. Kevin was riding For Joy Van’T Zorgvliet Hdc. In a close third on the clock was Jeroen Dubbeldam from the Netherlands. There were 16 clear rounds for the jump off, of which 5 went double clear. The best of the home team was Niels Bruynseels in seventh place.

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