Corona Virus starting to affect equine sport.
This week saw both dressage and showjumping events in the USA and the Middle East at the highest level. Event organisers are keeping a close watch on the Corona Virus and shows are still going ahead, but some racing throughout the world has been affected by running the meetings behind closed doors.
Corona Virus update
Despite the Corona Virus apparently spreading round the globe, the organisers of equestrian sport still consider that they are in a low risk situation and most of the competitions scheduled are still running. In France in Chantilly, the race meeting of today is to go ahead but with no racing public allowed to attend. The French authorities have had more cases than most other countries in Europe. In the UK, with the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival due to take place in ten days time, the authorities are keeping a watching brief and currently have no intention of cancelling, but reserve the right to change their minds if the situation or advice they receive, changes dramatically. Several countries have started to implement a ‘racing behind closed doors’ policy including Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, France and Switzerland.
Dressage in USA and Middle East
In a massive field of 44 combinations in Lier in Belgium for the 4 star CDI dressage, Spencer Wilton riding Super Nova II was crowned the champion for the day. Spencer and Super Nova have not been seen out together since WEG in 2018. British riders also took the second and fourth spots in the Grand Prix. Sonnar Murry Brown took second riding Erlentanz, a horse ridden by Charlotte Dujardin last summer while Sonnar recovered from a car accident. Netherlands rider Adelinde Cornelissen riding Aqiedo was third. Gareth Hughes, again from GB was fourth.
In other dressage news, there was a 5 star CDI in , Al Shaqab, Doha which was won by Sweden’s Patrik Kittel riding his own Delaunay Old. In second, representing France was Morgan Barbancon riding Sir Donnerhall II and third was German Matthias Rath. There were 17 starters in the class. In the freestyle, the first two in the Grand Prix were the same first two in third was the Spaniard Juan Matute Guimon, riding Quantico. There were ten combinations who went through to the music class.
In Wellington, Florida, the equestrian winter festival continued with Jessica Jo Tate from the USA winning the 4 star Grand Prix. Korea’s Dongseon Kim was second. Afterwards, the Korean rider disclosed his plans to retire from dressage following ten years of competition. He wanted to be an investment banker!! A rather interesting career move!! Japan’s Kilchi Harada was third.
Showjumping Round Up
In show jumping, there were two 5 star CSI’s and two 4 star CSI’s. Both of the 5 star events were held in the middle east, one in Abu Dhabi and the second in Al Shaqab. In Abu Dhabi, the class was a Longines Nations Cup round for the middle east. Six nations competed with New Zealand coming out as the winners with a total of eight faults from the three riders in the team. Egypt and The Unit Arab Emirates, stood in second place, both ending with 17 faults. Both teams had four riders.
In Al Shaqab, the CSI 5 star had 40 starters lining up to tackle the 17 jumping effort course designed by Dutchman Louis Konickx. There were 12 nations represented, mostly from northern Europe. The French came out on top with rider Julien Epaillard riding the 11 year old stallion Virtuose Champeix. He rode one of the eight double clears, (there were nine clear in the first round) in the fastest time of 33.41 seconds. In second place was Austria’s Max Kuhner riding his own Electrik Blue P and third was Scot Brash from Great Britain riding Hello Shelby.
In the two winter equestrian festivals currently taking place in both Europe and the USA, the Florida event had 50 riders taking part. The winner was Rodrigo Lambre from Brazil riding Catover. He was the fastest of the four double clears in 37.73 seconds. Irishman Shane Sweetnam was seconds and Alexandra Thornton from Great Britain was third. Eight combinations went through to the jump off.
In the second CSI 4 star of the weekend in Vejers de la Frontier in Spain, a massive class of 90 horses lined up for the class. Only six got a clear in the first round to go through to the jump off, where four went clear again. The winner was Alberto Zorzi from Italy riding Veronese Teamjoy in 30.90 seconds, just 100th of a second ahead of Japanese rider Daisuke Fukushima who was riding Conblue. In third was Irishman Jonathan Gordon riding Dorotheental’s Classica.
Dressage Superstar to appear at Badminton Horse Trials
Organisers of the Badminton Horse Trials announced this week that Charlotte Dujardin her retired supper horse Valegro is to give a demonstration at Badminton during the lunch breaks on the dressage days this year. Free tickets can be obtained by becoming a member of Horse View UK for free. Follow this link to see more. Click Here
Un’De Sceaux retires.
Willie Mullins announced on Friday that his super horse Un’De Sceaux has been retired from racing due to a suspensory ligament injury. The horse had 34 starts and was only out of the top two on four occasions. He won no less than 23 races, ten of which were Grade 1.