Explosion X – St Marks Basilica and Sweden Storm Europe

Following the English classics at Epsom over the weekend, there were also other equestrian events of note on the European mainland. The first of note was the show jumping Longines World Champions Tour in Valkenswaard in the Netherlands and The Nations Cup in St Gallen in Switzerland. The second was the running of the French Derby at Chantilly. Whatever happened in this race though, Godolphin, who were celebrating the Epsom Derby win made it a Group 1 double with winning the Belmont Race in the USA later in the day with Essential Quality, another homebred and trained by Brad Cox.

Show jumping

Ben Maher take the Longines Global Champions Tour in Netherlands. (Round 3)

Starting with the Longines Global Tour round three, there were 48 starters for the 1.60m course with individual riders from 16 different nations in the class at Valkenswaard. Five competed in the first round without taking any fences out and who went through to the jump off, where three of those five went clear once again. As one would expect, there were some decent combinations taking part and were headed by Ben Maher from Great Britain riding Explosion X. He took the class with two clears and in 44 seconds in the jump off, a good 2 seconds clear of Maikel Van der Vleuten from The Netherlands riding Beauville Z. Frank Schuttert also from The Netherlands was third riding Lyonel D, only the third competitor to achieve a double clear. Uliano Vezzani from Italy designed the 13 jumps course with 16 jumping efforts required. There was a time allowed of 164 seconds for the first round.

Swedish Winning Team St Gallen 2021

In St Gallen the Nations Cup was designed and built by Gerard Lachat from Switzerland, and produced a course of 12 obstacles requiring 15 jumping efforts. The course was 500 meters in length with a time allowed for each horse of 150 seconds. There were ten nations competing, all with four horses in the team. At the end of the first round which was kicked off by Rodrigo de Paula Pessoa from Brazil, the teams tied in the top position with 5 faults were Germany and Egypt. In third was Switzerland on 8 faults collectively. In round two, where the riders all ride again around the same course, Great Britain, who had 14 faults in their first round, withdrew from the competition. Sweden was the only country to gain a complete clear in the second round which gave them the winning spot on a total of 9 faults which they got in round one. A strong Swedish team comprised: Douglas Lindelow, Rolf-Goran Bentssoon, Evlina Tovek and Malin Baryard – Johnsson as the anchor for the team. In second with a further 5 faults was Germany and remaining in third was Switzerland, but adding a further 16 faults to their earlier score making them complete on 24 faults. Egypt slipped to fourth place after collecting a further 25 faults in round two, giving them a total of 30 faults for the two rounds.

The Qatar Prix du Jockey Club. (French Derby)

Some do not even class this Group 1 as a proper Derby as it is run over 1 mile 2 furlongs (2000 meters) rather than the more traditional Derby distance of 1 ½ miles. (2400 meters). This is probably a bit unfair, but nevertheless, the race attracted a field of 19 to go before the starter. There are usually plenty of horses from the UK running, but this year, the British numbers were well down because of the continuing confusion and difficulties with rules and regs following Brexit. John and Thady Gosden sent over two runners for the race and Roger Varian sent over one.

Aiden O’Brien wins his first Prix du Jockey Club

The only other non-French raider was from Ireland and yes Aidan O’Brien sent over two runners, including the hot favourite St Marks Basilica. By Siyouni out of a Galileo mare, this horse had already had a successful raid on French soil by winning their 2000 Guineas in his last start. Aidan kept the same jockey on board as he used for the horse’s last race only two weeks ago, Spaniard Iroitz Medizabal. Other fancied runners were Megalian sent over from the UK by John Gosden with Olivier Pellier taking the ride and his second entry, Derab by Sea the Stars out of a Saddlers Wells mare. The other Aidan O’Brien runner Van Gogh also attracted some attention, this one ridden by Colin Keane from Ireland. On of the best of the French runners was Gerald Mosse’s ride, Normandy Bridge, a colt by top French stallion, Le Havre out of a Silver Hawk mare. He has still to score this year, but did win a couple of races at two in France. Another we liked before the off was the Aga Khan owned and bred Makaloun, a winner of a Group 3 race at Chantilly, his only outing this year. He was ridden by Christophe Soumillon and trained by John-Claude Rouget.

In the race, St Marks Basilica was kept handy throughout the race and in the last furlong cruised past Sealiway ridden by Franck Blondel for F. Rossi to win easily by 1 ½ lengths. Sealiway retained second with Millebosc travelling well to take third for trainer Mile Stephanie Nigge. All the other fancied horses were well out with the washing, making little or no impression on what was good to soft ground, but also holding. Surprisingly, this was the first time that Aidan O’Brien has won this race from 39 attempts. St Marks Basilica was easily the most accomplished horse in the race and there was little doubt that he would win. The sire of the second was Galiway out of a Kendergart mare and third was by Le Havre out of an Elusive City mare.

Other News

Daniel Deusser takes over as Number one

In the latest world rankings for show jumping, Daniel Deusser from Germany has knocked the Swiss riders off the top place and is now the current number one. Daniel takes over from Steve Guerdat, who has held the number one position for 15 months. Steve is still number two, but 50 point behind the German.

In Eventing, Oliver Townend (Great Britain) is just 5 points ahead of Tim Price of New Zealand with Piggy March from GB in third place 49 points behind Tim. Therefore for another month, Oliver Townend is still the number one.

In Dressage, Isabel Werth retains her number one spot with 2888 points just ahead of herself, who keeps the number two spot as well with 2854 points. Guving Germany a clean sweep in the current world dressage rankings, Jessica Von Bredow – Werndl is current third on 2851 points, just 3 points off being in second place!

Ingrid Klimke has withdrawn from the Tokyo Olympics following a nasty fall last week and a head injury. We wish her a speedy recovery.

Jos Velooy from Belgium has also withdrawn from the Tokyo bonanza as his mount Igor has sustained an injury and will not be fit enough for the Games.

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