Denmark and Belgium Win at Falsterbo and Jess Harrington Takes her First Irish Oaks

The Nations Cup for dressage and show jumping circuit continued in Sweden at Falsterbo. It was clearly a good weekend for Denmark and Belgium as Sweden stuttered. In The Netherlands a five star show jumping event was held at Valkenswaard while at the Curragh in Ireland the fourth classic, The Irish Oaks was run.

Patrik Kittel takes Grand Prix

In the Nations Cup for dressage, Patrik Kittel riding Blue Hors Zepter won the Grand Prix with 75.261% for Sweden beating  Danish rider Daniel Bachmann Andersen riding Zippo into second place on 75.043% Third was also from Denmark, Anna Kasprzak riding Addict de Massa. There were 14 combinations. In the Grand Prix Special, Daniel Bachmann Andersen took the honours with 73.723% for Denmark and yet another Danish rider came to the fore to take second, Nadja Aaboe Sloth riding Favour Gersdorf with 72.936% and in third, Mirelle Kenenade Witlox riding Siebenstein for the Netherlands with 71.234%. The final placings for the Nations Cup in dressage was Denmark in the lead with 14 points, followed by The Netherlands with 30 points and just one point behind, Denmark in third. Spain was the only other nations to have a team competing in this round. In the Grand Prix Freestyle, The Danes again took centre stage with Nanna Skodberg Merrald riding Blue Hors St Schufro winning with 81.080% with her fellow team mate Anna Kasprzak coming third with 78.950%. The pair were split by Sweden’s Patrik Kittel with 80.865%.

In the show jumping, a rather more exciting round of Nations Cup took place with eight countries taking part with 32 riders going over the two rounds over the same course designed by Frank Rothenberger from Germany. As is normal for this type of competition, the time allowed was 79 seconds and the top height was no higher than 1.60m. At the half way stage, Norway were in the lead with no penalties as all their riders went clear together with Great Britain, also in first place after discounting the 4 faults collected by Ellen Whitaker as allowed in this competition. In the second round, everything was turned on its head as both Norway collected a team total of 9 faults while Great Britain got 8 faults. Only Geir Gulliksen riding Equine America Grandino H had a double clear for Norway and Jodie Hall McAteer riding Salt N’ Pepper for GB was the only double clear.

The Winning Belgian Team. – Pieter Clemens, Koen Vereecke, Gilles Thomas and Wilm Vermeir.

The winners were from Belgium whose team members were all clear in the second round with only one dropping one pole in the first round. They finished with just 4 penalties. The Netherlands finished in second place after finishing with a total of 5 penalties for the two rounds. Again, all their counting scores gave them a clean sheet for round two. Great Britain finished in third with 8 penalties, while Norway finished with 9. Perhaps the biggest disappointment was for the home team who finished in second from last with 24 penalties and a surprising wooden spoon went to the Swiss team finishing also with 24 penalties, but in a slower time than the Swedes. The other two countries with teams were Denmark and Italy. After the completion of this round of Nations Cup, the standings left the Netherlands in the lead with Germany in second followed by Belgium. There are just two rounds of the competition left, the first being at Hickstead in a couple of weeks’ time followed a couple of weeks later for the final round in Dublin.

In the Falsterbo Grand Prix sponsored by Longines, there were 48 riders forward. The class comprising of one round and then a jump off for the clears had a top height of 1.60m with 13 obstacles with 16 jumping efforts required in a time of 84 seconds. At the end of round one, there were 8 clears for the jump off with four retiring.

Andre Thieme takes the Grand Prix

The winner was Andre Thieme from Germany riding Chakaria, a 12 year old DSP bred gelding. He get two clears with the fastest time in the jump off of 44.73 seconds. The second was from the home nation, Sweden, (to give them a bit of cheer) – Henrik Von Eckermann riding Nanabette Z; again with a clear round, but in 45.00. The Dutch provided the third podium spot with Icoon VDL ridden by Hessel Hoekstra with just two time faults, finishing in 52.30 seconds.

At Jan Topps yard in the Netherlands at Valkenswaard, the summer festival of show jumping took place with various FEI classes to accommodate different levels in the sport. The 5 star Grand Prix attracted 41 starters to take on the 1.60m course. Five of the riders retired in the first round and there were ten with first round clears. In the jump off, Belgium’s Philipp Weishaupt riding Coby took the first place with a second clear and a very fast round in 38.61 seconds.  Lorenzo de Luca took the second place, again with a clear and in 41.16 seconds for Italy. He was riding Cash du Plessis. In third was Lillie Keenan from the United States riding Queensland E, again with a double clear, this time in 42,67 seconds. There was only one other double clear round in the class, from Slovakia, Patrik Majher riding Claude.

Finally, various countries have been naming their teams and riders for the World Equestrian Games to be held in Denmark early in August. From the names announced so far, WEG this year looks to be mouth-watering and vintage prospect?#

Racing

Winner of the Irish Oaks – Magical Lagoon

The Irish Oaks, sponsored by Juddmonte Farms, formally owned and run by the Late Khalid Abdullah, had seven runners taking on the 1 ½ miles over good ground. Three of the runners were sent out from Aidan O’Brien’s yard and two from Jessica Harrington’s yard. All the runners were trained in Ireland and there were no foreign raiders attempting to take the Irish show piece. Magical Lagoon, one of the two for Jessica Harrington was sent off favourite and she took the early lead with Shane Foley on board. The filly was soon headed until the final two furlongs when Shane pressed the button and she cruised into the lead and won by just half a length. The first of the O’Brien trio came second, Toy, ridden by Ryan Moore. Toy struck me as being soft. Ryan pressed the button and she went well in the final furlong, but as she got near the winner, although in my opinion, she should have easily overtaken, she stuttered and looked ungenuine as she seemed reluctant to press home her advantage. The third horse home was trained by Ger Lyons and ridden by Colin Keene – Cairde Go Deo. Surprisingly, this was the first time that Jessie Harrington has won the Irish Oaks.

The only other Group 1 race over the weekend was in Saratoga, the Diana Stakes for 4 year old and older fillies and mares on the turf over 1 mile 1 furlong. This was won by In Italian trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Joel Rosario. She won by 1 ½ lengths from Technical Analysis, who in turn was ahead of Bleeker Street. The first four home were all trained by Chad Brown. There were six runners with one foreigner attempting to raid the party, but without any success as the Charlie Appleby trained Creative Flair came last of the six tailed off.

images courtesy Bloodhorse Int and Equine New Int.

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