Showjumping – Records Fall and Pippa Funnell in News

This week saw a really pulsating and exciting 5 star showjumping competition in Geneva for the Rolex Grand Slam, another 5 star show in Coruna in Spain, the final breeding sale of the year in France, yet another World Cup qualifier in Riyadh  and event rider Pippa Funnell get the Sports Action Woman of the year award.

Fantastic 5 star show jumping action from Geneva

Showjumping from Geneva and La Coruna provided the sport with two 5 star FEI events. In the Rolex World Championship series, there were forty starters to take on the 14 jumps allowing for 18 jumping efforts in a time allowed of 73 seconds for the first round.. The course was designed by Gerard Lachat from Switzerland and Louis Konickx from The Netherlands. This was a truly international line up including the current number one horse Explosion W from Great Britain and the number one rider Steve Guerdat from Switzerland. One of the four Rolex Grand Slam qualifying competitions of the year, the course was big and with open fences making all the jumps very delicate. Among the 17 different nationals taking part, it was striking how young so many riders were, only in their twenties. In the first round, the early leaders were Michael Pender and Mark McAuley, both from Ireland. The Rolex triple fence was the one which caught most of the riders out. In the jump off there were eleven to go through, with riders from five of the seventeen nations still in with a chance. This was a pulsating, exciting quality jump off. Belgian Jerome Guery was the first to get a double clear, followed by the young 22 year old Swiss rider Bryan Balsiger.  World number two, 27 year old Markus Fuchs,

Markus Fuchs wins his first Rolex Grand Slam in Geneva

riding Clooney 51 rode into the lead with 38.60 seconds over the 7 obstacle, 8 jumping effort round. He had to wait for another 6 riders to see whether his lead could be maintained. Scott Brash from Great Britain rode a round which was quicker in all respects, but he took a very slight pull just before the last fence which put five hundredths of a second behind the leader on 38.65 seconds. Scott was riding Hello Senator. In third place was Belgian birthday boy also at 27 year old Jerome Guery riding Quel Homme de Hus in 39.07 seconds. This was Markus Fuchs’ first Rolex Grand Slam win which earned him 400,000 euros first prize for his efforts. Of the eleven in the jump off, seven scored a double clear round. As said a pulsating quality competition.

The Arqana Deauville Sales produces several records

The final sale in Europe of any note was held at the beginning of this week at Deauville in France. The Arqana Sale broke pretty well all records. The average spend per horse – foals and breeding stock – was 49,111 euros for the 701 lots changing address with the median up on 2018 to 19,000 euros. There were two mares selling for over 1 million euros, one of which was purchased by Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber for his Watership Down Stud –  Frankel Light who will visit their stallion Too Darn Hot next year.

World Cup qualifying action in Coruna in Spain

The second 5 star was at La Coruna in Spain. There were 37 runners in this World Cup showjumping qualifier sponsored by Longines over the thirteen jumps with seventeen jumping efforts. Eleven riders were either eliminated or retired in the first round of the Santiago Varela designed course from Spain. There were four clears in the first round, Denis Lynch from Ireland was the only rider to have a double clear riding 13 year old stallion Rubens LS La Silla in 40 33 seconds, therefore winning the first prize of 76,000 euros.  Marc Houtzanger from The Netherlands riding Sterrehofs Dante completed the jump off round in quicker time of 39.79 seconds, but had a pole down which meant the pair ended up in second place as the best of the four faulters. In third was Great Britain’s Robert Whitaker riding Catwalk IV in 40.84 seconds. The final clear in the first round who came fourth was fellow Brit. Guy Williams.

Pippa Funnell earns a special award.

Burley Horse Trials winner of 2019 and top eventer, Pippa Funnell was given another award in London earlier this week when she was presented with The Sports Action Woman of the Year award by Clare Balding. This award was not just an award for those within the equine sphere but was for British sports women from all different sports. Others in the running were athletics world gold medallists and record holders Dina Asher-Smith and Katrina Johnson-Thompson. The award is sponsored by British Telecom and is voted for entirely by the public.

Yet another World Cup qualifier in Saudi Arabia

A third World Cup Qualifier, this time for the Asian League took place in Riyadh during the first week of the Diriyah Equestrian Festival. The winner was Japanese rider Mike Kawai riding Celvin, a 12 year old chestnut gelding. In second was Waled Alghamdi from Saudi Arabia and third, from Egypt was Mahomed Talaat. These were the only three riders of the 18 starters who completed two clear rounds.

Racehorse trainer David Elsworth turns 80.

David Elsworth, a trainer for many years turned 80 years this week. He has been a trainer under both National Hunt and Flat rules since 1979. He had trained a number of great or well known horses including Desert Orchid, Persian Punch, Dead Certain, In The Groove etc among many others. He is still training today and does not seem to have any ideas of retiring yet!

Our condolences to Divina Whiteman’s family

Finally, we were sorry to learn of the death this week of Divina Whiteman who not only was huge in the showing ring but was a main motivator behind Ponies (UK). She first started showing horses in 1946 and was chairman of Ponies (UK) until 2017.

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