Great Britain Take Double Top Podium Places in The London World Cup Qualifier
One of the final shows of the year took place in London this weekend. The London International Horse Show, where Great Britain won the main two Grand Prix classes for dressage and showjumping. Staged for the second year at the Excel Centre in the east end of London as opposed to the famous Olympia Grand Hall, the show, like last year still attracted full houses for most performances.
As this show was after the published date of our European Equine Annual Review 2022, the report will not be included. However, as already said, the Review contains articles on all the major European Sport and Racing for 2022 throughout the summer. Do have a look, it is well worth the read!
In the dressage, there were fifteen combinations to present before the five judges from ten individual nations. It was the first international show in 2018 that the ‘short grand Prix’ was first seen, and the same format has been used at this show ever since, The advantages are considered to be that the tests are shorter, as the name suggests, but also the format is thought to be more ‘crowd friendly’. Whether the dressage purists are fans of the short format or not, it certainly looks as it is going to stay at this show anyway, as well as some other international shows adopting the same format at their shows throughout the year.
Two of the elder statesmen of dressage, Emile Faurie and Richard Davison started the ball rolling in front of judges, Peter Storr (GBR); Mark Ringmark (SWE); Susanne Baarup (DEN); Stephen Clarke (GBR) and J. Van Daele from Belgium. Both departed on 69% with Richard Davison just the better by a few hundredths of points. Of the first eight to go before the break, the best was from the Netherlands was Hans Peter Minderhoud riding Glock’s Dream Boy with 73.447%. The only other rider scoring over 70% in the first part was Abigail Lyle riding Giraldo from Ireland. The second seven were the stronger participants on paper anyway! Second in from the last group was Ingrid Klimke riding Franziskus, who once again showed her ability at dressage as well as her prowess in the eventing field. She departed with 75.421% finishing the class in third place. Helen Langehanenberg riding Annabel, also from Germany, also rode a good test to get 74% plus, finished in fourth. The top two were both from Great Britain. The first was Gareth Hughes riding his 16 year old Classic Briolina. He came second with 78.263%. But the best was easily the recently crowned World Champion, Charlotte (Lottie) Fry riding her 11 year old black stallion, Glamourdale with 84.026%.
The same fifteen took to the stage once again for the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music. The second in was Andrew Gould from Great Britain who rode his best test getting 78.065 riding Indigro. He remained in the lead for some time, watching the others leave with a less score, but the honeymoon would and did end. Five from the end, Gareth Hughes returned and rode yet another good music test, leaving with 84.950%. It appears the older this mare gets, the better she becomes! Gareth finished the class in second place. As with the Grand Prix, the two German riders kept their fourth and third places with Ingrid Klimke getting the better of Helen Langehanenberg by just over a percentage mark, finishing on 83.170%. With the winner, Lottie Fry, they were the only four to get over 80%. Lottie Fry started her test with a rendition of the first part of the national anthem before dancing delicately throughout her performance to Queen before returning to the national anthem for the final curtain call down the centre line in piaffe and passage. As she drew to a perfect halt, the audience went ecstatic in their applause for what was a wonderful test earning the pair 90.995% – well ahead of the field. Speaking afterwards in the prize giving, Lottie mentioned how proud she was to have become world champion this year and what a pleasure and how honoured she was to have been able to come to London to perform on home turf – despite she actually competes from out of the Netherlands. Once again the dressage part of the London Horse Show was a spectacular success with both performances being complete sell-outs.
After this leg of the dressage world cup qualifiers, Ingrid Klimke, having ridden well in two of the five rounds so far is in the lead with 55 points. Morgan Barbancon for France is currently on second with 51 points having ridden in three qualifiers; and Benjamin Werndl for Germany is in third place with 50 points and two rides under his belt. Lottie Fry is currently in 18th place having just ridden in the London round with 20 points. All the riders above her have ridden in at least two rounds thus far.
This leg of the Showjumping World Cup Qualifier brought out some of the very best in the sport. Thirty eight lined up for the start including the current world number one Henrik Von Eckermann from Sweden, Steven Guerdat, former winner here and Olympic Champion on London on 2012; other former winners, Marcus Ehning and Daniel Deusser from Germany as well as a plethora of British riders including both Scot Brash and Ben Maher.
It was a difficult course of 16 jumping efforts including some fences with a lot of air between the poles designed by Bernardo Costa Cabral from Portugal. He described his course as highly challenging and the perfect recipe for top showjumping, suitable for the top showjumpers in the world. In the first round, only seven went through to the jump off. Small mistakes were made throughout the course, but probably the most troublesome appeared to be coming off the corner to the treble where the riders needed to be on going but not so much that they lost momentum for the middle part, a 1.6m set of planks.
In the jump off, the first to go was Max Kuhner from Austria riding Electrik Blue P. He tried to balance his efforts by going fast enough to give the other six behind him something to think about, but also to leave all the poles up. In the event, he didn’t really achieve either as he had a fence down and finished in a very beatable time of 42 seconds. Both Denis Lynch from Ireland riding Cornet’s Iberio and Henrik Von Eckermann, (not riding his lovely King Edward on this occasion) but riding Dzara Dorchival ended with 4 faults a piece, although Von Eckermann did manage to complete the jump off in the fastest time of 39.67
seconds. The top four all went clear in the jump off. The first of the four was Maikel Van der Vleuten from the Netherlands riding Elwwike in 41.21 seconds followed by the last to go and who nearly won – Jodie Hall McAteer from Great Britain riding Salt n’ Pepper. She finished in 40.14 seconds. Just ahead of Jodie on 39.73 seconds was Daniel Deusser from Germany riding Killer Queen VDM. The winner was from Great Britain, Scott Brash riding Hello Jefferson in exactly the same time as Von Eckermann of 39.67 seconds. Before the class, Scott had announced that he really wanted this leg as he recognised that he had been rather out of the lime light in recent months and this would give him some Christmas cheer.
After eight rounds of fourteen for this winter’s World Cup Qualifiers, the world number one Henrik Von Eckermann is in the lead having got a total of 58 points and ridden in six rounds. Harry Charles of Great Britain stands in second place with 53 points, also having ridden in six rounds so far. The next two, both from France currently is Kevin Staut also with 53 points but he has ridden in all eight qualifiers and fourth on 49 points is Julien Epaillard who has ridden in just three of the rounds. He won at both Lyon and Madrid and was eighth on London as the fastest first round if the four faulters.
As a foot note to Keven Staut’s current prowess at the World Cup Qualifying rounds, the rider has been given the award of the most successful rider in the summer’s Nations Cup series. He ran twelve clear rounds over the year.
In Racing – Frankie Dettori announced this week that he would be retiring from race riding at the end of the 2023 season. He is currently 52 years of age.
images courtesy FEI under editorial fair use policy