Show Jumping at Hickstead and Paris and Rotterdam with Dressage and Irish Derby

The last weekend in June saw three major show jumping events. across Europe at Hickstead, Paris and Rotterdam and the one 5 star dressage event at Rotterdam; and to top it all off, in Ireland there was the Irish Derby.

At Hickstead in the UK, there was the sixtieth running of the famous Hickstead Derby sponsored by Al Shira’aa. The main show jumping event was the Rotterdam Nations Cup in the Netherlands together with a 5 star CDI dressage event at the same venue and finally in Paris in France, the latest round of the Longines Champions Global Tour.


William Funnell and Harriet joint winners of Derby Trial

The first of the main classes was the Hickstead Derby Trial for the Ben O’Meara Memorial Trophy, a first chance for the protagonists looking to go in The Derby itself to see and experience the course. In the Trial, there were 33 runners, and as it is a qualifier for the Derby itself, the top 25 automatically qualified. This ended up being quite a dramatic class as early on Shane Breen on his first ride of the class decided to retire as things were not going well. A few in later, Elliott Smith riding Flamboyant III in his first Derby Trial, rode a lovely round until the very last fence – a 1.60m oxer. He rode to the fence like a demon at terrific speed and the horse jumped so high that propelled the rider right out of the saddle, and although he did remain put because of the momentum until he went through the finish, after which he fell off – a thumping great fall. It very soon became clear that he had sustained a horrible injury, snapping his femur in half and left him with the bone crashing through his skin. It took a good 45 minutes to restart the class following Elliott’s major requirement for medical assistance. He was taken to hospital and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Harriet Biddick nearly takes all three derby classes

It was not until the twentieth horse came in, William Funnell riding Equine America Billy Diamo that we saw the first clear round. Most had 8 or more faults. With only four more to come, in came Harriet Biddick, (formally Harriet Nuttall) riding A Touch Imperious,  and so he was, gaining the second clear of the class. Although a jump off was scheduled, for the first time in the class’s history, both William and Harriet decided to share the spoils of first place. It was an exciting watch, even if rather difficult at times.

In the Hickstead Derby itself, there were 21 starters taking on the iconic and many say the most difficult Derby in the world. After Harriet Biddick won the Derby Trial, she was one of the favourites to win, thus completing a double derby win to complete a triple Derby fairy tale. She also won the Speed Derby yesterday with Silver Lift in the single round class in 96.61 seconds. She beat Carlos Eduardo Moto Ribas from Brazil into second place in the Speed Derby by just under a second.

The Hickstead Derby class was uneventful, much to the relief of the show organisers after the dramas of the Derby Trial. In this, the sixtieth running, there have only ever been 64 clear rounds, the course is so tough. The second in was Michael Duffy from Ireland riding in his first Derby, and he rode a very competent round on Franklin taking out only 3 jumps leaving him in the lead for a while in 12 faults. He finished along with four other riders in joint third place.

Shane Breen wins Derby at last

Shane Breen, with two rides this year came in on his first Can Ya Makin, and he rode an absolute text book round; although this was his second string, he went clear, claiming the 65th clear ever ridden by anyone in this competition. Thirteenth in was Harriet Biddick riding the 19 year old A Touch Imperious. Everything was going fine – she negotiated the bank, the devil’s dyke and other tricky fences, and actually jumped all the jumps clear but for the water where she put a foot in and so collected 4 faults. There were three others who jumped and ended with just 4 faults, (all the other three taking an actual fence out). They were Carlos Eduardo Moto Ribas who had a very successful week at the show; Dermot Lennon from Ireland had an unlucky pole down through horse carelessness at the hedge fence and the third: Shane Breen with his second ride Golden Hawk Therefore the four of them shared second place. So no fairy tale for Harriet but a win for Shane Breen after trying to win this particular class for decades, he finally got his wish. Another successful Derby meeting at Hickstead with not a spare seat to be had.

Rotterdam Dressage

Rotterdam Dressage Arena

In the dressage, there was a round of the Nations Cup to be competed for in which eight nations sent teams. The class comprised of 29 combinations and rather surprisingly, there were none of the top German riders taking part, and both Charlotte Dujardin and Carl Hester from Great Britain also took a rain check. Spectators may have been denied to see the best world dressage riders, but a decent competition was had nevertheless. The winner of The Grand Prix was from The Netherlands, Dinja Van Liere riding Hermes, ending of a score of 79.739%. Sweden’s Patrik Kittel riding Blue Hors Zepter took second with 76.130% and third podium was taken by Ashley Holzer riding Valentine on 72.957% for the United States. At the end of the class, the standings for the Netherlands’ round of the Nations Cup was the home team shared the top spot with The United States, both ending the day with a collective 19 points. Sweden were in third with 29 points.. There were four riders in each team with the worst performer of each team being discounted. The members of the Netherlands team were Lynne Mass who was 15th and her score was discounted; Thamer Zeistra who came 14th and Emmelie Scoltens who finished fourth. The United States team comprised of Ashley Holzer who was third, Alice Tarjan who came sixth, Katie Duerrhammer coming tenth and Benjamin Ebeling, who had the discounted score. With the Grand Prix Special and Grand Prix Freestyle to come, both classes part of this Nation’s Cup round, the likely winners would be either from the Netherlands or United States.

Dinja Van Liere from Netherlands takes Grand Prix and Special

In the Grand Prix Special, once again the top place was taken by Dinja Van Liere with 77.957% -quite well ahead of Germany’s Nicole Wego-Engelmeyer riding Saphira Royal with 72.553%. The United States stood in third in the class with Alice Tarjan on 71.191%. After the class, the Netherlands had just pulled ahead of the United States with a current total of 30 points with The United States on 34 points. There were fifteen starters for this class. Sweden remained in third place, coming fast up behind the leaders on 38 points.

Thirteen riders took part in the final part of this Nations Cup for the Grand Prix Freestyle to music. Patrik Kittel of Sweden took the honours in this one with 80.464%, the only rider in the three days to obtain a score of over 80%. Second was Emmelie Scholtens with 78.590% and third was fellow Dutch rider Thamer Zweistra riding Hexigon’s Ich Weiss with 78.085%. This left the final Nations Cup winning team from The Netherlands with a total of 25 points; in the end, easily ahead of the second team from the United States on 39 points and finally, Sweden in third, also with 39 points, but as they received  lower score in the Freestyle they came third.

Rotterdam Showjumping.

As with the dressage, the Netherlands’ round of the Nations Cup for show jumping had eight teams competing. The home nation put out a strong team and at the end of the first round of two, they were in the lead with zero faults. Maikel Van der Vieulten riding Beauville Z; Sanne Thijssen riding Con Quidam RB; Willem Greve riding Grandoado TM (all who went clea)r and Harrie Smolders riding Monaco ended up with the discard score of just 4 faults. In the second round, again the Netherlands ended on zero faults. Three of the riders went clear with only Sanne Thijssen getting 8 faults which was the discard score in this round. So The Netherlands took their home title with ease. In second equal, following the first round was France and Ireland with only 4 faults counting. In the second round, Roger Y Bost did not go, so all the three remaining riders scores for the team would count. Gregory Cottard got 4 faults in each of his two rounds, and the other two, Kevin Staut and Simon Delestre went clear both times. This gave France a final score of 8 faults. The Irish team also ended with 8 faults, but as they were slightly slower on the clock than France, they had to settle for third position. In both rounds for Ireland, Trevor Breen was the discard score and in both, Denis Lynch collected 4 faults in each round. Both the other two riders, Daniel Coyle riding Legacy and Shane Sweetnam riding James Kann Criz were both clear. So for both dressage and show jumping, The Netherlands took a clean sweep.

Daniel Coyle Takes Rotterdam Grand Prix

In the Grand Prix of Rotterdam, a massive class of 45 combinations came forward to try to claim the 150,000 euro prize pot. This Grand Prix had the usual top height limit of 1.60m designed by Dutchman Quintin Meartens and had the usual 13 obstacles. Fourteen of the runners went clear and onto the jump off including four from the home side. The French though also had three in the jump off. Seven went onto collect double clears including Kevin Staut, who was not only competing in Rotterdam, but also on other horses in Paris, a long commute! Of the other double clears, three from the Netherlands were Lars Kersten and Patrick Lemmen and Kevin Jochems riding Cornetboy who was beaten into second place on 37.20 seconds. The winner was from Ireland, Daniel Coyle riding Oak Grove’s Carlyle with a round of 36.69 seconds. The third home was from France, Julian Epaillard riding Carcole de la Rogue in 47.47 seconds.

So, with an Irish win at Hickstead and at Rotterdam, it was a very successful Sunday for the Irish show jumping team.

The Longines Global Champions Tour – Paris

Yet more top international show jumping was witnessed in Paris over the weekend with the Paris leg of the Longines Global Champions Tour. In the Longines Paris Eiffel Grand Prix, there were thirty two runners coming forward. Gregory Bodo from France designed the 13 obstacle, 16 jump effort course with a time allowed of 74 seconds in the first round. There were only seven who went clear in the first round with Lily Attwood riding Cor- Leon VD Vleirbeek Z went round in the fastest time for Great Britain. In the jump off, she also went clear in a time of 37.55 seconds, which sadly for her was just not quite fast enough. Marlon Modolo Zanotelli from Brazil riding Like a Diamond Van Het Schaeck went double clear with a time of 36.07 seconds to take the class ahead of Lily. The third place was won by Lillie Keenan for the United States riding Queensland E. She also went clear in the jump off in 39.13 seconds. There were two other riders who took double clears, Eric van der Vleuten for the Netherlands and Geir Gulliksen for Sweden.

The Irish Derby

Westover takes Irish Derby

This was a small field of only 8 runners for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. Each of the O’Brien trainers of Aidan, Joseph and Donnacha had one each in the race. Aidan had chosen the filly Tuesday to carry his hopes, this being her fourth classic this year. She was sent off co-favourite with the Ralph Beckett trained Westover, attempting a raid from England. In the race, French Claim, trained by Patrick Twomey and ridden by William Lee took the lead and led for 10 of the 12 furlong contest. He ended up coming in third behind Donnacha O’Brien’s Piz Badile ridden by Gavin Ryan. The winner was Westover, giving the trainer his first Irish classic win with Irish jockey Colin Keane riding. It was an uneventful Derby with not a lot of quality. Westover was the stand out horse both in the paddock and possibly on paper as well, being by Frankel out of a Lear Fan mare, both owned and bred by the Juddmonte Group. Tuesday, the Aidan runner was fourth beaten quite a long way at 9 lengths behind the winner. Westover won by a massive 7 lengths in a very convincing style, asking whether he had had a decent run at Epsom, whether he would have been a double derby winner?

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