Izzy Taylor Takes Eventing Honours in Norfolk-Racing Mourns Pat Smullen
The first and only long format 4 star eventing competition this year took place at Burnham Market in Norfolk GB over the weekend. Last week, Pat Smullen, the one of the most successful Irish jockeys of recent times died, a great loss to the racing community. The FEI are talking about re-instating the 2021 European Championships and some good news in the Brexit argument for the movement of horses between various countries.
At last we can report on a decent eventing competition which took place in the UK at Burnham Market over the weekend. Run, as normal now, behind closed doors, there were 99 starters. The CCI 4* (long) was the only one to be run in full three day eventing format in the UK this year. After the first two days, the dressage was completed for both the class, Izzy Taylor found herself at the top of the leader board before going onto the next stage. Izzy was on 23.2 penalties, riding Monkeying Around, a nine year old German bred gelding. After the dressage, she was 3 penalties ahead of Piggy March who occupied second and third positions with Dargun and Fonbherna Lancer. Nicola Wilson riding JL Dublin and Italy’s Vittoria Panizzon riding Chequers Play were both within one penalty point behind Piggy March. In the cross country, Izzy Taylor continued her excellent run with a clear and within the time on Monkeying Around which meant she was in a strong position to win if she jumped a clear the following day. Nicola Wilson also had an excellent round and moved from fourth to runner up riding JL Dublin behind Izzy and was within a fence of the leader, as did Vittoria Pannizon on Chequers Play with another clear round ending the day in third. In the showjumping phase, Izzy Taylor had little problem is securing a clear round which gave her the win by finishing on her dressage score of 23.2. Nicola Wilson was not so lucky with penalties in the showjumping, thus giving Vittoria Pannizon from Italy the runner up spot with Sarah Bullimore, never far behind, coming up to take third riding Corquet.
The going conditions and the weather at this event were perfect, shown by the biggest number of clear rounds in the time on the cross country course. 46% of the starters made the time, the largest number since ten years in any 4 star in Great Britain.
Jockey Pat Smullen from Ireland, has sadly succumbed to his pancreatic cancer, a condition which he had had for a couple of years. He had an amazing record of wins riding for top Irish Trainer Dermot Weld, for whom Pat won both the Epsom and Irish Derbys in 2016 on The Aga Khan’s Harzand. Pat had a career which spanned 25 years and who was champion jockey in Ireland 9 times. He was only 43 years old. He leaves his wife, former amateur champion jockey Frances and three children to whom we send our condolences as well to his numerous friends and extended family.
Brexit back again
With Brexit marching on apace, details have been released to allow smoother boarder crossings between the UK and Europe for horses for racing and sport horse competition. The idea is each horse to have a digitalised passport which would be ready for the beginning of 2021, after the UK/EU transition period ends. It would record all the health history as well as the full identity of each animal. The plan, put together by the International Sport Horse Confederation would comply with all health regulations on both sides of the Channel. The group, headed by Dr Goran Akerstrom has met on a regular basis since May this year and has included all participants from racing and sport horse activities. Dr Akerstrom stressed the importance of keeping the boarders as fluid as possible to protect the 50 billion Euro industry and the 500,000 jobs which go with it.
There were nine meetings around the world featuring FEI jumping. Most were 2 and 3 star but there was one 5 star event in St Tropez at the Grimaud arena. There were 46 combinations in the Grand Prix with a prize fund of 200,000 euros. The course was designed once again by Uliano Vettani from Italy, who set a course with 13 obstacles with 16 jumping efforts. The first round saw nine clear rounds. In the jump off, Denis Lynch from Ireland prevailed riding Cristello, a KWPN 13 year old stallion, clear in 39.14 seconds. With a second double clear was Frenchman Simon Delestre riding Hermes Ryan taking the runner’s up spot and in third was fellow French rider Julien Epaillard riding Queeletta. All three completed the jump off round in under 40 seconds, so it was close. Of the original nine first clears, six went on to get a further clear round.
The FEI have postponed a decision regarding the running of the European Championships in 2021 until the end of October. After the original FEI decision to cancel the championships, which were due to be held in Hungary in August 2021 following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. Since then, ongoing discussions, with apparently little or no agreement have taken place, thus the delayed announcement! Both showjumping and dressage national European federations are more than keen to have the championships rescheduled.
In Woodbine in Canada, the main race meeting of the year took place over the weekend. There were three Group 1 races. The first was the Ricoh Woodbine Stakes over a mile for 3 year olds and up. The race was won by Starship Jubilee by a length from March to the Arch. The winner is trained by Kevin Attard and Justine Stein was on board. The second contest was the Summer Stakes for 2 year olds only which was won by the Mark Casse trained Gretzy The Great and American bred colt. The final of the trio was the Natalma Stakes for 2 year old fillies only and was won by another USA bred horse, Lady Streightspear and is trained by Roger L’Attfield. Both races had 7 runners.