Kempton Park and Mechelen Full Steam Ahead over Christmas

Kempton Park Racecourse

With the Christmas and New Year period, news is somewhat thinner than usual. However, there have been a few things that have come to note. Firstly there has been the famous Boxing day meeting for National Hunt racing at Kempton Park. There has also been the Mechelen World Cup qualifier for dressage and showjumping and Driving in Belgium and a 4 star FEI show in Liverpool England, upon which we will comment next week after the competition has been completed.

Kempton Park King George VI Chase

At Kempton Park near London, one of the big races of the Nationasl Hunt season took place, The King George VI Chase, a Grade 1 race worth £144,000 to the winner. It was a disappointing turn out with only six runners declared, and one of those, Thistlecrack was pulled out before the off. In 2018, there were 10 runners declared and all took part. Like last year, the winner came from Paul Nicholls’ Yard, French bred Clan Des Obeaux ridden by Sam Twiston Davies who won easily by 5 lengths. The second home was another Nicholls’ trained horse Cyrname with Harry Cobden on board. Willie Mullins sent over Footpad, yet another French bred horse to come third with Aso from Venetia William’s yard coming fourth. The fifth horse was the Colin Tizzard trained Lostintranslation was pulled up, which must have been a major disappointment for the Tizzard team as they went to Kempton full of hope.

The other big race at Kempton Park was the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle which was won by Nicky Henderson trained Epatante ridden by Barry Geraghty. Silver Streak was in second trained by Evan Williams. There were 10 runners.

Mechelen Dressage

At Mechelen in Belgium the FEI World Cup charabanc continued. In the dressage there were 18 runners from 12 nations. The top spot was taken by Emmelie Scholtens riding Desperado NOP from the Netherlands with 76.478% In second was Charlotte Fry riding Dark Legend representing Great Britain with Portugal’s Maria Caetano coming third riding Coroado. In the Freestyle, Emmelie Scholtens won with 85.057% with Maria Caetano coming second. Third was taken by Spain’s Juan Matute Guimon riding Quantico with another 80 plus %. Charlotte Fry slipped to fifth place.

Mechelen Show Jumping

Daniel Deusser. Germany

In the Show Jumping, there were 13 jumps with 16 jumping efforts required in Belgian Eddy Geysemans’ designed course. There were 36 starters from 14 nations. This was the 9th round of qualifiers from Europe out of the 14 allowed. Three retired in the first round and twelve went through to the jump off. Of the twelve, four made it double clears with Christian Kukuk from Germany being the slowest of the four in 48.45 seconds. In third was Belgium’s Wilm Vermeir in 45.16. The runner up was Pius Schwizer in 44.02 seconds from Switzerland riding Cortney Cox. The runaway winner was Germany’s Daniel Deusser riding Killer Queen VDM a 9 year old mare in 41.37 seconds.

British Equestrians Recognised in New Years Honours

In the New Year Honours in Great Britain, National Hunt trainers Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls were given OBEs for services to racing. Amateur jockey Guy Disney, a former soldier who lost his leg in combat, and the first person to ride a race with a prosthetic limb was awarded an MBE for services to horse racing and charity. Veterinary officials from Liverpool University have also been recognised for their work in the field of medicine.

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