Slow Wind-up for Sporthorses – Group 1’s Continue unabated
With sport horse competitions still in wind up mode and all being conducted behind closed doors, significant news is rather thin. Racing has continued over the weekend, again behind closed doors, but with three months lost earlier in the season, the big races have been concertinaed together with a continual run of Group 1 races around the globe.
In show jumping, Hickstead have confirmed that their Science Supplement sponsored September show is to go ahead behind closed doors. This may well end up being the biggest and most prestigious show jumping event in the UK this year. At Aachen, as a replacement to the annual ‘World of the Horse’ event, there is to be a new event, just for this year in September. This will be an FEI backed 3 star CSI. The FEI have agreed to several CSI 2 stars and 3 stars over the next few weeks and the first major 5 star CSI will not happen until early September, due to be held at Saugerties in New York State followed by a second in Valkenswaard in the Netherlands a week later. Currently, all the shows expected to take place will all be behind closed doors. The best of the CSI events this weekend was in Belgium where there was the only 3 star CSI and had a huge entry of sixty. It was won by Maikel Van Vleuten from the Netherlands riding Beauville Z. There were ten clears in the first round and six in the second. The runner up was from France, Titouan Schumacher riding Atome Z and third was Pieter Clemens from Belgium.
In racing, again, all behind closed doors, some top races took place including the famous King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. There were only three runners, which was so disappointing for such a prestigious race, the smallest field in the races’ history. However, history was made in that the winner Enable was the first horse ever to win the race three times. Of the three runners, Sovereign, trained by Aiden O’Brien went off in the lead with John Gosden’s Enable a few lengths behind and another from Aiden, Japan a few lengths behind the mare. As the three runners turned into the 3 furlong straight, Sovereign battled on to no avail as Frankie Dettori cruised upsides and soon passed last year’s Irish Derby winner. Enable made the race look easy as she cantered into the history books, being the only horse to win the race three times; in 2017, 2019 and this year. Japan never got going and was third. She won by 5 ½ lengths, an extraordinary distance to win by for a Group 1. This was Frankie Dettori’s seventh win of this race, equalling the most ever wins by a jockey with the great Lester Piggott, also who won the race seven times.
The second Group 1 in Europe was the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh in Ireland. There were six runners, four of which were supplied by the O’Brien team including Magical. At the start of the1 mile 2 furlong contest, Magical went straight to the front and never looked like being beaten. She won by 2 ½ lengths in a slow run ace with Sir Dragonet second, again trained by Aiden O’Brien. In Germany, the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr Preis Bayerisches Zuchtrennan, again over 1 mile 2 furlongs was won by British raider Barney Roy from The Charlie Appleby stables for Godolphin. He won by a neck with Quest The Moon for Germany coming second. There were seven runners. In South Africa, at Greyville, there were two Group 1 races, the first for 3 year olds over 1 mile 3 furlongs, the Vodacom Durban July Stakes which was won by Belgarian trained by J. Snaith. There were 18 runners. The second Group 1 for two year olds over 1 mile with 14 runners, The Jonsson Gardenwear Province Stakes was won by outsider Temple Gaffin for trainer G. Kotzen. In Saratoga in the USA, favourite Volatile won the 6 furlong Alfred G Vanderbilt Handicap (Group 1) where there were only four runners.
In dressage at Achleiten in Austria, the FEI 4 star CDI was headlined by Isabell Werth who was back to her crushing winning ways with two rides getting over 80% in the Grand Prix. Her rides were Weihegold OLD, the first time Isabell competed the horse since lock down and her second DSP Quantaz, with whom she has already won this in short season. Simone Pearce from Australia set a new Australian record at the event with Destanto in the Grand Prix Special with a score of 74.617%. In the small tour, Simone also managed to beat Isabell Werth in the Prix St Georges on Montevideo.