“Tomorrow Will Be A Better Day”
It may not be so surprising but nevertheless very sad that for a second year in a row, The Badminton Horse Trials have been cancelled. There have been a few group 1 races run during the past couple of weeks and also the season has stuttered to some sort of start in both showjumping and dressage. The Spanish Sunshine Tour has also been going ahead after a fashion, all events behind closed doors. We lament the passing of Captain Sir Tom Moore, the inspirational and internationally recognised centurion who raised so much for charity with his walking last year, but who left us with his own motto “tomorrow will be a better day”
It was announced today that The Badminton Horse Trials have had to be cancelled for a second year. The original plan was to stage the event behind closed doors, but major concerns have been raised by the police and the local health authority that it would be impossible to ensure that the event would not be secure from people just turning up, as the area is too big to effectively police. Our thoughts and commiserations must go to Jane Tuckwell, the event director, and all her magnificent team who have worked tirelessly to try to make the 2021 event happen, but sadly t no avail.
On another matter, The Royal Windsor Horse Show, one of the major international events held each year in the grounds of The Queen’s estate at Windsor Castle have announced that the show will take place this year but not until 1st to 4th July 2021. We all hope that this show and other international shows can go ahead later in the summer as the covid vaccine starts to have a real effect in containing this venomous pandemic.
In recent months, it appears that the pandemic has not been nearly so prevalent in both Australia and New Zealand and so they have been able to continue their full racing calendars and fixtures with little necessity of covid protocols.
In Australia over last weekend, the one Group 1 races at Flemington Park was The Kennedy Australian Guineas over a mile. The race was won by Lunar Fox, a 300 to 1 outsider. The shock winner won by ½ a length and is trained by Paul Preusker and ridden by Michael Dee. Again in Australia, at Randwick, Verry Elegant, a horse we have written about on several occasions now, won another Group 1 The TAB Chipping Norton Stakes over a mile. Also a Randwick, a further Group 1, The Celebration Surround Stakes was won by Forbidden Love a three year old filly taking the seven furlong contest by 3 lengths.
Enable, the wonder filly, now at stud has just been scanned in foal to Kingman at Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket.
Dressage in Wellington Florida USA
One of the first 5 star FEI dressage Grand Prix took place over the weekend. In an event closely watched by the USA selectors with an eye on who may represent the USA in the Tokyo Olympics later in the year, many of the top US riders were keen to make their mark. Steffen Peters once again took both the Grand Prix 5 star and the Freestyle riding top horse Suppenkasper.
In Doha, the second 5 star FEI Grand Prix took place where Jessica Von Bredow Werndl from Germany took the major honours riding Zaire.
As with dressage, there were two FEI 5 star CSI competitions, one at Wellington and the second in Doha. Bertram Allen from Ireland prevailed in the Grand Prix in Wellington, beating 40 other starters with two clears and a winning time of 35.32 seconds. There were only five clear in the first round of which only three cleared the jump off course.
In Doha, the winning ticket was taken by German rider Christian Ahlmann riding Dominator 2000 Z who beat 40 riders with a double clear and in a time of 36.17 seconds. There were nine clears to go through to the jump off, of which five took the double clear. This Grand Prix was attended by many of the major riders from Europe, no doubt trying to get some match fitness into the steeds as everything in Europe clearly has the ‘closed’ sign above the door! In fact, it must the first class we have ever seen where there are no runners at all from the host nation.
The Spanish Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera has been quietly continuing behind closed doors, but the venue was hit over the weekend by a bout of EVA 1 outbreak at nearby Valencia. Many are saying that this is the worst outbreak of the deadly decease for equines to hit anywhere in Europe for some years. The competition has been suspended until further notice.