Vilamoura in Portugal Keeps the Flag Flying for Sporthorses

Little to get excited by this week sadly. Corona has seen the cancellation of all the major winter indoor events which is frustrating for all concerned, but with the latest news of vaccines becoming available soon with any luck, we may start to see the end of the decimation of the equine calendar. However, one escapee was the continuation of the showjumping at Vilamoura in Portugal which has been running throughout November.


Show jumping at Vilamoura.

At Vilamoura, who have managed to run their month long show jumping festival with the culmination of a three star Nations Cup in which 12 nations took part. The course design team led by Portugal’s Andrea Colombo provided 12 objects with 15 jumping efforts with a time allowed for the first round of 75 seconds. The highest fence for this 3 star class was 1m 45. All the 12 nations had four riders competing on each team. The winners were Germany with very much their second eleven team, (to use football parlance,) with a total of 8 faults from their top three riders from each round. Their best rider was Richard Vogel riding Floyo VDL, a KWPN bred 10 year old gelding who had a double clear. The other team members were Jens Baackmann riding Aglaia J who knocked one fence down in each round, Guido Jun Klatte riding Quinghai, he had one down in the first round and finally, the former King George winner at Hickstead, David Will, riding C Vier 2. He had a disappointing day with several down in the first round which made him the discarded score. The German team were drawn the last of the nations to go in the first round.

In second was the team from France, who ended the day with a total of 13 faults over the two rounds. Their riders were the penultimate team to go on the first round. The best known was Keven Staut riding Tolede de Mescam Harcour who collected 4 faults in the first round but was clear in the second. The best of the French contingent was Greggory Cottard riding  Bibici who went double clear. The third place was tied between Italy and Great Britain on 16 faults as the final scores for both teams. Antonio Alfonso was the best of the Italian quartet having a double clear and Jack Whitaker for Great Britain again had a double clear.

To finish the Vilamoura season, there was a Grand Prix, again at CSI 3 star level in which there were 59 combinations forward. Gregory Wathelet from Belgium stood at the top of the list after the jump off, having got a double clear in the fastest time of 35.33 seconds riding the grey stallion Nevados S. Twenty of the starters had a first round clear of which eight went on to score a second clear in the jump off. Second and third places were taken by a duo of Germans, Richard Vogel in second and David Will in third. Richard was riding his Nations Cup horse Floyo VDL and David also riding his Nations Cup horse C.Vier 2. The class saw riders from 17different nations take part.

British owned and ridden horse of the month according to the latest from the FEI is  Hello M’Lady, owned by Lady Kirkham and Lady Harris and ridden with great success by Scott Brash. The mare is a 14 year old and was one of the representatives for Great Britain at the European Championships at Rotterdam in 2019 who were one of the combinations to win the Team Bronze at the event.


In a World Cup qualifier in Thermal, California in the USA, there was rather depleted list of those taking part. All the combinations were from the USA. Steffen Peters won the Grand Prix riding Suppenkasper with 77.348% with Sabine Schut-Kery riding Sanceo a good 3% behind.  Catherine Hadded Staller was a further 5% behind the second in third riding Frankie. Although a greatly curtailed fixture list for 2020, this was the fifteenth win for Steffen this year – meaning that he remains unbeaten this term. At the same event, Charlotte Jorst took the Grand Prix Freestyle riding Kastels Nintendo with 76.53%, a personal best score for the combination.


With the main racing of the year now completed, racing’s attention now focuses on the bloodstock breeding sales starting today at Tattersalls in Newmarket. The two week bonanza with well over 2000 lots begins with yearlings, mainly unable to attend earlier yearlings sales for one reason or another. Later in the week there are four days of foal sales with the mares and fillies next week. As the whole of the UK is currently in lock down 2 and is so for another two week nearly, it is remarkable that Tattersalls persuaded the UK government to allow them to hold the sale at all. From Tattersall’s point of view however, it was imperative that their sale was held this year as currently, there is still no deal after Brexit, so who knows what would happen if the sale had not been able to take place!!!

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