Wow – What a Mouth Watering Month of May We Can All Look Forward To

The Queen celbrates 70 years on the throne. Can she win the Derby?

Wow – what a mouth-watering month of May and early June we can look forward to, with so much top class racing and sport horse competition around the world, but particularly in the United Kingdom, all spiced up with the magnificent achievement of Her Majesty The Queen celebrating Her Platinum Jubilee at the end of the May.

In the news this week, the FEI are continuing and trying to accelerate the progress of compassionate help towards Ukrainian horses and riders stuck in the desperate war currently ravishing their country. In Aachen, the directors have paid tribute to Professor Doctor Arno Gego who was the course builder at the famous venue for many years and who died last week. In dressage, the Germans have been out at several CDI 3 and 4 star shows, flexing the considerable muscle power by winning most of the better classes on offer in Europe. In racing in the UK, the National Hunt Racing season ended at Sandown with the traditional final top NH race in the Sandown Gold Cup sponsored by betting giant Bet 365. 15 ran with the winner, a complete outsider costing on 850 euros in Ireland recently – Hewick. The British National Champion trainer for 2021 2022 season was Paul Nicholls from Somerset.

Badminton returns again in 2022 for the first time in three years

The first weekend of May sees not only the Newmarket Guineas Classics weekend, but also the Kentucky 5 star three day eventing horse trials. Just as those two finish, the eventing charabanc moves the England where, for the first time in three years, the famous Badminton Horse Trials take place the following weekend. Just as we catch breath following the weekend, the 5 star Royal Windsor Horse Show takes place the next week where there is expected to be the world’s top show jumping riders competing for the Rolex Grand Slam Grand Prix. The show is also hosting a very special and unique event each evening celebrating seventy years of Queen Elizabeth II reign. There will be a pageant of over 500 horses and 1000 riders taking part we are told, so this will be something to remember! Ten days after the finish of Windsor, the UK launch into the main celebration of the Jubilee, with the main event of the weekend for many being The Queen attending the Epsom Derby, where she has a runner as things stand with a decent chance? If She could win the race, The Queen will have been owner breeder of all five British Classics during her long and illustrious reign. Not to be out done, there are also 5 star show jumping classes in both Germany and Rome over the same weekend. What a mouth-watering prospect of equine sport we have in store?

Charlie Appleby carries some great Guineas entries

May is always a busy month for racing. The One Thousand and Two Thousand Guinea classics are run in Newmarket on the first weekend of the month and the Kentucky Derby a week later. Throughout the month, various classics are run in Ireland and France – so by the end of the month, all the various versions of Guineas in the three countries are decided – and don’t forget the importance to the same type of races being contested in both Germany and Italy. During the first half of the month, various Epsom Derby Trials run, and this year, the most exciting and probably the biggest pointer to the Derby winner will come in the form of the Dante Stakes run at York. This will be the first time we see one of the main contenders for the race – running for The Queen – Reach for the Moon. The Two thousand guineas is likely to be taken by the unbeaten current hot favourite Native Trail. In the One thousand race for fillies Wild Beauty ran a lovely race in The Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury and is another to give trainer Charlie Appleby a very strong hand in both guineas to take the double for Godolphin.

Can Aidan O’Brien win another Newmarket 1000 Guineas?

Others looking good to challenge are Inspiral, an unbeaten filly in four outings as a two year old, although her participation has yet to be confirmed. ( Just in: Inspiral has now been scratched from the race.) The favourite for the race currently is Aidan O’Brien’s Terebrism, also unraced this year but winner of the two outings at two including the Group 1 Cheveley Park stakes last time out. The race is still very open. Of the Kentucky Derby hopefuls, three stand out – Zandon who won the Blue Grass stakes, Epicenter who won the Louisiana Derby and the Wood Memorial stakes winner Mo Donogal.

Both in Kentucky  and Badminton, there is a full and strong list of entries. Oliver Townend is not expected to ride in Kentucky, the first time he has missed this competition for some years. At Badminton he has four entries and with his excellent form apparently never ending, he must have a decent chance to win – on paper at least! In Kentucky Pippa Funnell has two rides with Leslie Law and Sarah Bullimore representing Great Britain. Michael Jung from Germany is going to Kentucky having decided to bypass Badminton. There are no surprises that there are several riders of the 56 expected to start representing The United States including Bruce Davidson Jr with two rides, Tamra Smith, and Phillip Dutton among several others. Another interesting contender, and also deciding to miss Badminton is Jonelle Price representing New Zealand. At Badminton, there are 86 expected to start, and this does look the more competitive competition.

Oliver Townend leads the charge to become Badminton Champion

Oliver Townend has four entries, Pippa Funnell with two, Tom McEwen and William Fox-Pitt with a couple each and Piggy March, the current Badminton Champion, but after a recent heavy fall at Burnham Market, her participation now looks less likely. Tamra Smith from the United States is expected along with Phillip Dutton to hot foot it to Badminton from Kentucky. The Irish charge is arguably led by Cathal Daniels and  Sarah Ennis. The French are also sending a strong team to Badminton including Cedric Lyard and Maxime Livio. New Zealand has Tim Price running for them and this year unusually, only one German rider is expected – Christoph Wahler.

Ben Maher expected to try to win the Rolex Grand Prix again with Explosion W

The main show jumping class of the month has to be The Rolex Grand Prix at The Royal Windsor Horse Show, back to its normal time after Covid and ready to welcome back the public, as are all the events this year. The top seven ranked world riders are expected including Peder Fredricson, the current world number one. Others trying to give the Swede a run for his money will be current winner from 2021, Ben Maher, Martin Fuchs and Daniel Deusser among several other world class riders. This should be a really top class competitive Rolex Grand Slam round.

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