THE SUN SHINES ON SMITH AT ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW – DAY 3

The top class international competition continued on day three of Royal Windsor Horse Show, with the world’s best show jumpers and carriage drivers in action. Other action included the Inter Schools Show Jumping Competition supported by Mochara, which was won by Seaford College. There was also a presentation to the Best Turned Out Trooper, which was awarded to Prince Ainuson riding Northumberland.

NO CONFUSION FOR FTS KILLOSSERY KONFUSION

The opening CSI5* class of the day, the Falcon Stakes, took the top 10 riders from the first round into a jump-off against the clock. It was left to third to go, Jos Verlooy riding Fts Killossery Konfusion, to set the target with the first double clear in an impressive 39.64 seconds. The Belgian rider pulled off some impressive turns with the 11-year-old grey gelding to put the pressure on those to follow. David Will showed that the time could be beaten, however his four faults meant he was only able to finish fifth. Wilm Vermeir gave it his best shot as last to go, however he was not able to catch his Belgian teammate, posting a time of 39.83 seconds with Linguine de La Pomme to finish in second and make it a Belgian one-two. Steve Guerdat and Dynamix de Belheme took third, with Lorenzo de Luca in fourth.

Speaking after the class Verlooy said: “It is fantastic to win here – it is such an amazing Show, probably one of the best in the world. Fts Killossery Konfusion was great today, he is a naturally fast horse and wants to leave the jumps up, so I feel very lucky to ride him. I am very excited for the Rolex Grand Prix tomorrow – I will ride Luciano van het Geinsteinde who was second in the CSI5* Pearl Stakes yesterday, so I am feeling very confident.”

Later in the day, attention turned to the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for the King’s Cup. The 1.55m course set by Bernardo Costa Cabral proved challenging, with just three combinations progressing through to the jump-off. First into the arena for the second round, Lorenzo de Luca, set the standard with a clear round in the time of 33.63 seconds. Holly Smith, a former winner of this class in 2019, made up time with tight turns throughout and galloping down to the last to take over the pole position aboard Fruselli. Abdel Saïd put in a strong performance to threaten Holly’s lead, but in the end could only manage enough for second place.

A delighted Smith said: “I am elated with Fruselli today – he was incredible, and I am so pleased for his owners Sue and Gordon Hall. I won this class in 2019, on the Hall’s Hearts Destiny, who sadly passed away two years ago, so to win here today on this horse feels extra special. The course rode really well, so I was surprised there were so few clears. In the jump-off, I took risks and really went for it, as the worst I could be was third, but those risks played off! I love it here and the crowd has been amazing – it is such an honour to win on home soil.”

LAND ROVER SERVICES JUMPING

In a stellar year of competition, a fantastic morning of action in Her Majesty The Queen’s Challenge Cup for Services Team Jumping Competition supported by Land Rover set the scene in the Castle Arena.

The Challenge Cup presented by Her Majesty The Queen, awarded to the first placed service team riding United Kingdom Service horses was awarded this year to the Defence Animal Training Regiment A team. The team, consisting of Captain Harry Grantham and Willow Clover Promise, CoH Andrew Mancey with Paardeburg, and WO2 Michael McGrath riding Middleham finished on a team score of 4 penalties after the latter posted a careful clear round in the second phase. The team won clear ahead of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery A Team on 12 penalties.

Of the non-horsed units competing for The Queen’s Plate, the Army 3 team of Captain Amy Lambert and Pirate’s Puzzle, Trooper Dylan Hinton and Ultimate II, and Major Daniel Gregory with Neighbourhood Watch Archie finished on a score of 0 to take the title. Lambert – nominated to ride the second phase – completed the jump-off clear with a time of 57.53 in front of cheering crowds.

The new section introduced for 2022, The Jorrocks Challenge Trophy for international teams, was lifted on its inaugural occasion by the Bahrain Defence Force team of Ahmed Mansoor Ali Maki and Zamzam, Mohamed Saif Alnairi and Consuela Van Verst, and Basel Mohamed Aldoseri on Amalfi. With a time of 43.22, the latter was also presented the prize from The Worshipful Company of saddlers to the highest placed rider in phase two.

MAJESTIC DAY OF SHOWING

Although missing out on a win today, Her Majesty The Queen still had plenty to celebrate when Sunbeam, her home-bred In-Hand Coloured Reserve Champion from Thursday, returned under saddle to stand third in a very strong CHAPS UK ridden class. The delightful five-year-old gelding was ridden by producer Katie Jerram-Hunnable, whose husband Chris led him to Thursday’s win.

Her Majesty collected another rosette when young rider Libby Grota partnered the prolific-winning Highland stallion Balmoral Mandarin to stand third in an extremely strong BSPS Ridden Large Breeds Native class supported by Smart Grooming.

Chris Hunnable partnered another of The Queen’s homebred stars, the ex-racehorse First Receiver to be third in the Tattersalls RoR In-Hand Show Series Qualifier, following his second place in the ridden equivalent on Thursday.

The prestigious Royal Windsor Show Pony Championship went to Harpenden-based Poppy Baxter-Davies who delivered a great performance on the 128cm winner, Roxair’s Aphrodite (pictured).

The Show’s Chief Showing Steward, Sebastian Garner, was able to witness his niece, India Till, repeat last year’s Novice Show Pony victory with the lovely 148cm winner, Rotherwood Fancy That, who is only five-years-old and relatively inexperienced, but performed like a seasoned campaigner.

EXCITEMENT BUILDS IN THE INTERNATIONAL DRIVING

The top 15 four-in-hand drivers in the world drove true to form over Jeroen Houterman’s open and flowing, yet questioning, marathon course. All the drivers chose to follow different routes and show their skills to the large and appreciative crowd which had gathered round the eight beautifully designed obstacles.

Germany’s marathon specialist Michael Brauchle put in a brilliant and consistent performance to lead the Marathon and go up one place overnight to sixth. Dressage leader, Boyd Exell, had a few costly knock-down balls and although he only finished fifth on the Marathon, retains his lead after the dressage. Chester Webber drove his up-and-coming team of horses smoothly to go from fourth to second place, having flown them in from the USA on Wednesday. The heat suited the team who are used to the Florida temperatures and they performed to their best.

The two Belgian drivers Glen Geerts and Dries Degrieck are neck and neck after the two phases, and lying in third and fourth place respectively, with less than a point separating them. Top lady driver Mareike Harm drove an elegant round and, although not quite as fast on the clock, sits in fifth. Speaking after her round, the German driver said: “We really enjoy being here at Windsor. It was fantastic yesterday in the dressage and I was so happy to be third. The marathon was brilliant and I’m very happy.”

The three British drivers accrued penalty points for corrected errors of course. British driver Karen Basset said: “I’ve had a great time and it was a great learning curve but I felt I let them down today as I went sailing past Gate A in the last obstacle before I corrected my course! My horses gave me everything.”

Andrew Counsell, Director of Driving said: “A lot of work was put into the eight obstacles and we felt that they really flowed. They didn’t cause the horses difficulty and there were both tight turns and flowing routes. There was some really good driving which is what Jeroen and I planned ahead of the event. We really appreciate having the world’s top drivers here in this wonderful setting.”