World’s top equestrian stars heading to Royal Windsor Horse Show as part of final Olympic preparations

Royal Windsor will welcome the world’s best equestrian athletes, including 6 of the top 10 Show Jumping riders and internationally renowned Driving champions.

The CSI5* Show Jumping, which culminates in the prestigious Rolex Grand Prix, is once again set to feature the top horse and rider combinations in the world, as they make their final preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games just three weeks later. This will be the last time that the British Olympic Show Jumping team horses will be seen in the UK before Tokyo.

Leading the way will be reigning Rolex Grand Prix champion, Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), as he seeks to retain his title, however former winners Steve Guerdat (SUI) and Kent Farrington (USA) – currently ranked at world No. 2 and No. 5 respectively – also know what it takes to clinch victory at this iconic event and will be hot on his heels. Henrik will be joined by fellow Swede and world No. 7, Peder Fredricson.

Home favourites Ben Maher, Scott Brash and the legendary John Whitaker will lead the charge for the British contingent. Confidence will be high within Maher’s camp as the world No. 4 will come to Windsor fresh from an outstanding CSI5* Grand Prix victory in Valkenswaard earlier this month aboard his outstanding gelding, Explosion W.

Brash, currently ranked No. 6 in the world, will be riding high following excellent results in St Gallen last weekend, which included finishing a close second in the Grand Prix. The British former world No. 1, said: “Royal Windsor is one of my favourite shows of the year, it’s an amazing setting with top-class competition, and to have the support of the home crowd, especially after a year without fans at events, is going to be very special indeed.”

Also returning to the private grounds of Windsor Castle will be world No. 3 and reigning European Champion Martin Fuchs (SUI), with the USA’s McLain Ward, currently ranked No. 9, the sixth top 10 rider set to compete. Compatriot Jessica Springsteen is sure to capture the attention of the sell-out crowd. The daughter of rock legend Bruce Springsteen is a former winner at Royal Windsor and returns to the Show in top form.

Daniel Coyle will be joined by fellow countrymen Billy Twomey, Shane Breen and Michael Duffy as the Irish look to out master their rivals over the testing courses set by world‐renowned course designer Bernardo Costa Cabral. Adding further international experience to the CSI5* competition will be Lorenzo de Luca (ITA), Daniel Bluman (ISR) and the American Olympic champion and world No. 11, Beezie Madden.

The CAIO4* Driving promises equally high-level competition, with world No. 1, Boyd Exell (AUS) the man to beat. The five-time World Four-in-Hand Champion and nine-time FEI World CupTM Driving Champion, who is based in the Netherlands, spent lockdown creating new obstacles on his marathon course in Valkenswaard, so will come to Windsor well prepared.

Belgium will also be sending a strong team of in-form Drivers, with Dries Degriek and Glen Geerts first and second respectively in the recent World Cup qualifier at Saumur. They will be joined by the youngest competitor in the field, Sam Gees, in his first international season.

From the Netherlands will be multiple World Champion Ijsbrand Chardon, who will be facing up against his son Bram, alongside Koos De Ronde and Hans Heus.

Home favourite, Dan Naprous, will be sure to bring some excitement to the action. The international star, who is famed for his stunt driving will be brining two of the horses currently starring in the Lloyds Bank TV advert. Karen Bassett, part of the British team at eight World Four-in-Hand Carriage Driving Championships will be looking to make an impression in front of the home crowd, as will compatriot Mark Carruthers.

Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward, said: “To have such a high calibre of equestrian athletes competing at Royal Windsor this year is testament to the Show’s status as one of the best in the world. With the Olympics just around the corner, we will be seeing the horses and riders in peak condition and we can’t wait to watch the action unfold.”