The final day of The London International Horse Show featured some of the world’s best equestrian athletes, including seven of the top ten show jumpers in action.
With the Turkish Airlines London Grand Prix, with a whopping prize fund of €125,000 up for grabs, The Markel Jockeys Jumping in aid of The Injured Jockeys Fund, The Mistletoe Stakes AND The LeMieux Six Bar, there was certainly no shortage of action to conclude this five-day spectacular.
Home win for Sampson
The 2022 London International Horse Show drew to a close with The Turkish Airlines London Grand Prix. The 1.60m competition produced a series of spell-binding performances as the riders vied for a share of the €125,000 prize fund. Bernardo Costa Cabral’s challenging course proved to be a tough test of agility and precision, with only four of the 31 starters going through to the jump-off.
Great Britain’s Matthew Sampson, who has taken the North American circuit by storm over the last few months, produced a faultless round in front of the delighted home crowd, posting a time to beat of 31.88 seconds. Sweden’s Angelie von Essen and Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca both accrued four faults trying to beat Sampson’s time, leaving Denis Lynch as the only remaining rider to go. The Irish rider, who has won some of the biggest classes in the world, was riding the eight-year-old Dark Chocolate in the horse’s first ever 5* Grand Prix, however, Sampson’s round proved too difficult to match, with Lynch finishing on eight faults.
A delighted Sampson said: “It’s absolutely incredible, honestly I can’t believe it. It’s a dream come true. It’s special for my owners, the Evison family too. They’ve had Ebolensky from a foal and I’ve ridden her since she was seven. She grew up in England and has been in England for most of her career, so to win this class is absolutely amazing.”
The 32-year-old continued: “You see all the best riders from around the world here: for us, especially being British, it’s the best place there is. Competing here is what we dream of when we’re growing up and to actually win is unbelievable.”
Let’s hear it for the boys
The country’s best flat and National Hunt jockeys took centre stage at the London International Horse Show for The Markel Jockeys Jumping in aid of The Injured Jockeys Fund. The girls versus boys team format saw the likes of record-breaking flat jockey Rachael Blackmore go head-to-head with 20-time champion National Hunt jockey Sir Anthony McCoy. It was a competitive affair, with the four best scores from the five-man teams counting towards the final result.
The girls put up a strong challenge but were unable to defeat the boy’s team, which comprised some of the fastest riders in the world, including champion jockeys Jim Crowley, Brian Hughes and Harry Skelton. Crowley took the individual title, posting a final time of 24.29 seconds, leaving McCoy frustrated in second.
The stakes were high
The highlight of the Afternoon Performance came from The Mistletoe Stakes. With 24 of the world’s best horse and riders in the field, the class was held over one round with the fastest clear set to take home the spoils. The first clear came from second to go, Max Kühner, who, with EIC Julius Caesar, set the pace for the others to follow. Next to go was the victor of Saturday’s Snowflake Stakes, Marcus Ehning, who had a foot-perfect round but could not quite match the time of Kühner.
Britain’s Jodie Hall McAteer continued her sensational form to produce a clear in the time of 58.80 seconds – over 10 seconds faster than the leader at the time. With the pressure now on the rest of the riders, mistakes came from some of the most decorated athletes in the sport including Shane Breen, John Whitaker and Kevin Staut.
It was France’s Julien Epaillard, winner of over 70 international classes this year, who flew around the Bernardo Costa Cabral designed course to come home nearly a second faster than Hall McAteer. Germany’s Daniel Deusser and Gerrit Nieberg, victors of some of the most prestigious Grand Prix this year both tried to catch Epaillard’s time but were unsuccessful. Last to go was Joseph Stockdale, who bought forward the striking bay Bingo du Chateau and sped around the course to come home 0.05 seconds faster than the Frenchman – but heartbreak came for the young Brit when the last fence fell.
The World No.3 said: “It is incredible to win here – the atmosphere is incredible and the spectators have been amazing. My horse was fantastic – I have had a great year, and this is a great way to be finishing up.”
London first timer wins another feature class
Earlier in the day, The LeMieux Six Bar was won by Joseph Trunkfield, riding Cruze to his second victory of the week, having already finished joint first in The LeMieux Puissance. Trunkfield and his striking 11-year-old grey were the only combination to successfully negotiate four rounds clear, with Nathan Bull and Moonstern Jx accruing four faults in the fourth round to finish second.
Trunkfield said: “The show atmosphere is amazing – all the riders always look forward to coming here, so thank you to everyone, you guys are wonderful! Winning in front of this crowd is unbelievable – this is the first time I’ve been able to compete at the London International Horse Show, so I’m very proud.”
For more information on London International Horse Show, visit the website here.