Boyd Exell continued his winning form yesterday at The London International Horse Show. With a host of feature classes and plenty of fast and furious action, you can find out more on how day 3 unfolded below.
Much to the surprise of John Whitaker, the stalwart of showjumping was awarded the British Equestrian Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award during the afternoon’s performance.
“I was a bit taken aback, I got tricked nobody told me”, laughed John
“It’s nice to be appreciated as long as you don’t think I’m going to start thinking about retiring yet”, he spoke of his award.
…”I’m not retiring yet”, John Reiterated.
You can watch the video interview, courtesy of London International Horse Show, below.
Boyd Exell accelerates to another success
Boyd Exell and his exceptional team of horses continued their unbeaten run at The London International Horse Show, once again demonstrating their harmony and teamwork to win the FEI Driving World Cup presented by Martin Collins Enterprises by Eurofip International. The much anticipated class was the first time Exell has faced close rival, Bram Chardon, in the FEI World Cup series this season. Chardon, who made his indoor seasonal debut at Geneva last weekend, has yet to reach his peak with this year’s team of four-in-hand horses, and was unable to match Exell’s pace and agility, finishing in second ahead of Koos De Ronde in third.
The World No. 1 said: “Koos put the pressure on straight away in the first round, so that made Bram and I want to push more, but it meant a few mistakes occurred. I thought that the door had been left open for Koos to claim some points, but unfortunately it was not meant to be – he was flying to win until he knocked the late balls.” Exell continued: “The London International Horse Show is always one of my favourites and it’s fantastic to win again.”
A tough one to ‘crack’er
The feature Jumping class of the day, The Longines Christmas Cracker was a 1.55m jump-off class, featuring seven of the top ten riders in the world as they vied for a piece of the €51,500 prize fund. Bernard Costa Cabral’s challenging course resulted in only seven combinations making it through to the jump-off against the clock.
First to go, Max Kühner, set the pace jumping clear in a time of 33.97 seconds aboard Up Too Jacco Blue. Gerrit Nieberg (GER), riding Ben – the horse he rode to victory in the coveted Grand Prix of Aachen earlier this year – was faster down to the final vertical to take over the lead, 0.15 seconds quicker than Kühner. Conor Swail put up a good challenge for third, but ultimately could not match Nieberg’s performance.
Nieberg, whose father won The London International Horse Show Grand Prix in 2000, said: “This is my first time at The London International Horse Show, but I will definitely be coming back – it is an amazing feeling to win here, it’s a great Show. My horse was incredible, he is feisty so I have to try and keep him calm, but he always wants to keep the fences up.”
A Snowflake Frenzy
Earlier in the day The Snowflake Stakes was won by Marcus Ehning riding Calanda. The 1.50m class was run over two rounds, with the top 10 from the first round going through to a jump-off. Britain’s Matthew Sampson set the target as first to go in the second round, jumping clear in 34.31 seconds, however his lead was quickly usurped by Belgium’s Jos Verloy. Those who followed came close, with less than a second separating the leaders, however Germany’s Marcus Ehning took it to a new level, posting a clear in a time of 33.10 seconds with just one rider to go. The final rider to take to the arena, Lorenzo de Luca – a notably quick rider – gave it everything to better Ehning’s time, however with four faults at the last fence slipped down to seventh.
The former London International Horse Show Grand Prix winner said: “I was very happy with my round today, all the people cheering me on always gives me huge motivation to push further and get the win. The crowd is amazing, the Show is amazing, they do a great job here and I’m so happy to be here.”
Mini-Major calls in retirement wishes
The GS Equestrian Pony Club Mini-Major was won by Juliana Nelson from Northern Ireland, riding Cumbak Kid alongside Gier Gulliksen riding Equine America Grandino H. The 11-year-old had her foot flat to the boards to post an impressive time of 21.23 seconds, 0.84 faster than Emily Appleby and her partner Guy Williams in second.
Gulliksen said: “I’ve been coming here for 33 years and I can finally retire now I have won the Mini-Major, it’s one everyone wants to win! It’s so great for Juliana, coming all the way from Northern Ireland, she absolutely nailed it as last to go having watched everyone else, it’s fantastic. I was just hoping I wouldn’t let her down by having one down.”
Nelson added: “I got my pony when we were doing the Under 10’s and we used to be quite slow, but we’ve got faster and faster! I’m so happy!”