Martin Fuchs unbeatable on opening day of London International

Martin fuchs London International Horse Show 2021
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Martin Fuchs unbeatable on opening day of the London International Horse Show

The CSI5* Show Jumping got underway at London International Horse Show yesterday afternoon. The 1.50m Santa Stakes jump-off class, was won by World No. 4, Martin Fuchs, from Switzerland, riding The Sinner. The combination picked up where they left off at the Show, returning to London following their win in the FEI Jumping World Cup in 2019.

Out of a field of 26 horse and rider combinations, a total of 12 made it through for the scintillating jump-off against the clock. Among them were two British riders, Ben Maher on board Faltic HB and stalwart John Whitaker with Unick du Francport.

It was Germany’s Christian Ahlmann riding Solid Gold Z who took an early lead, stopping the clock on 32.95 seconds, setting an impressive target for those who followed. However, Fuchs, full of confidence following victory in the Grand Prix at CHI Geneva last weekend, put on a masterful display to take the lead at the midway point finishing less than a second behind the German on 32.84.

It was a close call at the top, with Max Kühner (AUT) giving his all to put Fuchs’ lead in jeopardy, but his time of 32.93 (a mere 0.09 seconds slower) meant he had to settle for second place, pushing early leader Ahlmann into an eventual third.

Fuchs commented:

This is a perfect start to the London International Horse Show with a win in the big class. The Sinner loves to come to London and really enjoys this Show, when he went in the ring I could feel he wanted to do his best and he loves performing here, and so do I!”

Whitaker’s jump-off round saw him pick up 4 penalties stopping the clock at 36.33 seconds to finish in 11th. Maher too put in his all, however, the pair weren’t quite quick enough finishing on 34.83, settling in fourth.

The Christmas Pudding Speed Stakes

Fuchs’ winning streak continued as he scooped his second victory later in the evening in the 1m45 Christmas Pudding Speed Stakes, riding Tam Tam du Valon.

Drawn fourth of 34 starters, Fuchs laid down the gauntlet in the single round class, making all the turns and keeping his foot on the gas throughout to post a time to beat of 53.34 seconds. Those who followed were unable to match his pace and accuracy.

British rider Guy Williams, notorious for his speed against the clock, put in a valiant effort to post a time of 54.82, finishing fourth, and France’s Olivier Robert also came close with a time of 54.48.

Last to go, Britain’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Champion Ben Maher, riding Ginger Blue had the sell-out crowd on their feet with an explosive gallop to the last, but despite his best efforts, he could only go into second.

Speaking after the class, Fuchs said:

I knew my horse would be very fast, so I thought I would give it go and try to put as much pressure on the rest of riders as possible. It was very tight at the end as Ben was quick but I was happy to stay on top. The atmosphere here is amazing, performing in front a full crowd is so cool and the facilities here are amazing for the horses, I am really enjoying the Show so far.”

It was a strong class for the British riders, with another four riders finishing in the top 12. In tenth place was Laura Renwick and Dominant H, while John Whitaker and Green Grass gracefully finished in seventh. Scott Brash and the stunning Hello Mr President took sixth, while Jack Whitaker and Elucar V.E finished in fifth.

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