ROYAL WINNER AT ROYAL WINDSOR ENDURANCE
Royal Windsor Endurance, kindly supported by The Kingdom of Bahrain provided another memorable day of sport. Bahrain itself celebrated a win in the CEI2* with HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, riding Vipper De Luriecq coming in first in a time of 05:04:48.
Portugal took top honours in the CEI1*; Rui Pereira rode a sublime three laps on Bloodie Mary finishing in 03:33:13. Twenty British horses completed the 40Km GER.
HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to ride in Windsor Great Park today and to be able to shake hands with her Majesty the Queen. What a pleasure! Aside from winning, to come here and raise my flag and perform. I’ve now won three out of six races here so I’m at 50%!”
This was the sixth Royal Windsor Endurance event, and for the second year running a CEI1* 80Km and a national 40Km graded endurance ride ran alongside the regular CEI2* 120Km. A record 125 horses from 18 nations set off in near perfect conditions to take on the challenging tracks of Windsor Great Park, and the FEI classes started with a dash along the iconic home straight of Ascot Racecourse.
Great British riders were out in force today, and 68 were entered across the three classes. One notable success was Carri Ann Dark from Wiltshire, who finished a brilliant third in the CEI1* on former Team GB Gelding, HS Drift.
“I came because I love riding here at Windsor and I had absolutely no expectation of doing so well. He led for a while on the second loop but always presents slowly and we set out for the final loop on our own and I hardly saw anyone out there. I was glancing at the statues around the Park (and I’d even filmed us riding through Ascot Racecourse first thing!) I am absolutely delighted with our result and can’t believe I’m going to be in the Castle Arena at Royal Windsor Horse Show tomorrow for the presentation!” said Dark.
Royal Windsor Endurance Director, Nick Brooks-Ward, said: “It has been a very special day for Royal Windsor Endurance with World Champion bronze medallist HH Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa winning the CEI2* and Carri Ann Dark doing so well in the CEI1*. It was a special day for Great Britain all round with so many starters and great results in the CEI1*. The rider feedback I get is that it’s a thrill to ride in Windsor Great Park and we were delighted to welcome 18 nations here today.”
Endurance GB Chairman, Nikki Thorne, said: “I’d like to thank the sponsors, the Kingdom of Bahrain and the organisers, HPower for its on-going sponsorship of EGB. We really enjoy hosting overseas riders at British events and it was super to see the home competitors doing so well in such an international field and in particular placing third to sixth in the CEI1*. Well done to those of us that finished the CEI2* although we were a little late! It was a challenging and true ‘endurance’ course today, but really well ridden with good horse welfare in testing conditions. The cool, breezy weather in the vet gate made it hard to recover horses and the fact there were no equine injuries is a true testament to all the riders that finished.”
Thorne continued: “For me personally it was a poignant day as it was Crazy Girl’s last FEI event and it was so very special to bring her here to ride in Windsor Great Park before retiring.”
President of the Veterinary Commission, Hannah Kelly, said: “We had an experienced Veterinary Commission today who were really consistent in their approach to assuring that the welfare of the horse was paramount. In doing so we delivered a successful ride with superb performances by winning horses, riders and crews. The blustery conditions were challenging but I am pleased to report that all horses are fine and fit to travel home today.”
Presentations will take place at the Royal Windsor Horse Show tomorrow.