ROYAL WINDSOR HORSE SHOW 2016 ROUND-UP
The promotion to 4* status had a magnificent effect on this year’s Royal Windsor Horse Show which took place from Thursday 12th to Sunday 15th May.
The upgraded status of the show attracted some of the world’s top riders and the competition was fierce across all disciplines, providing a fantastic spectacle for the thousands of visitors attending over the four days.
Despite the cancellation of ‘Windsor Wednesday’ due to incessant rain and flooding, the resilient British public turned out in force for the remaining days and ticket sales were up by 20% day on day compared to previous years.
Spectators enjoyed world-class equestrian sport and fabulous international entertainment in the stunning grounds of Windsor Castle – the only time of the year that HM The Queen opens up the private grounds to the public.
There was a real international feel to the event this year, with international competitions in Show Jumping, Driving and Endurance as well as spectacular displays from acts from around the world including the Canadian Mounted Police, The Chilean Huasos and the Dancers and Karabakh horses and dancers from Azerbaijan, all of which were taking part in The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration, which took place on each evening of the event.
Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward said: “This year’s event was very special. Not only did we have the upgraded status of the show to 4* level, thus attracting some of the world’s top equestrian athletes, but there was a celebratory feel to the whole event with The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations in the evening.”
Kent Farrington receiving his trophy for the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup from HM The Queen and Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, The King of Bahrain
No fewer than five Olympic gold medallists were amongst the entries of the newly upgraded CSI 4* International Show Jumping classes at Royal Windsor Horse Show to kick start a summer where all eyes lead to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
It was World No. 6 Kent Farrington who stole the show, taking the two feature events of the weekend, the Grand Prix for the Kingdom of Bahrain Trophy, as well as the Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes for The King’s Cup. Riding the speedy Creedance (pictured top), the American visitor was on flying form taking both classes by over a second from second place riders John Whitaker and Tiffany Foster respectively.
The Rolex Testimonee, who was competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show for the first time, was thrilled with the results, which saw him presented with The King’s Cup by The Queen; “What more can I ask for. I’ve never been here before, so we’re off to a great start and with this being The Queen’s Birthday Celebration too, it’s a great moment.”
Despite the international fields, with riders from 13 countries taking part in the 4* competitions, the opening day of the Show was dominated by Great Britain. Robert Whitaker and Catwalk IV returned to the scene of their 2015 Grand Prix victory to win the Bahrain Pearl Stakes and Guy Williams took the Manama Speed Stakes aboard chestnut gelding Casper De Muze.
In other action, there was a scintillating win for Britain’s leading lady rider, Laura Renwick, who was victorious in The Falcon Stakes riding Heliodor Hybris and France’s Adeline Hecart, who returned after a successful 2015 Royal Windsor Horse Show, to take the Palm Accumulator.
“It is my favourite show in the world,” she said. “Last year, the atmosphere was amazing and the people who come here are so knowledgeable and appreciative of horses. But this year you can really feel that there is something more and sense how much people love The Queen and want to celebrate her birthday.”
Guy Williams riding Casper De Muze to victory in the Manama Speed Stakes
Boyd Exell, winner of the Land Rover International Grand Prix with his team of four horses
With his magnificent four-in-hand warmbloods, reigning World Champion, Boyd Exell from Australia, drove to victory in the final phase of the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix, reclaiming the win that has been his six times previously.
“We’ve been second for the last two years,” smiled a relieved Exell. “I lost it in the cones last year and I really did not want to do that again.” He added, “I’ve been trying out new combinations of horses in recent years but these ones have really gone well for me.”
Exell was in first place going into the final day, but the pressure did not get to him as he drove a sure and clean double clear to take his seventh Royal Windsor win.
Pony four-in-hands provided an even more nail-biting finale with Jan de Boer and his Welsh Section As claiming victory at Royal Windsor for the sixth time, with Germany’s Michael Bugener and Vilmos Jambor Jr, both competing for the first time here, taking second and third.
In the Nations Cup competition, the Netherlands - Ijsbrand Chardon, Koos de Ronde and Theo Timmerman - never looked like relinquishing the first place they held since the first day. Germany - Rainer Duen, Marieke Harm and Christoph Sandmann - too, retained their second position throughout but Belgium - Dries Degrieck and Edouard Simonet - overtook the Australian team for third place on the final day.
The Queen watches on as Katie Jerram and Barber’s Shop take the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Horse Championship
Royal Windsor Horse Show is seen as the early season mecca of showing and this year saw riders of all ages share the limelight.
Fittingly at a Show that was celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, The Queen had a particularly successful few days. For the second year running, her homebred Barber’s Shop, ridden by Katie Jerram, landed the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Horse Championship on Thursday whereas black Fell mare Murthwaite Dawn Chorus delighted her owner by winning her class and then going on to stand reserve supreme in-hand mountain and moorland champion on Friday.
In ridden ranks on Friday, Clare Twiston-Davies’s reigning Horse of the Year Show cob champion Randalstown Musketeer took his first Royal Windsor title for Wales based producer Vicky Hesford.
Britain’s glorious native breeds took centre stage on Saturday, with the top spot going to Newbury based Hannah Horton with Lady Huntingdon’s stunning Connemara Slieve Bloom Jill with her first Royal Windsor native title. Elsewhere, the prestigious show pony title went to Yorkshire based combination Georgina Holmes and her 148cm winner Wilderness Early Bird.
One of the most popular winners in the working hunter pony division on Sunday was the 18-year old 143cm grey gelding Carnsdale Casper, owned by the Beaconsfield based Wrennall family, ridden by twelve-year-old Katie Wrennall. Another game veteran of the pony ranks, 16-year old CJs Tonto, accounted for the 133cm division, but the section title went to Sophie Lawes and her 135cm bay mare Carnsdale Vanity Fair.
Winning rider Saif Ahmed Al Mozroui rides Ramaah to the finish line (left) with SH Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum
Saif Ahmed Al Mozroui of the UAE triumphed at Royal Windsor Endurance kindly supported by the Kingdom of Bahrain. Riding Ramaah he finished in a time of 04:41:27, almost six minutes clear of the second placed rider, Mohammed Adbulsamad from Bahrain on Derrom Galiem who was just one second ahead of third placed Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum on Intisaar, also from the UAE.
Ramaah’s trainer, Ismael Mohammed, said: “It is a really good result for the UAE, starting off the summer season with this win. We came here with good horses and we were hoping for this result."
Now in its fourth year, a field of 52 competitors from a record thirteen nations set off into Windsor Great Park to complete four loops, and a total distance of 120km. The course included the home straight of Ascot Racecourse on loop one, and a number of picturesque landmarks and backdrops throughout. Despite the recent torrential rain, conditions out on the course were excellent and the average speed of Al Mozroui was a brisk 25.6 kilometres per hour.
Royal Windsor Endurance Director, Michael Shephard said: “We are very pleased to have hosted another successful ride in this beautiful setting, and delighted to have had more countries than ever on the start line. The weather was very kind to us and the competition as fierce as ever."