Germany’s Daniel Deusser (pictured) continued his stellar Royal Windsor Horse Show form to take the pinnacle of the day’s competition, The CSI5* Kingdom of Bahrain stakes for the King’s Cup, with Britain’s Guy Williams taking the evening’s Falcon Stakes, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Kent: ‘I was training three times a day’
In the Kingdom of Bahrain stakes for the King’s Cup at Royal Windsor in the UK, the prolific American rider Kent Farrington made it onto the podium in a remarkable come-back. He finished third and scooped a tidy E9300 in prize-money for his troubles aboard the 11-year-old Dutch gelding Creedance, by Lord Z.
The class was won by the in-form Daniel on Equita Van T Zorgvliet, a 14-year-old daughter of Cassini I. Robert Whitaker finished second on home soil riding the 15-year-old Catwalk IV.
Kent, who has won the grand prix at Windsor for the past two years running, said: “The first time I came to Windsor was two years ago and I won the grand prix and got to meet the queen. That was a great weekend, so after that I said I’d always come back here.”
Kent is riding at his first show since he broke his leg 12 weeks ago while competing in Florida and has been back riding for about three weeks.
“I was training probably three times a day almost every day, everything from weight exercises to balance, building up to working in water and swimming and running. I don’t know what to expect form my first show back, but I won’t fail from lack of effort anyway,” he said.
Bob Ellis and Kelvin Bywater’s 1.55m course posed several challenges in the first round, with a difficult line of two doubles catching several combinations out early on and a particularly spooky swan-themed fence causing a few problems too. 10 of the 30 starters jumped clear to make it through to the jump-off, which featured many of the world’s best riders.
First to go in the jump-off was the class winner from two years ago, Laura Kraut (USA), riding Catwalk 22, who jumped immaculately to set the standard with a clear round in a time of 38.99. Canada’s Tiffany Foster took over the pole position as fourth to go with a particularly tight turn to fence eight, the swans, to shave 1.87 seconds off Laura’s time, however her lead was short-lived as Britain’s Robert Whitaker rode an immaculate round, turning especially tight to the double down the final line to take over the top spot.
With two former world number one riders still to come, Robert’s lead was never secure, and Kent came closest, with his nimble chestnut gelding Creedance covering the ground quickly, but 0.03 seconds slower. As last to go, Daniel Deusser — riding his winning mount from yesterday, Equita Van T Zorgvliet — retained his top form, making all the turns and striding forward between the fences to post an exceptional time of 35.51 seconds and take the victory. He was presented with the winner’s trophy by Her Majesty The Queen.
“It’s turning out to be a good show for me this week, I’m wondering why I haven’t been here before!” said Daniel, who has been jumping on the Global Champions Tour. “I managed to make a couple of really tight turns, so I thought I was quick, but I knew Robert’s horse was big striding, so I couldn’t relax. The win is extra special as I met the Queen, which is a great honour.”
Speedsters to the fore
The highlight of the evening performance, the CSI5* Falcon Stakes provided top class entertainment with the world’s best riders back in action. Speed was a major factor from the start, with only 10 places available in the jump-off, it was only the fastest of the 16 clear rounds from the first round that made it through. The top 10 then returned in reverse order, with the advantage falling to USA’s Laura Kraut as the fastest clear in round one to be the last to go in the jump-off.
Qualifying in tenth position, Italy’s Emanuele Gaudiano was first to tackle the shortened jump-off course and put the pressure on from start, with his foot flat to the floor throughout and smooth tight turns posting a clear round in 35.75 seconds. Britain’s Scott Brash followed him into the arena and immediately took over the lead with an incredibly slick round, saving time with the tightest of turns, to record a time of 35.40.
The lead changed several times before the end; first it was Steve Guerdat from Switzerland, who flew straight out of the gate, making up time across the ground to overtake Brash, with William Funnell (GBR) coming close too, but it was Britain’s Guy Williams as the penultimate to go, who took the victory. Riding the 13-year-old stallion Rouge De Ravel, Guy kept up the pace throughout and pulled off an exceptional turn to the Hermès vertical at the far end to make up 0.36 seconds on Guerdat.
Guy praised his horse following his victory, saying: “He’s a really good horse and I know he’s fast, so with a good draw, I knew I was in with a chance. It’s always good to win on home soil and the crowd here tonight were fantastic, so it’s been a great night.”
Detailed times of H&C Royal Windsor 2018 coverage:
Grand prix freestyle dressage Saturday May 19 at 7pm Eastern
Bahrain King’s Cup jumping Saturday May 19 at 8pm Eastern
Rolex grand prix jumping Sunday May 20 at 7pm Eastern
Bahrain Pearl Stakes jumping on Tuesday May 22 at 8pm Eastern