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Home win for Lily Attwood and Cor-Leon vd Vlierbeek Z in The Pearl Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Friday, 12 May 2023
CSI5* Royal Windsor Horse Show 2023

Photo @ Royal Windsor Horse Show/Peter Nixon Lily Attwood and Cor-Leon vd Vlierbeek Z, winners of The Pearl Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show. Photo @ Royal Windsor Horse Show/Peter Nixon.


Edited press release from Royal Windsor Horse Show 



Great Britain's rising star Lily Attwood and Cor-Leon vd Vlierbeek Z (Calvaro F.C. x Omar) took a home win in Friday's CSI5* 1.55m The Pearl Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show.

The first round proved difficult, with the only clear before the break coming from 21-year-old Attwood. Attwood, who has had an extremely successful youth career, showed skill and agility around the challenging course with the 13-year-old gelding Cor-Leon vd Vlierbeek Z. France’s Olivier Perreau and GL Events Dorai d'Aiguilly (Kannan x Toulon) then also executed a foot-perfect round to secure a  jump-off. Disappointment came for numerous combinations, who after jumping clear over the fences gained time penalties; this included two members of Britain's FEI World Championship bronze medal winning team – Ben Maher and Joseph Stockdale. Fourth last to go, Portugal’s Duarte Seabra and Dourados 2 (Diarado x Cornet Obolensky) joined the exclusive group of clears, as did Belgium’s Koen Vereecke and Lector vd Bisschop (Bamako de Muze x For Pleasure) as well as Germany's Jana Wargers with her trusted partner Limbridge (Guardus Limbus x Cambridge 8). 

Wargers took the decision not to contest the second round, therefore with only four combinations jumping, it was all to play for. Lily Attwood went in first, with a stylish and fast clear round to set the time to beat of 34.54 seconds, adding pressure to the following riders. Olivier Perreau and Koen Vereecke both followed suit with classy clears but could not match the time set by Attwood, with Duarte Seabra picking up four faults. Attwood consequently secured the pinnacle jumping class of the day and etched her name into the Royal Windsor Horse Show history books, followed by Perreau in second and Vereecke in third.

Attwood exclaimed: “I’m absolutely delighted, to be at your home show and have a win on the first day is such a great feeling. This is my first 5* win – it’s a great place to do it and definitely up there with one of the best wins of my career. My horse tries his best every single time – it is only his third show back in six months, I am delighted with him.”

Photo @ Royal Windsor Horse Show/Peter Nixon Victor Bettendorf and Big Star des Forets, winners of The Defender Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show. Photo @ Royal Windsor Horse Show/Peter Nixon.

Earlier in the day, 32 of the world’s best horse-and-rider combinations tackled Bernardo Costa Cabral’s masterfully designed course in the CSI5* Defender Stakes. Held as a two-phase competition at 1.45m, riders had to ensure a clear round over the first eight fences to continue on to the later half of the course against the clock. 

Third to go was Ben Maher riding Explosion W (Chacco-Blue x Baloubet du Rouet), the combination who won individual gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Maher, who missed the early part of the season due to injury, showed no sign of lack of competition practice to produce a brilliant round with the stunning chestnut gelding to set an early standard of 37.81 seconds. His lead, however, was quickly usurped by the next combination into the arena, France’s Olivier Perreau and GL Event Venizia d’Aiguilly (Diamant de Semilly x Quick Star). 

With 18 double clears in total, the leaderboard was in constant flux, with some of the most exciting up-and-coming young riders including Joseph Stockdale, Harry Charles, and Jodie Hall McAteer making it through to the second round. British legend John Whitaker once again proved that he is still one to beat when he took the lead aboard his chestnut stallion Green Grass (Luidam x breeding unknown). However, it was Royal Windsor Horse Show first-timers Victor Bettendorf and Big Star des Forets (Untouchable M x Voltaire) who claimed the top spot with an electric round in the time of 26.65 seconds. The rider from Luxembourg was closely followed in second by Britain's Matthew Sampson and MGH Candy Girl (Sligo Candy Boy x Cruising), with Portugal's Duarte Seabra in third aboard HHS Washington (Tinaranas Inspector x Cavalier Royale).

Speaking on his win, Bettendorf stated: “It is my first time here. It’s an unbelievable show because you really feel the soul of the crowd, they know the horses, and for us riders it’s great to be in front of spectators that know about our sport. My horse is very competitive – she is extremely fast and careful. I am very excited about her future.”

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