World of Showjumping
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Matthew Sampson and MGH Candy Girl steal the spotlight at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Sunday, 05 May 2024
CSI5* Royal Windsor Horse Show 2024

Photo @ RoyalWindsorHorseShow/Peter Nixon. Matthew Sampson and MGH Candy Girl won Saturday's CSI5* Defender Challenge Stakes at Royal Windsor Horse Show. Photo © Royal Windsor Horse Show/Peter Nixon.


Edited press release from Royal Windsor Horse Show



The second day of international showjumping at Royal Windsor Horse Show got underway with 26 starters tackling Bernardo Costa Cabral’s technical 1.50m course in the CSI5* Defender Challenge Stakes.

The competition consisted of two rounds, with the top ten going through to the jump-off. The first round proved difficult to master with only four horse-and-rider combinations going clear inside the time, meaning those with time penalties or a quick four faults also proceeded forward to jump the shortened course. 

Going in reverse order of merit from the first round, it was Harry Charles (GBR) and the incredibly talented nine-year-old Bandit (Obos Quality 004 x Cruisings Micky Finn) — who was making his 5* debut — that were first into the sunshine-bathed Castle Arena. With results from the first round being carried forward to the jump-off, Charles came into the second round with four faults. The young British rider, who has become a stalwart of the British championship teams, produced a quick clear round in a time of 33.38 seconds to put the pressure on the remaining competitors. 

Charles’ round looked hard to beat, but it was Max Kühner (AUT) who only accrued one time penalty in the preceding round that produced a smooth clear round with EIC Julius Caesar (Couleur Rubin x Cancara) to take the lead. Next into the arena was the first of those who were faultless in the first round, Laura Kraut (USA) riding Calgary Tame (Old Chap Tame x Kashmir van't Schuttershof). The American once again proved herself to be one of the best riders in the world with a classy clear in a time of 33.70 seconds. Only the second to last to go, Matthew Sampson (GBR) and MGH Candy Girl (Sligo Candy Boy x Cruising), could keep the hope of the British crowd alive — and he did just that, shaving just 0.04 seconds off Kraut’s time. Last into the ring, the Dutch rider Harrie Smolders and Monaco N.O.P. (Cassini II x Contender) could not match the speed set by Sampson, leaving the Brit to take the spoils. 

Speaking on his win, Sampson exclaimed: “I am delighted with this win! MGH Candy Girl is great and she has a super character. She is only about 15.2hh, and so the jumps are nearly as big as her - she was incredible today. It is amazing to compete here, with this background and fans - it is what we all dream of, and now I am winning here – it is unbelievable.”


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