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Royal Windsor Horse Show opens with wins for Wathelet and Smith

Saturday, 11 May 2019
CSI5* Royal Windsor Horse Show 2019

Photo © Royal Windsor Horse Show Holly Smith and Fruseli. Photo © Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Great Britain’s Holly Smith scored a memorable victory against some of the world’s best riders as the five-star jumping got underway at Royal Windsor Horse Show on Friday. Sixteen of the world’s top 20-ranked riders entered a beautifully sunny Castle Arena for the CSI5* 1.45m Manama Speed Stakes, the first international showjumping class of the week. The competition saw 24 riders progress to the second phase, with 18 of those completing a double clear to vie for top honours.

One of the last riders into the arena, Holly Smith and her spirited nine-year old chestnut gelding Fruselli (Zambesi x Karandasj) produced a gutsy performance, which saw the duo complete the two-phase course in 26.11 seconds. Smith cleared the final fence with grace and ease, knocking Irish world number 25-ranked rider Bertram Allen into second-place, who completed the course in 26.81 seconds aboard GK Casper (Canto 16 x Quantum). The complicated course, which included some tough tight turns did not prove to be a problem for world number five-ranked rider Martin Fuchs and his grey gelding Silver Shine (Califax x Balou du Rouet), who finished in third place in 27.01 seconds.

After lunch, international showjumpers from 11 nations, including 10 of Great Britain’s leading riders went head-to-head to compete in the CSI5* 1.55m Pearl Stakes. British jumping prodigy Harry Charles and his gelding Borsato (Contendro I x Nijinski) proved to be the best of the Brits. Placed fifth with a final time of 38.06 seconds, 20-year-old Charles was on scintillating form as he cleared the 16 fences with conviction. But in the end, it was Belgian rider Gregory Wathelet and his 10-year old bay gelding Spike vd Withoeve (Sting vd Withoeve x Rival Z) who came out on top taking the competition to another level when navigating the eight-fence jump-off to finish in an unbeatable time of 36.59 seconds. Ireland's Bertram Allen and Izzy by Picobello (Cicero Z x Capriano) finished second in a time of 37.17 while Canada's Eric Lamaze and Chacco-Kid (Chacco-Blue x Come On) were third in 37.58. Fourth place went to France's Kevin Staut on For Joy Van't Zorgvliet HDC (For Pleasure x Heartbreaker). 

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