The London International Horse Show Gets Festive
THE LONDON INTERNATIONAL HORSE SHOW DAILY REPORT
The day that Scott Brash soared to a home victory in The Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM, Lorenzo De Luca won The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Santa Stakes and the crowd were on their feet for the Fancy Dress Relay.
The ponies were out in force, with Portia Taylor-Wilson winning The 128cm Mini Stakes and Tabitha Kyle winning The Voltaire Design 148cm Mini Stakes.
DE LUCA NUMERO UNO
The Martin Collins Enterprises Christmas Snowflake Stakes saw seven combinations go through to the jump-off, including four from Great Britain. First to take their chance against the clock was Jodie Hall McAteer, fresh from an exceptional third place in The Longines FEI Jumping World CupTM. With some of the fastest riders in the world to follow, she knew she needed to set a fast pace however accrued four faults, leaving the door ajar for the remainder of the field.
Marcus Ehning, already a winner at The London International Horse Show this year, showed why he is one of the best in the world, setting the target to beat by jumping clear in a time of 33.18, however his lead was short-lived as another former World No. 1, Steve Guerdat, managed to better Ehning’s time by 0.51 seconds.
The lead changed once again, as Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca put on a masterful performance, taking the tightest lines and, with a gallop to the final Martin Collins Enterprises fence, posted a time of 31.51 seconds – over a second ahead of Guerdat. As last to go, Britain’s William Funnell also gave it his best shot but his time was only good enough for fifth.
A delighted de Luca said: “She [Dirka de Blondel] is amazing, every time she goes in the ring she really gives her best. Yesterday I had the last fence down, but she was still the fastest, today she deserves this win in front of this incredible crowd. The atmosphere here in the ExCeL for the London International Horse Show is amazing, thank you to everyone. The riders always look forward to coming to this show so thank you to the amazing crowd – it really is fantastic.”
KYLE ATOMIC IN THE VOLTAIRE DESIGN MINI STAKES
The 148cm ponies took to main arena at ExCeL London for The Voltaire Design Mini Stakes, showcasing the next generation of talent. With 11 combinations starting in the first round only six made it through to the jump-off. Tabitha Kyle, who has dominated the 148cm classes this season, continued her fantastic form to claim the win with the gelding Atomic Du Bary. Her closest competition came from Aimee Paxton, who despite being the only other clear could not match Kyle’s speed.
Tabitha said: “Winning here was absolutely amazing; the atmosphere and the crowd were great. I have come second here before in the 128cm class, but to come here and win this class is incredible – I have to thank my mum, Michael Whitaker who warmed me up, his owners Sue and Gordon Hall and the whole team. My pony actually won this class as a seven-year-old with Allana Clutterbuck in 2017 – he is so enthusiastic and loves to jump.”
Earlier in the day The 128cm Mini Stakes showcased these feisty ponies and their determined riders whose speed and agility round a tricky course made for a hard-fought competition. With only two combinations qualifying for the jump-off, the pressure was on first to go Isabelle James-Wright and her pony Murphy Spartacus. The duo had their foot to the boards to come home in a time of 38.03 seconds, but it was last to go Portia Taylor-Wilson, with the 24-year-old Ballybur Oh Jessie who sped around over a second faster.
Twelve-year-old Portia said: “It is so emotional to win here today – I am so happy, but also very sad because it is Jessie’s [Ballybur Oh Jessie] last show. She is 24-years-old and we have had her for two and a half years – she is the best pony in the world. I was really nervous going into the jump-off but she always tries her best so I believed that we could win. At the double in the jump-off, I took a tighter line than Isabelle [James-Wright] and I think that made the difference.”
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN SAIL TO VICTORY