Sunshine welcome for return of international jumping at Royal Windsor
By Your Horse
13 May 2008 11:47
Brilliant sunshine and record temperatures set the seal on a glorious Royal Windsor Horse Show 2008 with huge crowds enjoying five days of superb competition.
The traditional start to the outdoor show season was given a boost this year with the return of international show jumping after 10 years. Fourteen senior British riders lined up against competitors from eight countries ‑ Ireland, France, Spain, Russia, Sweden, Jordan, Argentina and Portugal.
The international action began on Thursday and concluded on Sunday with a dramatic Royal Windsor Grand Prix being won by Michael Whitaker, Britain’s leading world ranked rider who partnered Amai to victory at the horse’s first three star FEI Grand Prix. William Funnell took second place with Cortaflex Billy Birr with Duncan Inglis and Sunkist in third.
Michael Whitaker said: “It has been a great show. The organisation has been good and the footing is superb. It is good to have another international show in this country.”
Edge of seat action in the Pimms-sponsored International Six Bar competition was one of the highlights of a packed Saturday programme with Peter Charles and Murkas Pom d'Ami scoring the only third round clear with the last fence set at just under 2m. The Accenture-sponsored Young Rider classes generated huge interest as the final selection trial for the European Championship team and culminated on Sunday with the Grand Prix which was won by Nicole Pavitt with Maestro De Rend Peine.
Show jumper Mark Armstrong was among riders welcoming the return of international jumping to Windsor. “We are lucky to have this surface to jump on. It’s a show to be proud of. I’d rather be here than in La Baule.”
The international jumping followed 12 hours of National Jumping classes on the first day of the show. There was a truly international flavour in the Land Rover International Driving Grand Prix with a top level international competition being won by Australia’s Boyd Exell. With the Dutch drivers competing in Holland, there was the opportunity for other leading drivers to pick up world cup qualification. This paid dividends for Benjamin Allaud of France who took first place in the marathon. Legendary British driver George Bowman and leading British women drivers, sisters Pippa and Karen Bassett were also in action as visitors soaked up one of Royal Windsor’s most exciting spectacles.
Onlookers lined the Copper Horse Arena on Sunday to watch as HRH The Duke of Edinburgh with HM The Queen’s Fell ponies led a concours d’elegance by the British Driving Society.
Show rings were packed throughout with record entries in some classes. One of the highlights from the showing classes came on the opening day as, with HM The Queen watching from the ringside, her homebred riding horse Petition and Katie Jerram took the riding horse championship. By Petoski, the six-year-old gelding was second as a novice at Royal Windsor in 2007. HM The Queen’s Highland filly Balmoral Bluebell stood reserve in the Land Rover Mountain and Moorland In-Hand Championship. Meanwhile, there was a record third win in three years for Carol Bardo’s Silverstream II who headed the heavyweight hunter section.