Bolesworth highlights – Grand Prix win for Rik Hemeryk, double Whitaker, superheros and Porsches

Rik Hemeryck and Ulyss Morinda.jpg

Five days of world class showjumping has come to close, with Belgium's Rik Hemeryk claiming one of his biggest career victories after winning the Equerry Horse Feeds Bolesworth International Grand Prix.

In doing so, he saw off a concerted challenge from nine other combinations that reached the jump-off in pursuit of a £29,500 top prize.

Riding 11-year-old stallion Ulyss Morinda, Rik's jump-off time of 38.33 seconds proved 30 hundredths quicker than American world star Laura Kraut.

There was also an outstanding performance from Ellen Whitaker and Arena UK Winston, who finished as leading British rider in third place.

The grand prix, which carries a £90,000 total prize fund, did not disappoint as 39 starters tackled the challenge posed by course designer Kelvin Bywater.

"I saw the jump-off course, and there were a lot of verticals, and I thought it would suit my horse,"  Rik said. "I went with a lot of canter between the fences and managed to put some pressure on the others.

"I have had the horse since he was seven, and he is really careful. I took my time developing him, and he did a couple of bigger shows last year before having a whole winter's rest. This would be his biggest win.”

For Laura, it was a case of so near, yet so far, but she was thrilled with the display of a 10-year-old mare that excelled amid the pressure of a four-star grand prix.

And for Ellen, who secured Great Britain a team bronze medal at the European Championships 12 years ago alongside her uncles John and Michael Whitaker, it was an outstanding result.

"I am absolutely delighted. We got him as a four-year-old, and it has been an interesting road to this point," Ellen said. "It has taken me a little while to get the hang of managing such a big horse, and he was great today. I’m really excited for the future."

John Whitaker and Argento.jpg

Vintage Whitaker 

John Whitaker turned back the clock and produced a vintage performance to win the John Oates Horseboxes speed class in style on 17-year-old stallion Argento.

The 63-year-old Yorkshireman has collected 19 Olympic, World and European medals during a stellar career that has seen him land major titles all over the world.

John collected a £7,300 top prize, with Keith Shore and Iron Lady Van T Meulenhof continuing their successful show - they won an international class on Thursday - by taking second place and heading off a strong Irish challenge.

"I aimed Argento at that competition this week," John said. "He's 17 now, and I don't do the big grands prix with him any more, and it all went to plan today.

“He has got the experience, and we know each other very well. We have got a combined age of 80!

"It's obviously great to win on home soil, and it is fantastic to have a show like this in the north of England.

"I still enjoy it and I can still do it, so I might as well keep going a bit longer. It gives you confidence when you win a class like that – success breeds success."

Lilla Bremner and Lapislazuli.jpg

Lila makes an impression 

Lila Bremner claimed an outstanding win on her debut at Bolesworth, with an immaculate display in the International Arena to land the Brown Shipley 148cms pony grand prix with Lapislazuli, owned by Lila's mother Tessa. 

Claudia Moore and Shamrock du Gite finished second, with Megan Li and Harry taking third and Francesca Young finishing fourth aboard Carnhill Luna.

"It was quite a tricky course, but he jumped really well," Cotswolds-based Lila said. "He tries so hard for me.

"I got him when he was six, when he had not done much and I had not done much, and we have kind of grown together. It is my first time at Bolesworth, and it is an amazing venue. To win here is incredible."

Sula Von Bulow in action.jpg

Mini Major success for Sula and William

William Fletcher and Sula von Bulow teamed up to win an exciting Childs Farm Invitational Mini Major.

The relay race class – all performed in fancy dress – produced thrill-a-minute action in Bolesworth's International Arena.

And the superhero combination posted an untouchable time of 56.23 seconds, as the rest of a 13-strong field were left standing.

Jay Halim, dressed as a pink unicorn, teamed up with Lorna Breen to finish second in 57.92, while third prize went to William's brother Oliver and Eve McCoy, daughter of multiple champion jockey Sir AP McCoy.

AP McCoy and Oliver Fletcher .jpg

Turbo-charged Porsche ride and drive

Saturday's action at the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show ended in turbo-charged fashion with the Porsche Ride and Drive.

And it was former multiple champion jockey Sir AP McCoy who showcased his skills with a completely different kind of horsepower – behind the wheel of a Porsche Cayenne, thanks to Porsche Centre Chester.

The relay race saw one part of the combination tackle a showjumping course, before dismounting and leaping in the car, which was then driven by the rider's partner.

AP McCoy was partnered with Oliver Fletcher, and their combined time – 73.59 seconds – over fences and then a cone obstacle course for the car driver, proved unbeatable.  

Second place went to rider Daniel Barnes and driver Vincent Byrne, with rider Joss Williams and driver Phil Gray taking third. In a celebrity-packed class, other drivers included television star and impressionist Rory Bremner and BBC television sports presenter Mike Bushell.

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here