CSI 5*

Victor Bettendorf Can’t Be Beaten in the Defender Stakes CSI 5* at Royal Windsor Horse Show

Windsor, England – May 12, 2023 – Day Three of Royal Windsor Horse Show continued with an action-packed schedule. Showing classes continued with multiple Championships taking place, the International Show Jumping commenced with two CSI 5* classes.

International Show Jumping got underway with the €15,000 Defender Stakes CSI 5*, where 32 of the world’s best horse and rider combinations tackled Bernardo Costa Cabral’s (POR) masterfully designed course. Held as a two-phase competition at 1.45m, riders had to ensure a clear round over the first eight fences to continue on to the later half of the course against the clock. 

Third to go was Ben Maher (GBR) riding Explosion W, the combination who won individual gold at the Tokyo Olympics. Maher, who missed the early part of the season due to injury, showed no sign of lack of competition practice to produce a brilliant round with the stunning chestnut gelding to set an early standard of 37.81 seconds. His lead, however, was quickly usurped by the next combination into the arena, France’s Olivier Perreau (FRA) and GI Event Venizia d’Aiguilly. 

With 18 double clears in total, the leaderboard was in constant flux, with some of the most exciting up-and-coming young riders including Joseph Stockdale (GBR), Harry Charles (GBR), and Jodie Hall McAteer (GBR) making it through to the second round. British Show Jumping legend, John Whitaker (GBR), once again proved that he is still one to beat when he took the lead aboard his chestnut stallion, Green Grass.

However it was Royal Windsor Horse Show first-timers, Luxemburg’s Victor Bettendorf (LUX) and Big Star des Forets, who claimed the top spot with an electric round in the time of 26.65 seconds. Bettendorf was closely followed in second by Britain’s Matthew Sampson (GBR) , with Portugal’s Duarte Seabra (POR) in third. 

Victor Bettendorf (LUX) & Big Star des Forets during the awards ceremony

Speaking on his win, Bettendorf stated: “It is my first time here. It’s an unbelievable show because you really feel the soul of the crowd, they know the horses, and for us riders it’s great to be in front of spectators that know about our sport. My horse is very competitive – she is extremely fast and careful. I am very excited about her future.”

Final Results – €15,000 Defender Stakes CSI 5*

1) Victor Bettendorf (LUX) & Big Star des Forets – 0 / 0 – 26.65

2) Matthew Sampson (GBR) & MGH Candy Girl – 0 / 0 – 27.58

3) Duarte Seabra (POR) & HHS Washington – 0 / 0 – 29.14

Source: Press Release by Niki McEwen for the Royal Windsor Horse Show

Photos: © Royal Windsor Horse Show / Peter Nixon