Windsor, England – May 13, 2023 – Twenty-one of the world’s best horse and rider combinations went head-to-head in today’s pinnacle Show Jumping class – The €26,200 Kingdom of Bahrain Stake CSI 5* for The King’s Cup. First into the arena was Britain’s William Funnell (GBR) riding the 13-year-old chestnut gelding, Equine America Billy Diamo. Funnell showcased all of his experience to jump clear and set the standard for the rest to follow. Clears continued to come in the Castle Arena, including yesterday’s Pearl Stakes CSI 5*winner, Lily Attwood, Belgium’s Abdel Saïd (BEL), and two members of Britain’s FEI World Championship bronze medal-winning team, Ben Maher and Harry Charles (GBR).
However, the skillfully curated course did also cause problems throughout, with nearly half of the field accruing four faults. Beneath the historic Windsor Castle, crowds came alight when 68-year-old veteran of the sport, John Whitaker, entered the arena. Whitaker executed a superb clear jumping round, but disappointment came when he picked up two time penalties.
Eight combinations progressed through to the jump-off, held over seven combinations. First to go was Belgium’s Abdel Saïd (BEL) riding Arpege du Ru, who won this class back in 2017 and set the standard with an exceptionally fast round of 32.32 seconds. Following Saïd’s round, the pressure was on the remaining combinations. It was a tightly fought contest as France’s Kevin Staut (FRA) and Beau de Laubry Z looked to challenge the lead but could not quite match the pace set, coming home in a time of 33.76 seconds.
All British hopes rested on Under-25 World No. 1 Harry Charles (GBR), after both Ben Maher and Lily Atwood had a pole down. Charles, who partnered the talented Aralyn Blue, rode a beautiful round, and as he rode down to the last oxer the crowd held their breath in hopes of a British winner. The young rider, however, could only do enough for second, with a time of 32.97 — just over 0.60 seconds slower than the winner, Abdel Saïd (EGY).
Saïd said; “I’m really happy with Arpege, she’s naturally a really fast mare, I know her really well as I’ve been riding her since she was eight, so I stuck to my plan and I’m really pleased with how she went. I love competing at Royal Windsor Horse Show, the British crowds are so supportive and they really understand the sport so it’s an amazing experience.”
Speaking of his tactics for the jump-off “I don’t usually walk the jump-off course when riding Arpege, as she has such an unusually quick stride, so I spoke to a few colleagues who told me the lines. I tend to just take what I see as it comes, and today it really paid off.”
Final Results – €26,200 Kingdom of Bahrain Stakes CSIO 5* for The King’s Cup
1) Abdel Saïd (BEL) & Arpege du Ru – 0 / 0 – 32.32
2) Harry Charles (GBR) & Aralyn Blue – 0 / 0 –32.97
3) Kevin Staut (FRA) & Beau de Laubry Z – 0 / 0 – 33.76
Source: Press Release by Niki McEwen for the Royal Windsor Horse Show
Photo: © Royal Windsor Horse Show / Peter Nixon
Categories: CSI 5*, English, Jumper News Belgie