Day three of The London International Horse Show featured the FEI Driving World Cup presented by Martin Collins Enterprises by Eurofip International, which was once again dominated by Boyd Exell.
The afternoon’s Jumping classes included The Snowflake Stakes, which was a close run affair, with Marcus Ehning coming out on top and The Longines Christmas Cracker, won by Gerrit Nieberg provided a fitting finale to the day.
The Senior Showing and Dressage (SSADL) took centre stage in the morning session, with The London International Horse Show SSADL Grand Final sponsored by Agria Pet Insurance. Amy Hunter was crowned Supreme Ridden Champion aboard Pillgrim, and Emma Coates was crowned In-Hand Champion with Charlie Brown.
The afternoon session also saw a more poignant moment when John Whitaker was awarded the British Equestrian Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Exell Maintains Unbeaten Record
Boyd Exell and his exceptional team of horses continued their unbeaten run at The London International Horse Show, once again demonstrating their harmony and teamwork to win the FEI Driving World CupTM presented by Martin Collins Enterprises by Eurofip International. The much anticipated class was the first time Exell has faced close rival, Bram Chardon, in the FEI World CupTM series this season. Chardon, who made his indoor seasonal debut at Geneva last weekend, has yet to reach his peak with this year’s team of four-in-hand horses, and was unable to match Exell’s pace and agility, finishing in second ahead of Koos De Ronde in third.
The World No. 1 said: “Koos put the pressure on straight away in the first round, so that made Bram and I want to push more, but it meant a few mistakes occurred. I thought that the door had been left open for Koos to claim some points, but unfortunately it was not meant to be – he was flying to win until he knocked the late balls.” Exell continued: “The London International Horse Show is always one of my favourites and it’s fantastic to win again.”
Nieberg Makes it a Double For Germany
The feature jumping class of the day, the Longines Christmas Cracker was a 1.55m jump-off class, featuring seven of the top ten riders in the world as they vied for a piece of the €51,500 prize fund. Bernard Costa Cabral’s challenging course resulted in only seven combinations making it through to the jump-off against the clock.
First to go, Max Kühner, set the pace jumping clear in a time of 33.97 seconds aboard Up Too Jacco Blue. Gerrit Nieberg, riding Ben – the horse he rode to victory in the coveted Grand Prix of Aachen earlier this year – was faster down to the final vertical to take over the lead, 0.15 seconds quicker than Kühner. Conor Swail put up a good challenge for third, but ultimately could not match Nieberg’s performance.
Nieberg, whose father won The London International Horse Show Grand Prix in 2000, said: “This is my first time at The London International Horse Show, but I will definitely be coming back – it is an amazing feeling to win here, it’s a great Show. My horse was incredible, he is feisty so I have to try and keep him calm, but he always wants to keep the fences up.”
Earlier in the day The Snowflake Stakes was won by Marcus Ehning riding Calanda. The 1.50m class was run over two rounds, with the top 10 from the first round going through to a jump-off. Britain’s Matthew Sampson set the target as first to go in the second round, jumping clear in 34.31 seconds, however his lead was quickly usurped by Belgium’s Jos Verloy. Those who followed came close, with less than a second separating the leaders, however Germany’s Marcus Ehning took it to a new level, posting a clear in a time of 33.10 seconds with just one rider to go. The final rider to take to the arena, Lorenzo de Luca – a notably quick rider – gave it everything to better Ehning’s time, however with four faults at the last fence slipped down to seventh.
The former London International Horse Show Grand Prix winner said: “I was very happy with my round today, all the people cheering me on always gives me huge motivation to push further and get the win. The crowd is amazing, the Show is amazing, they do a great job here and I’m so happy to be here.”