On Friday afternoon at Royal Windsor Horse Show, a little stallion “who tries his hardest to get over the bigger jumps” triumphed in the 1.55m CSI5* Pearl Stakes.
Thirteen of the 15 combinations who jumped clear in round one returned for the jump-off, where Germany’s Daniel Deusser piloted the 11-year-old French-bred Bingo Ste Hermelle to victory in a lightning-quick time of 36.32sec.
“It was a very smooth round, I always choose a forward distance with him, rather than going flat out, and he tried really hard – it was a good feeling today,” said Daniel, who took the reins on the stallion a year ago and rode an absolutely remarkable jump-off round at the Longines Global Champions Tour grand prix at Valkenswaard in the summer to triumph there.
“He jumped some big classes last year but then he had a bit of a break over the winter. He’s been back for three or four shows now and actually he’s feeling better and better at every show, so I feel really positive about the future for him.
“I’m going to give him a day off tomorrow and then Sunday will be his first grand prix of this year. So we’ll see from there what the next few weeks will bring.”
Daniel executed the tightest of turns and cleared some of the troublesome verticals set by course-designer Bernardo Costa Cabral with ease, but it is over the oxers that this son of Number One D’Iso can be slightly unorthodox.
“He’s very easy to ride but sometimes he has a bit of a special technique behind over the oxers – sometimes his back legs go right under his body – he’s not the biggest horse and he just tries really hard to get over the bigger jumps,” explained Daniel, currently ranked number 10 in the world. “He always gives you such a safe feeling though.”
Talking about his return to the five-star Royal Windsor Horse Show, Daniel added: “Windsor is a bit different compared with all the other shows, which are all a bit similar. Here we have different jumps, different ground, good audience and a big arena – and now with the sun, too, it couldn’t be better.”
Finishing in his slipstream was Belgian rider Jos Verlooy riding Luciano Van Het Geinsteinde, double clear in a time of 37.46sec, while John Whitaker was best of the five British contenders in the jump-off. The Yorkshireman finished third with Equine America Unick Du Francport, AKA the tea-loving “Frank”, who threw in his trademark mighty buck after the final fence.
“He’s had a week off and he’s really fresh!” said John, who rode the 14-year-old gelding at the World Cup Final last month.
“He hasn’t jumped a huge amount recently, but the way he jumped today, I think I’ll give him the day off tomorrow [Saturday] then bring him out again for the grand prix on Sunday.”
- The CSI5* jumping action continues at Royal Windsor Horse Show on Saturday and Sunday and you can follow all the action with Horse & Hound online and in next week’s issue of the magazine, in the shops on Thursday, 19 May.
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Credit: Peter Nixon
Credit: Peter Nixon