Richard Howley rides to victory in the World Breeding five-year-old Championship
Ireland filled the top three places in a hotly-contended five-year-old final at the FEI World Breeding Championships at Lanaken, led by British-based Richard Howley – continuing on his winning streak to take the title on Uppercourt Cappucino.
Twenty-four of 53 starters made it through to the jump-off with Richard taking charge midway on the Irish-bred Pacino/OBOS Quality 004 stallion to claim victory with just 0.17 sec to spare over Darragh Ryan on the Sir Shutterfly gelding CSF Sir George. Mikey Pender rounded off the Irish top three with third on HHS Vancouver.
“I only brought this horse here. It’s a goal I set at the beginning of the year and I’m very pleased it all went to plan,” said Richard, winner of the CSIO5* grand prix of Gijon two weeks ago.
Laura Robinson was best Brit in fifth on the Cornet Obolensky/Cleareway mare Millfield Colette more than three sec in arrears of Richard. Lorrain Lock on Artisan (Cevin Z/Premium De Laubry) and Alex Gill with Irvington VDL (Dallas/Quickstar) also posted double clears for eighth and ninth.
Donald Whitaker was less than a second away from winning the six-year-old final with Tom Williams’ scopey Chilli and had to settle for second place over an imposing 1.35m track.
Sixteen of the 43 starters came forward to the lightning-fast jump-off with Donald and the fabulously bred Colestus/Colorit mare – last year’s five-year-old champion with Pippa Goddard in the saddle – taking a long-time lead. However, they were beaten in the final stages as Belgium’s Jeroen de Winter on Mystic Van’T Hoogeinde sailed into the lead to win by 0.94 sec.
“I actually thought and hoped that I’d won,” said Donald, who was nevertheless pleased with this mare he has ridden since the beginning of the year. “She is truly exceptional. We’d already won the finals at the Global Future Champions in Valkenswaard and I was looking forward to my first time here – to be able to debut with second place is nothing short of fantastic!”
Four faults from Matt Sampson’s effort on Harry Whall’s Happy-Fomia (Spartacus/Verdi) dropped them from third to seventh and an unfortunate 16 faults in the jump-off put Alex and HVR Halfweg’s Hoop (Numero Uno/Cassini II) into 15th.
The Brits were out of luck in the seven-year-old final, Carron Nicol and Galerius clocking up eight faults in round one to finish 27th. Only three double clears were realised in the 11-horse decider, Germany’s Christian Ahlmann claimed the win on the stallion Solid Gold Z (Stakkato Gold/Calvin Z) with 1.15 sec over The Netherlands’ Willem Greve on Grandorado TN (Eldorado Van De Zeshoek/Carolus II).
Photos © Jumping Around & courtesy World Breeding Championships, Zangersheide