Closing the week of spectacular sport at the Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show, the final day of elite showjumping action delivered outstanding results from world-class talent with a challenging Dodson & Horrell Grand Prix, proving to be a thrilling climax for spectators.
Grand Prix glory was earned by the unbeatable combination of David Simpson and Foudre F, taking the title honours by producing the only double clear in the highly competitive Dodson & Horrell CSI3* Grand Prix, and taking the lion share of the £50,000 prize fund. The concluding classes of the week offered a final challenge to riders, which saw combinations rise to the occasion and dig deep to emerge victorious.
The pinnacle class of the show, the highly anticipated Dodson & Horrell CSI3* 1.50m Grand Prix took centre stage as the penultimate class of the 2021 show. With leading lady riders and winners of the World-Ranking Dodson & Horrell Grand Prix qualifiers on the Thursday and Friday of the show, Holly Smith with Fruselli and Angelie Von Essen with Cochella set the standard early in the week, promising a fierce Grand Prix battle at Bolesworth.
Up to height with all the questions expected of a world ranking Grand Prix, it was Olympic Team Member Holly Smith with Fruselli who set the standard with an outstanding clear in the first round, followed by another faultless round by Ireland’s David Simpson and Foudre F. Concluding the first phase, the top 12 combinations continued through to the next round, with the advantage lying with Holly & David as the only clears.
The two riders on just 1 time penalty from the first round, William Whitaker with Galtur and Daniel Coyle with Oak Grove’s Carlyle, put the pressure on with a faultless second round in a quick time, with William lying in the top spot. Holly was the first of the clears to take on the shortened course, as the crowds held their breath in anticipation, before the combination was caught out on a turnback to an imposing upright. With Holly now leaving the gate open, David knew he needed to go clear to win. Sticking to his plan and trusting his horse, he came home with all the fences intact, the only double clear of a seriously testing class.
David Simpson on his win: “I thought the course builder Louis Konickx did a great job, the time allowed was tight, but being a Grand Prix, it should be tough. I just went over the course; I knew Holly was the only one I was focused on that I had to beat. I just stuck to my plan, and it paid off.
“Foudre F was Shane Breen’s horse. I rode him in a couple of classes in Dubai, and we hit it off straight away. After 2 months riding him in Dubai, we came back and I had to buy him, I had a feeling he was a really special horse. It took about a year to get him to this level of consistency but he’s an incredible horse. He gets a bit tense around the ring but has a great brain. I’ve never ridden something that is so consistently careful and tries so hard, I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
He continued: “It’s incredible to have spectators back at sport. When I’m on my course, I’m completely focussed, but when you hit the ground after the last fence and you hear the crowd, there’s nothing quite like it.”
Second place William Whitaker and Galtur, owned by Philip and Jane Tuckwell spent lockdown really getting to know each other, which has certainly paid dividends today.
William commented: “Following a brilliant first round, it was a difficult one to judge but worth taking a few risks that paid off today. It was a tough course, and the time was tight, but the standards are really high so it’s what you’d expect. I knew we weren’t the fastest combination in the world, but I knew where I had to take my time and where I could save a few seconds, I couldn’t fault the horse, I’m really pleased.”
Finishing in third place was the highest World Ranked rider in the class, Ireland’s Daniel Coyle, on his relatively new ride Oak Grove’s Carlyle. He commented, “Everyone wants to win, but this is our third show together and one of the biggest, so I am really pleased with the result.” Favourites Holly Smith and Fruselli finished in a respectable 4th, with Angelie Von Essen and Cochella flying the flag for Sweden in 9th.
Echoed throughout the five days was the quality of the arenas and the courses, which set the stage for highly competitive classes. This year the responsibility for the course design and build was taken by Louis Konickx from the Netherlands who commented, “When you are a course designer in a new arena, new venue, you have to find the nice lines – the lines that can help you to make nice challenges and distances and so on.” Louis now leaves Bolesworth and heads to Tokyo for the Olympic Games as a Technical Delegate.
The Al Shira’aa CSI 7 YO Young Horse class saw a strong start list across five nations with a world class selection of young show jumpers going head-to-head. The quality of the horses jumping was clear to see with breeding which featured renowned stallions Balou de Rouet, Diamant de Semilly and Diarado. With ten combinations put forward to the second round against the clock, it was Joss Williams and Fourfields Darc Maxim who took the title. Second place was awarded to William Whittaker and JX Hale with a notable third to Olympic Team GBR rider Ben Maher with the promising young horse, Point Break.
Always a crowd-favourite the Mini Major brought the entertainment as senior riders donned their finest fancy dress outfits in a relay round against the clock with upcoming junior riders, dressed equally as elaborately. First in Lily Attwood and Abigail Wicks posted a stellar clear in a fast time, which proved hard to beat. That is until confirmed Young Rider European Championships 2021 team member Robert Murphy and Emily Gulliver took to the arena, shaving off two seconds from the leading time and taking strides out at every opportunity.
Junior rider, Emily Gulliver, aptly dressed as Superwoman, on her win: “Izzy was very, very excited and very fast! She can be really strong, but my plan was to turn as fast as I could and then gallop. Robert was a really fast partner; he went faster than I thought!”
Fresh from a win at the Global Champions Tour in Paris, first timers to Bolesworth, Florence Pollard and her own 10-year-old gelding, Gerswin, were drawn first in the Owl Homes CSI-Amateur 1.25m Grand Prix second round, providing the first double clear of the class and going on to secure the first place. Calling on her trainer, Olympic eventer Nicola Wilson, for advice on the demanding course, Nicola’s words of encouragement formulated the plan for success: “Make your own plan and kick on, he’s brave and you both know what you are doing.” Florence entered the arena with Nicola’s motto, “go hard or go home on the last day” at the forefront of her mind.
A challenge from the off, with an imposing triple bar then seven strides to a tall upright on a curving line as fences one and two, the eVetDrug CSI3* 1.35m tested riders with a number of up to height square oxers on a related distance, with many riders struggling to leave the back bar in place. Mastering the course with two seconds in hand, Mark Edwards with Flying Tinker II took the title followed by Jackson Reed Stephenson and Muna Vd Bisschop, and Ireland’s Daniel Coyle with Ivory Tcs finishing third.
Nina Barbour, Managing Director of Bolesworth, said: “It’s been a phenomenal five days of top sport, and it’s been even more special being able to welcome back spectators to Bolesworth. David Simpson’s win in the Dodson & Horrell CSI3* was absolute class and so exciting for us to all enjoy. Congratulations are extended to David and all the deserving winners from the Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show.”
Sam Horrell, Managing Director of Dodson & Horrell, continued: “We’re delighted with the success of the show, it’s been great for our team to speak to so many show visitors and riders, and we’ve enjoyed being a part of the sporting success of our brand ambassadors too. This is our first year of title sponsorship and we are grateful to Nina and her team for putting on such a fantastic top sporting event. We’re looking forward to returning next year.”
As the gates close and the sun sets on another successful Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show, the summer of equestrian sport continues at Bolesworth, looking ahead to the Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships, 18th - 22nd August.
Sign up for ticket alerts now at www.bolesworthyounghorse.com. Returning to the heart of the city once again this year, the Liverpool International Horse Show at the M&S Bank Area, the ultimate new year equestrian celebration is back on 31st December 2021 - 3rd January 2022.
Visit www.liverpoolhorseshow.com for further details and to sign up for ticket alerts. Aside from the world-class equestrian calendar, Bolesworth Estate also hosts a number of other events, including new for 2021, the Christmas Light Trail taking place 26th November - 24th December 2021. Full details can be found at www.bolesworth.com.