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Dublin Horse Show 2019

FROM ZERO TO HERO: BRITISH SHOWJUMPING SCORE TRIUMPHANT WIN IN DUBLIN NATIONS CUP

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Ellie Kelly reporting from the Royal Dublin Show

 

Last week we published a story about the future of British showjumping. This week we want to retract it. The Brits are back on top after decisive win at Dublin on Friday following on from Ben Maher claiming his fifth London Global Champions title.

 

When the going gets tough, the British get going. It was the final leg of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup at the Royal Dublin Show. Team GB were at the bottom of the Western European table after a disappointing season and the chance of qualifying for the Final seemed long gone. Our British riders showed enormous courage, stoicism. Di Lampard’s team of Ben Maher, Scott Brash, Holly Smith and Emily Moffitt, jumped phenomenally to finish the two round competition on just one time penalty. Some 11 points ahead of Italy in second with Ireland in third on 16 points.

 

The Nations Cup victory propelled the British team from the bottom of their division to seventh place – a result which has booked them a ticket to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona. The significance of this is that it offers another chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in addition to the European Championships in Rotterdam, later this month.

 

This has been a challenging period for British showjumping who despite winning team gold in London 2012 and individual gold in Rio 2016 are still not qualified for Tokyo 2020. They are also reliant on good results to retain their significant Lottery Funding. For the majority of the Nations Cup season Britain have existed at the bottom of the table for the Western European League. The pressure was immense in Dublin, yet they put in a stellar performance and pulled off victory without needing Holly Smith to compete in the second round.

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It must have come as a huge relief to Performance Manager Di Lampard who has been challenged by a lack of choice available to the British team in terms of strong horse-rider combinations, for a number of seasons. She was full of praise for the number of loyal British owners who have put their faith in the British system and made their horses available for these championships.

 

“We’ve ridden the storm this season, we’ve had the downs and the difficulties, but it had to change, some time and with a good team and the right spirit I felt it was going to come right this week”said Di after collecting the coveted Aga Khan Trophy, at a prize-giving ceremony attended by The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. This was the 27th British win of the prestigious Aga Khan Trophy in the 93 year history of the event.

 

Di herself has been a winning rider of this trophy, during her career as a leading showjumper. “I remember 1996, winning the Aga Khan Cup with Abbervail Dream, the sportsmanship of the crowd was incredible as we went toe to toe with the Irish” she reflected.

Dublin Horse Show 2019

“With the win we secure a place in the Barcelona final and we were determined to carry that out – the Aga Khan trophy was always coming home with us!” As she pointed out, there’s been something of a generational shift going on in British showjumping.

 

“Over the last three years we’ve been producing young riders and a larger squad of riders, and you can’t rush these things. They need the right horses and they need owners to stick with them and that all takes time”she explained. The changing of the guard can indeed be a painful process, but today’s result showed that British showjumping is definitely on an upward curve once again.

 

Rider injury has also plagued the British camp and three of the team members have suffered heavy falls in recent week. This was Holly Smith’s first competition back since breaking her shoulder five weeks ago. Amanda Derbyshire, who has had a successful show at Dublin but was not competing in the Nations Cup. Her other top horse Roulette, was sidelined after a crashing fall of horse and rider at the Hickstead Nations Cup last month which left Amanda in hospital with facial injuries and her horse at Newmarket Equine Hospital where he is recovering well.

 

With this pivotal victory achieved in fine style, Di Lampard is focused on the Longines FEI European Championships later in the month where Maher, Brash and Smith will be joined by Amanda Derbyshire and Laura Renwick on the British Team. “Now we are really confident about going to Rotterdam and winning a medal and our place in Tokyo” she said.


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British Showjumping pin all their Olympic hopes on Rotterdam

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Should we be worried about the state of British Showjumping?

 

After winning team gold in London 2012 and individual gold in Rio 2016, it seems hard to believe that Team GB have not even qualified for Tokyo 2020. After a disappointing Nations Cup Series where Britain are at the bottom of their division which will mean they cannot qualify for the Nations Cup Final. Our final chance for Olympic qualification comes with the FEI Longines European Championships in Rotterdam, Holland, which take place from 19–25 August 2019.

 

Yet all is not lost, the Brits are famous for pulling it out the bag when it really matters. They have been here before and it was a similar “last chance saloon” story before Rio. Furthermore with two Olympic gold medallists, currently Britain’s highest FEI-ranked showjumpers on the list in Ben Maher and Scott Brash, supported by three talented girls, their chances are strong.

 

The selected squad has been named by British Showjumping selectors as:

  • Scott Brash MBE (33 years) from Peeblesshire and based in West Sussex with Lady Pauline Kirkham & Lady Pauline Harris’ Hello M’Lady (bay, mare, 13yo, Indoctro x Baloubet du Rouet).
  •  Amanda Derbyshire (30 years) from Leyland in Lancashire and based in the USA with Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Luibanta BH (bay, mare, 11yo, Luidam x Abantos).
  • Ben Maher MBE (36 years) from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire with Poden Farms’ Explosion W (chestnut, gelding, 10yo, Chacco Blue x Baloubet Du Rouet).
  • Laura Renwick (44 years) from Maldon in Essex with Arabella Prior’s Dublin V (chestnut, gelding, 11yo, Vigaro x Calvados).
  • Holly Smith (30 years) from Wymeswold in Leicestershire with TJ Hall Ltd’s and her own Hearts Destiny (British Bred) (bay, gelding, 10yo, Heart Throb x Rabino).

 

Performance Manager Di Lampard said “The European Championships this year are absolutely crucial if we are to qualify for the Olympic Games at Tokyo next year. I have full faith that the selection panel have put together a very strong team who could not only secure a qualifying ticket for Tokyo but also medal in both the Team and Individual Finals. I would like to personally thank all the owners that have made their horses available and of course the riders who are as committed as I am to delivering for Great Britain. In addition I extend my thanks to the dedicated support team at the BEF and British Showjumping who also play a vital role”

 

British Showjumping Chief Executive Iain Graham commented “We go forward to Rotterdam with a strong team in whom I have full confidence. In Ben and Scott we have two London 2012 Team Gold medallists who have also held the top spot individually on the world ranking lists. Both Holly and Amanda have proven themselves as Championship Team riders and Laura Renwick has been having consistent success at top level. I would like to congratulate the entire team on their selection and also thank the owners who have generously made their horses available for the British campaign as we set our sights on Tokyo.”

 

According to Scott Brash, he has been saving his horse for this opportunity. “My plans for Hello M’Lady this year have been entirely based around preparing her for the Europeans, so that I knew she would be ready for these all-important championships from where we need to qualify for Tokyo 2020. I was delighted to receive the call-up for the team and would like to take this opportunity to thank my owners Lord and Lady Kirkham and Lord and Lady Harris for their ongoing support.”

 

Amanda Derbyshire who suffered a dramatic fall in the FEI Nations Cup at Hickstead is excited to be a mainstay of the team. She was best of the Brits at the World Equestrian Games in Tyron last year on Luibanta. “I couldn’t be any happier to be selected for what will be my second Championships. Obviously I wish I hadn’t had a fall recently but I feel confident that I and Luibanta will be going to the Championships in fighting form.”

 

Ben Maher will be bringing his Global Champions Tour Champion Explosion W. “Representing Great Britain at championship level is always an honour and I would like to thank the Moffitt family and Poden Farms for making their outstanding horse, Explosion W, available for Rotterdam. This is a crucial championships for us in terms of qualifying for Tokyo and I am delighted to be part of the team that has been entrusted to deliver that all-important Olympic ticket.”

 

The ever green Laura Renwick has made a number of Nations Cup appearances but this will be her first championship for Team GB. “I’m really excited and proud to have been selected to represent my country at not only my first European Championships but also one that is extremely important to Great Britain in terms of Olympic qualification. I would like to thank my owner Arabella Prior and her family who own Dublin V and of course my husband John for his ongoing support and belief in me.”

 

Holly Smith is another consistent performer with ice cool nerves and a seriously talented partner in Hearts Destiny. “I’m delighted and honoured to be representing Great Britain again on a Championship team. We have a serious task ahead of us in Rotterdam in respect of qualifying for Tokyo and I’m absolutely focused on giving it my best shot at making sure we do just that.”


Mark Todd

MARK TODD ANNOUNCES HIS RETIREMENT

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He has been at the top of the sport for more than 40 years but yesterday, the legendary horseman Sir Mark Todd, announced he was hanging up his boots. He has said and done this before but this time he says it will be for good.

 

Double Olympic champion and five-time Burghley winner, Mark made the staggering announcement at the end of a Nations Cup event at Camphire in Ireland on Sunday after being part of the winning New Zealand team.

 

A supporter and brand advocate of Horse Scout since its inception, Mark competed at seven Olympics, winning six medals. He won gold at Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988) riding the great Charisma and was one of the very few athletes to compete at the Olympics in two disciplines- showjumping and eventing. Mark had previously indicated a desire to compete in Tokyo next year but had concluded 40 years of competing at the highest level was long enough.

 

In addition, he claimed four Badminton Horse Trials titles alongside his five victories at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and two team world championship gold medals. He was considered as one of the greatest horsemen of all time.

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Mark was rider of the 20th century by the governing body FEI and is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most successful athletes, receiving a Knighthood. More recently, he was appointed a Land Rover Ambassador.

 

With a previously successful background in racing, he has decided to devote more time to breeding and training race horses in England, something that had become more than a passing interest after securing a training license.

 

“I had initially thought I may stay on for one more Olympic Games but since I got back into the racing my attention has been taken away,” he said. “It is not just about the competition and unless you are 110 per cent focused and driven towards that goal, you won’t succeed . . . and I certainly wasn’t. In fairness to the owners, horses and others hoping to get on the team, this was the best thing. I have been here once before but there will be no comeback this time.”

 

Mark first retired from the sport in 2000, his decision partly driven by a British tabloid newspaper sting claiming he had used cocaine in the lead-up to that year’s Sydney Olympics. He vehemently denied the report.

 

He returned to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and three years later, at 55, became the oldest winner of Badminton Horse Trials when he claimed the title on NZB Land Vision.

 

Mark explained he felt relieved to retire after considering the decision for some time and was delighted to go out on a winning note, alongside world leading team mates Tim and Jonelle Price.

 

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Some Twitter tributes:

 

Andrew Hoy: “We first met 41 years ago- it’s been a blast ever since. A happy retirement to Sir Mark Todd. One of the all time greats of our sport and rider of the 20th century. But more than anything- a dear friend and most wonderful, kind man! We will miss you! Enjoy the next chapter.”

 

Lucienne Elms CEO Horse Scout: “I first met Mark at Blenheim Horse Trials when I was 19yrs old, I can recall having posters of him on my walls as a teenager. Years later I was fortunate enough to support his professional career, via young horse acquisition and sales through Horsecsout.com, I am very grateful for his support as a Horse Scout brand advocate the past few years. He is undoubtably the most multifaceted horseman that has ever been, I hugely respect his choice to go out on a high, myself and all of the Horse Scout Team wish him every success in the next chapter!”

 

The FEI: “Bittersweet brilliance. The man. The myth. The legend. Helped New Zealand to a stunning victory in Ireland in the FEI #Eventing Nations Cup… and then stunned the equestrian world by announcing his retirement!”

 

Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials: “What a legend Sir Mark Todd you are, a true friend, an inspiration and you’ve helped make Burghley so very special for so many people.”


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Horse Scout Real: Emily King

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Horse Scout catches up with eventing advocate Emily King to find out her thoughts on the UK’s most prestigious three day event – Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.

 

Why is Badminton such a special event to you?

I have been to Badminton nearly every year since I was young with my mum, and for me, it’s the biggest and best event in the world.

What is your most memorable moment at Badminton?

Competing for my first time there on Brookleigh in 2016. We lay 2nd after dressage but unfortunately had a fall at the second last on the cross country!

What is your top Cross Country tip?

Stay on the tightest line possible, sometimes going slower can get a tighter line and thus making you faster.

What is your top Show Jumping tip?

Rhythm, power, balance. Three very vital words!

What is your top Dressage tip?

Stay cool, calm and concentrate on all of the small things – every corner, every transition, how you’re sitting. This influences everything.

What are your thoughts on the 2019 Badminton Cross Country course? 

It appears a tough, bold, rider testing course. The lake is always so imposing, so I’m sure that’ll cause it’s fair share of problems. Then the corner ditch, corner, (where the vicarage vee was last year) – I think that’ll catch a few horses and riders out this year.

How is Dargun feeling?

Dre’s feeling great! He’s had a couple of good prep runs this spring at Belton & Burnham Market, where he’s been on top form. He feels extremely fit and well, so everything crossed!!

Horse Scout is thrilled to have you as the Eventing brand ‘Face’ of the Horse Scout Collection. Which product do you believe you’ll get the most wear from?

It’s hard to say! But I think I love the Jin Stirrups and Horse Scout Ears the most of all. The stirrups due to their durability and grip, the ears due to their comfort and their thicker material which is fantastic for helping to cancel out any excess noise for the horses.

Will you be using Horse Scout Jin Stirrup irons at Badminton this year?

Yes I will, on all of my saddles! They’re super lightweight, grippy and most of all they’re extremely strong.

What is your aim for Badminton 2019?

I’d just love to come home knowing myself and Dre have tried our hardest. I’d obviously love to have a top result, but with it being his first thing at this level you have to be open minded… so the main thing for me is for him to come home safe and sound having had a wonderful time.

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Horse Scout Real: Joseph Murphy

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Horse Scout catches up with eventing advocate Joseph Murphy to find out his thoughts on the UK’s most prestigious three day event.

Why is Badminton such a special event to you?

For me Badminton is the top of the sport of Eventing . Everyone in the world wants to ride there but when you get there the occasion is as big as the course itself. You need to be on your A game!

What is your most memorable moment there?

My most memorable moment was the first time I walked through the Badminton stable arch on Electric Cruise Cross Country day. The atmosphere just hit me. It was unbelievable, I knew then it was a big day.

What is your top Cross Country tip?

I have made a lot of mistakes in this phase, and they for sure have shaped my Cross Country riding. Riding in point-to-points helped me ride at speed, but Ginny Elliot really broke down the technical side of the Cross Country in my earlier 4 star years and made me understand that each type of fence had a particular way of riding it.

What is your top Show Jumping tip?

The show jumping phase has not always been a strong phase for me, but working with Ian Fearon for so many years has definitely made this phase more consistent. He always says “Joe on Sunday now you need to turn into a show jumping rider“. I never forget it!

What is your top Dressage tip?

This phase I struggle a little more with than the others, but I always seem to pick jumpers to ride and as a result the dressage can be bit more difficult.

Any horses I buy now have to have the temperament to do this phase. I am determined to turn the tables! At the moment, the advice to myself is appreciate the horses I have and get the best from them, but in the future try and put myself in a better position to be more competitive after the dressage.

What are your thoughts on the 2019 Badminton Cross Country course? 

Badminton is Badminton and it’s never easy which is to be expected. What will play the biggest part come closer to the weekend is the weather. All the horses and riders are the top drawer of the sport, and the riders will all question different fences relative to what they’re riding. Jumping into the Lake is a big thrill!

How is Sportsfield Othello feeling?

He’s a fabulous horse with great heart – he feels fantastic! He had his final run on Saturday in an Advanced at Whittington Manor and was great! Running this close to a big event like Badminton has its risks, but also going to Badminton not prepared properly is an even bigger one for me.

Horse Scout is thrilled to have you as the Eventing brand ‘Face’ of the Horse Scout Collection. Which product do you believe you’ll get the most wear from?

The Horse Scout ears are a favourite of mine, they literally blend with any colour of horse. They are very stylish but most importantly the design of them helps Sportsfield Othello in the big atmosphere to keep the noise at bay and help him concentrate.

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Oliver Towend Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event

Horse Scout advocate makes history at Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event

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It was “champagne Monday” in Horse Scout HQ today, as our advocates have made us proud again. The boy is already world number one, but Oliver Townend has just become the first British rider to take back to back wins at the Land Rover Kentucky 5*, America’s most prominent Three-Day event.  “This is one of the biggest events in the world and it’s an eventing childhood dream to win at the highest level” Oliver said, after his steely nerves delivered the clear round that was essential to win. Oliver was riding the 14-year-old Irish bred, Cooley Master Class which is owned by Angela Hislop. The Ramiro B sired gelding was also his partner when he lifted the Land Rover title last year.

Oliver led after both dressage and cross-country, but came into the final phase with less than a pole between him and third place. Last year’s Burghley winner Tim Price and Xavier Faer produced a stunning clear to add to the pressure. It was then the turn of the popular American rider, Boyd Martin and Tseterleg. Boyd received the biggest applause of the day by the home crowd, after he too, jumped a clear round. You could have heard a mouse squeak as Oliver entered the arena, his face displaying complete focus and determination. The crowds were suitably rapturous after he produced a faultless round and Oliver delighted them further as he hugged his horse.

“I am so proud, I can’t say what this means” he said, fighting back tears as he explained how his horse Cooley Master Class, has not been the most straightforward. “It’s a huge team effort, it hasn’t been an easy journey, but we always believed in him and the horse is pure class. It was just my job to press the buttons at the right time and he delivered again.”

British based Tim Price, was delighted with the British bred Xavier Faer who is owned by his breeder Trisha Rickards together with Nigella Hall and Tim. Although it was no doubt on his mind that a win here, would have put him in contention for the lucrative Rolex Grand Slam after he claimed the win at Burghley last year.

Britain’s Piggy French moved up from fifth to fourth on Quarrycrest Echo, the horse she took to Tryon for the World Equestrian Games last year.

Oliver claimed the lions share of the $400,000 prize pot as well as a Land Rover Discovery for a year. We look forward to following him and our other advocates Joseph Murphy and Emily king, at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this week.

Official Highlights Film From Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event 2019


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BADMINTON CROSS COUNTRY… REVISITING THE PAST

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Welcome to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 

Wed 1st- Sun 5th May 2019

 

This week Horse Scout got a sneak peek at the cross-country course for the 70thedition of Badminton Horse Trials. “It feels like something we might have seen 25 years ago” was how Hugh Thomas described it. Big open ditches, making full use of the lips, dips, mounds, general topography and natural features of this beautiful park. This is a course that retains that “ride on your wits” cross-country feel which it has once again become famed for in recent years.

 

Eric Winter is now in his third year as course designer of Badminton and his philosophy in course design has remained the same throughout. “My aim is to put to the test, the relationship between horse and rider and the training of the horse.”

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The course runs clockwise around the park this year. As always, riders will start in the main arena before heading out to the Staircase fence- a sizeable log parallel down the two stone steps and a tight left turn to another log parallel. “It is an open start to the course to allow riders to get into a rhythm. Unlike last year where there were some early challenges, I didn’t want to break the rhythm early.”

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Things start to get pretty serious by fence 10- The Shogun Sport Hollow. After a long gallop which could be influential before a particularly technical fence, there is a funneling pagoda to direct riders to a narrow coffin ditch which is eerily, even the shape of a coffin, and a left or right choice of chunky, narrow tree trunks out. This is where the new FEI red flag rule could come into play. Where riders will be penalized 15 penalties if the whole horse does not pass between red and white flags- so that is shoulders as well as hindquarters. A rule which has not been well received by leading riders, course designers and officials… who shall remain nameless!

 

Fence 11 and 12 is the massive KBIS Bridge over the infamous Vicarage Ditch. The double numbering allows for a two jump escape route. The next fence has been used in some form at Badminton since 1949 and this year involves the notorious bank followed by a narrow brush roll top.

 

The Rolex Grand Slam Trakehner follows. Whilst impressive to the spectator, it’s big log over gaping ditch should not cause too many problems at this level. Then on to the Hildon Water Pond at 15ab which is perhaps a little softer than previous years with a big drop in before turning to a log trough in the water. Eric describes this as a run and jump fence and a bit of a let up before another tricky part of the course. Possibly an opportunity to make up time, although Eric pointed out that in the last two years of running, not one combination of horse and rider had finished on their dressage score.

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The Vicarage Ditch to the Mirage Water at 17abc and 18 is possibly one of the greatest challenges on course. An enormous right-angled corner is proceeded by an open ditch situated on a dip in the bank which will definitely unsettle some horses. Then a level four strides to another fearsome corner fence. “This is the sort of fence you would see 40 years ago- we could see all sorts of jumps over the ditch which adds to the unpredictability of the course,” Eric says.

 

There is no let up just yet and 19ab, the Nyetimber Heights involves a steep slope to an airy brush on top of a mound. Before plummeting down into the dip and up for a choice of four narrow scrubbing brush skinnies.

 

Finally, there is a course let-up fence at 20 before rider head on to three asymmetric corners in a row at the YoungMinds Brushes. YoungMinds- who help young people with mental illness and struggles is the chosen charity at this year’s event.

 

Fence 24 is an impressive affair to give riders their first taste of the infamous Badminton Lake. The jump is basically a large parallel but the design, with a pump station extending over the Lake to create a waterfall effect, which might unsettle some horses. Especially when added to the considerable crowd that always flock to the Lake. The brush fence in has been pulled back so riders land on grass before entering the Lake, then a step up and the iconic Mitsubishi pick-ups which this year have a trailer attached with dome-shaped spruce which is the part jumped by riders and horses.

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The Lakeside spectators get value for money as riders double back to the Wadworth Lower Lake at 26, a triple bar approached through the water.  After an inviting hedge comes the Voltaire Design Huntsmans Close which involves a birch parallel to a birch spread corner on a right turn.

 

To avoid a flat out gallop Eric has the Eclipse Cross Chicane (29 ab), two open ditch brushes on a U bend out and in of the deer park before the HorseQuest Quarry (30 ab) looms. This is less complicated than in recent years. In over the stone wall to a drop then up and out over a second wall.

 

Even though we are nearly home, Badminton is no place for complacency and we have seen many a rider tip up in the final few fences. The Hayracks at 31ab a roll top spread to a roll top skinny, then fence 32 the Rolex Trunk which is a sculpted log.

 

Back into the arena is the Mitsubishi Final Mount at 33, a fence designed by a member of the public for a competition a few years ago, where riders jump a pair of sculpted wooden saddles.

 

As ever a good completion will be an exhilarating experience for both the old pros and especially for those whose first experience of Badminton this will be.

 

 


Amazon PR1 Hazel

THE BEST FEMALE POLO PLAYERS IN THE WORLD COME HEAD TO HEAD FOR ‘AMAZON POLO’

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Wellington, FL – March 22, 2019 – Following on from the success of the launch of the 2019 Gladiator Polo season last week, now it’s time to bring on the women. This Sunday night, for the first time in history, the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) in Wellington, FL, will showcase six of the top ten female players in the world in the launch of Amazon Polo™. This stellar gathering of female talent will include Dawn Jones, wife of Tommy Lee Jones, and Captain of the San Antonio franchise. Having seen last week’s Gladiator Polo™ spectacle she is delighted to be promoting the all-female version this weekend.
“There was so much energy and amazing entertainment, featuring polo at the highest level last week and we can’t wait to have our turn. This is the modernization of the sport that fits perfectly with the explosion of female professional athletes,” said Jones, who is also playing in the Susan G. Komen U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship. 
Gladiator Polo™and Amazon Polo™ are ushering in a new era for the sport, which focuses on the promotion of the athletes, as well as the development of high quality sport and entertainment that targets a broad audience including millennials. The events will significantly leverage social media and live streaming to promote both the events and its commercial sponsors. 
 
This Sunday’s teams line ups include:
Team San Antonio 
Nina Clarkin 
Dawn Jones 
Sarah Wiseman 
Team London 
Hazel Jackson 
Lia Salvo 
Hope Arellano 
When asked about her participation, World Number 2 Player Hazel Jackson-Gaona commented, “This is the most exciting thing to happen to women’s polo to date.” 
Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, renowned and respected for being a game changer in horse sport, introduced his Gladiator Polo concept to Wellington in 2017 and it proved an instant hit, attracting huge crowds and diverse new sponsorship relationships. In 2019, with the hosting of the Susan G. Komen U.S. Open Women’s Polo Championship to IPC, he thought it was a perfect time to introduce Amazon Polo™.  
A full profile of the players, sponsors, and vision for the league will be introduced over the weekend.
“A very exciting addition to women’s polo and one that I am extremely looking forward to participating in, it will be so much fun to play against the best women in the world!” commented Nina Clarkin. 
The inaugural Amazon Polo™ game will take place on Sunday, March 24, at 6:30 p.m. at the U.S. Polo Assn Coliseum at IPC. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with a Kid’s Game, featuring two chukkers, beginning at 6:00 p.m. prior to the start of the match. General admission and parking are FREE!
Female teams in association with Horse Scout PR
To learn more about Amazon Polo™, follow us on Instagram at @amazonpolo.
To learn more about the International Polo Club Palm Beach, please visit www.internationalpoloclub.com

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TEARS AND BEERS AT CHELTENHAM

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Magners Cheltenham Festival Roundup

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The Cheltenham Festival never fails to throw up emotion tales but this year set a precedent in the “weep stakes”. The magnificent Al Boum, provided Irish trainer Willie Mullins with a first victory in the G1 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. Mullins who is the Festival’s most successful trainer with 65 winners over several decades, has made 26 attempts to win the Gold Cup, finishing second six times.

 

“I had resigned myself to never winning a Gold Cup,” said Mullins, whose father Paddy Mullins trained Dawn Run to win in 1986.  It was also a first Gold Cup win for Irish jockey Paul Townend who has ridden for Mullins since he was 17 years old.

 

It was a number of formidable efforts by women which really stirred the souls this year. There was the winning owner of Klassical Dream, Joanne Coleman, whose husband had died from bone marrow cancer just nine months earlier. John Coleman who sadly never lived to see his horse race and had never had a Festival winner was there “in spirit” though. Joanne carried his ashes in her handbag. Another widow is the spotlight was trainer Kayleigh Woollacott, who had taken over her husband’s trainers license after he took his own life last year. Despite being one of the favourites, sadly it was not Lalor’s day to shine but we hope to see him back next year.

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Bryony Frost was our favourite winner of the week and had the crowds in rapturous applause, after making history as the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 (top-level) race over jumps at The Festival. The 23-year-old claimed one of the hardest fought battles to win by little more than a length over Charlie Deutsch and Aso, trained by Venetia Williams.

 

Frost’s reaction to her win was one of humility and empathy and made the front pages of several newspapers. Interviewed after the race, she reflected all the glory on her horse Frodon. “I can’t explain how much I love that horse. He is the most incredible battler. When he got overtaken two out, most horses would quit, but he grabbed me by the hands and said don’t you dare give up, don’t you dare not send me into the last, I want this more than you, now come on!”

 

“He would not lie down. It’s a lesson for us. Sometimes you might go down but you’ve got to get up and get going again, and at the last, he was just magic. Then when he got to the front he did his usual and took it all in. Just like I did.”

 

An hour later, Paisley Park claimed the G1 Sun Racing Stayer’ Hurdle, for female trainer Emma Lavelle and the horse’s owner Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth. The following race of St Patrick’s Thursday was won by a bold front-running performance from Lizzie Kelly who said “I watched Bryony and thought ‘that was my game plan’. When Irish jockey Rachael Blackmore claimed another Grade 1 race, making that her second win of the week, it reminded us that, in the words of leading trainer, Dan Skelton “I think it is about time we stopped talking about lady jockeys and just call them jockeys”.

 

Indeed the sight of Blackmore on the winners podium in Ireland is a weekly one. The 29-year-old has claimed an incredible 84 winners in Ireland and currently sits a close second behind Paul Townend in the stake to become Irish Champion Jockey. Speaking after Blackmore’s victory in the G1Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, the winning trainer Henry de Bromhead said of the jockey; “We’ve been so lucky to have her. She’s a brilliant rider. What can you say- she just wins.”

 

There were record crowds every day for this year’s Festival with 266,779 people attending over four days. Willie Mullins won the Leading Trainers’ title whilst Nico de Boinville finished the week as leading jockey with three wins. Rachael Blackmore finished in an impressive sixth place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Amy Murphy Racing

FEMALE FOCUS AT THE FESTIVAL

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We are proud of the fact that Horse Scout is an enterprise run by women. We not only love what we do both in business and in our equestrian pursuits, but we have never seen our gender as a limitation. So you could say that for us, every day is International Women’s Day. We also go to great lengths to provide as much coverage of great female equestrian athletes as we do. This week we will be championing the great female jockeys heading to The Magners Cheltenham Festival. Last year history was made when there were four female winners at The Festival, which really is the Olympics of Jumps Racing. The jockey entries have not yet been confirmed but we are expecting to see more girls on the cards than ever before including Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker who all won last year as well as Bryony Frost, Lucy Alexander and Rachael Blackmore who lies second in the Irish jump jockeys table. Will they go beat last year’s record by scoring even more Festival victories and take a share of the? Can Bryony Frost be the first ever woman to win the Gold Cup?

 

National Hunt Racing has always been a sport contested by men and women. Yet of all equine-related activities, it has been the most challenging for women to make their mark in, over sports like Eventing, Dressage or Showjumping. There have been World Champions in all three Equestrian disciplines but there has never been a female Champion Jockey, in either Flat or National Hunt.   Maybe this is because racing is a sport where the boys massively outnumbered the girls. Some say there have been fewer opportunities for women to excel, with many trainers and owners favouring a male jockey over a female for reasons that include physical strength or because they don’t like seeing girls get hurt. Or maybe the female jockeys have simply not been as good as the men.

 

In the last five years, the tide is has turned and since Lizzie Kelly shot to fame in 2015 when she became the first female jump jockey to win a Grade One race when she won the Novices’ Chase on Tea for Two at Kempton Park in 2015. It is now a regular occurrence to see women first past the post. Furthermore, trainers are giving them rides on good horses and there are more female jockeys turning professional than ever before. It is perhaps significant that 10 time Champion Jumps Trainer, Paul Nicholls employs Bryony Frost as one of his leading stable jockeys.

 

There have been 14 winning female jockeys at The Festival in total but with 23 winners between them. The first woman to win at was Caroline Beasley who won in 1983 on Eliograty and Gee Armytage was the first woman to have two winners in one year. The first professional female jockey was Lizzie Kelly last year on Coo Star Sivola who she plans to ride again this year. Whilst the most successful female jockey to date is Nina Carberry with six winners in total.

 

Female trainers have had their fair share of Festival winners. There have been 27 winning female trainers over the years with 68 winning horses between them. The first was Jackie Brutton who trained Snowdra Queen to win in 1966. The most successful so far has been Irish trainer Jessica Harrington, with 11 winners in total, including training Sizing John to win the Gold Cheltenham Cup in 2017. Jenny Pitman was the first woman to train a Gold Cup winner, when Burrough Hill Lad won in 1984, one of two Gold Cup victories for Pitman. The second success came in 1991 when Garrison Savannah won, ridden by her son Mark Pitman. She was also the first woman to train the winner of the Grand National courtesy of Corbiere in 1983. Once again, an achievement she would repeat when Royal Athlete who in 1995.

 

One of the most popular female trainers of all time has to be Henrietta Knight, who trained the legendary horse, Best Mate to three Gold Cup victories and had seven Festival winners in total and over 700 winners throughout her career.

 

This year, there are a number of female trainers presenting some promising horses to the mix. Emma Lavelle saddles Paisley Park, one of the favourites for the Stayers’ Hurdle and Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae will be a decent contender in the same race. Small time trainer, Kayley Woollacott’s Lalor is a strong hope for the Arkle Trophy. Also seen on the entries list are Venetia Williams, Sue Smith (wife of Harvey Smith), Lucinda Russell, Rebecca Curtis and Horse Scout’s ambassador Amy Murphy.

 

Last year’s Festival really reinforced the Women’s Revolution in racing with so many female winners. You can see three of those Festival winners, Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker on this video, discussing what the sport and the win really means to them.

https://youtu.be/F0NOgtvXPCE