Klimke and King take victory at Le Lion

Sarah Carless reports ….

Ingrid Klimke and Kitty King took top spots at the FEI WBFSH World Breeding Eventing Championships for Young Horses 2018 at Lion d’Angers, France – a showcase for eventing superstars of the future.

For the second consecutive year, the Irish Sport Horse Studbook won the overall title, decided by the best three scores of each Studbook in both categories. It was the performances of Emerald Jonny ridden by Great Britain’s Piggy French, Cooley Moonshine with America’s Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Universal Cooley with Britain’s Camilla Millie Dumas that decided the result when these three finished second, third and fourth in the six-year-old division.The combined score for the Irish-bred horses was 79.5, giving them almost three points of an advantage over the second-placed Selle Français Studbook while the KWPN Studbook of The Netherlands finished third on a score of 102.0.

Six-Year-Old Championships

British Olympian Kitty King claimed victory in the six-year-old championships with Alex Wakeley’s Cristal Fontaine.

The pair, who have collected five wins on the national circuit this year, were third after the dressage with a score of 25.4. A clear cross country kept them in this position going into the final phase.

A clear round in the show jumping put the pressure on those above them. Second placed Millie Dumas collected four faults with Ellie Guy’s Universal Cooley, which dropped them to fourth and then overnight leaders Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp and Cooley Moonshine rolled one pole to finish in third place. This moved King into pole position.
King previously finished third with Zidante as a six-year-old before returning to win the seven-year-olds with the same horse the following year.

An emotional King said after her win; ‘He’s just tried really hard. I always said to the owner that he was as good as Zidante (who was third as a six-year-old) and he’s gone even better. I’m chuffed to bits with him. Millie (Dumas) and Liz (Halliday-Sharp) are on really good jumpers and I know what their form is like so I was just delighted to finish third on my dressage score so I wasn’t watching. So to win is wonderful and I’m so pleased for my team at home, my sponsors and my owners.”

Adding to the British success, Piggy French matched Kitty’s clear show jumping round today to move up from third place to take the silver medal with Tom March’s Emerald Jonny. They also finished on their dressage score, 25.8. Their domestic form has also been outstanding, with three wins to their name, and finishing second at six-year-old young horse championships at Osberton.

French commented: “I’m so thrilled with him. He’s a great little horse and he’s a fun horse. He tried really hard.”

Halliday-Sharp, who has won six times in England with Cooley Moonshine this year, commented: “He’s such a brilliant horse. He just had a young horse mistake trying to figure the ground out. I’m thrilled with him, he’s just a baby, and very proud to be on the podium and what he has achieved this week. I couldn’t ask for more from him – he’s going to be a superstar.”

Seven-Year-Old Championships

Germany’s Ingrid Klimke took the top spot with Asha P in the seven-year-old championships. The pairing were in contention from the start with a dressage score of 25.3. A clear round on the cross county put them into the lead after leaders Michael Jung and Chocolat suffered a fall.

In contrast to the younger horses, the seven-year-olds found the cross-country test set by course designer Pierre Michelet much more challenging, with 19 horse and rider combinations racking up penalty points.

Klimke commented: “I really love bringing up young horses and I have had her since she was five and I am very proud that she did such a big step forward. She learnt so much from this weekend so I can look forward to next year. It’s my third win at the Mondial du Lion and the happiness is still the same. My mare is really good and I believe she will easily rise to 3-star level. I have no doubt she will step into Hale Bob’s shoes!”

A clear round from Tom Jackson moved him from third place after the cross country to take second place Milly Simmie, Patricia Davenport and Sarah Webb’s Capels Hollow Drift.

The pair finished on their dressage score of 27.8 penalties to complete 2.5 penalties behind the winners,

Jackson commented: “I’m delighted with the horse, he’s been tremendous all year and what a way to cap it off. I only started riding him at the beginning of the season, before that he was produced by Georgie Strang and she’s done a fabulous job with him and I’ve just been able to get on him and enjoy all the work she has done for me. I’m really excited about his future.”

Nicola Wilson picked up four faults in today’s show jumping to slip from overnight second to finish in fifth place on Mrs Deirdre Johnston and Mr James Lambert OBE and Mrs Jo Lambert’s JL Dublin. Piggy French followed her bronze medal in the six-year-old Championships with a top ten placing on Susie Wood, Susan Wrighton and James Midgley’s Carnival March after they added four faults from the final show jumping phase to finish ninth.

Jung and his dressage leading mount Chocolat fell at Fence 8 – a hedge with a ditch in front. The German said afterwards his horse did not read the obstacle properly resulting in the fall. He also confirmed that as a result he had broken his humerus and chipped a piece of his shoulder socket, but that surgery was not necessary.