Mares topped both divisions at this year’s FEI World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) Eventing World Breeding Championships for Young Horses 2021 at Lion d’Angers in France at the weekend, with Germany’s Anna Lena Schaaf riding the Oldenburg Lagona 4 to victory in the 6-year-olds while Australia’s Kevin McNab and the Holsteiner, Cute Girl, topped the 7-year-old category.
The event which is designed to help develop future stars attracted a massive 40,000 spectators along with many of the world’s best Eventing athletes and super-talented young horses once again.
Irish Sport Horses claimed two podium finishes and a total of nine top 10 placings.
Anna Lena Schaaf turned 20 only in August but she already has a reputation for producing quality horses, and with Lagona 4 (Lavagon/Ile de Cartina/Cartani 4) she led the 6-year-olds from start to finish. Posting 25.8 in the dressage phase the pair had a narrow advantage of just 0.7 penalties over Thomas Carlile and the mare Fair Lady des Bourcks in second.
Fellow Frenchman Nicolas Touzaint was lying third with another Selle Francais, the gelding Fibonacci de Lessac HDC, while newly crowned Olympic individual Eventing champion Julia Krajewski from Germany was lying fourth with the Hanoverian gelding Chintonic 3 on a score of 27.9 going into Saturday’s cross-country phase.
Some 46 starters set off over the 22-fence cross-country track and three were eliminated while one retired, but the top six places remained unchanged.
Lagona was foot-perfect in the final showjumping phase to leave the final result beyond doubt. But three fences down saw Thomas Carlile and Fair Lady des Broucks plummet to 17th place, so when Touzaint was clear he rose to runner-up spot. Asingle error saw Krajewski and Chintonic drop from fourth to fifth and two new names appeared at the top of the final leaderboard.
Rebecca Chiappero was lying 14th with the Irish Sport Horse Bonmahon Chelsea after dressage, but bounced up to 10th on Saturday after a brilliant cross-country clear. And when the pair collected just 0.8 for time in an otherwise flawless showjumping round their final tally of 31.7 saw the Italian rider stand on the third step of the podium. Fourth went to Australia’s Isabel English and the ACE-bred Cil Dara Dallas who were ninth after dressage, eighth after a clear cross-country run and who moved up four places when collecting just two showjumping time faults.
As well as Bonmahon Chelsea, Irish-bred horses filled sixth (SBH Big Wall – Izzy Taylor), seventh (Dourough Ferro Class Act – Sarah Ennis), eighth (CBI Aldo – Caroline Powell) and 10th places (Royal Encounter – Marcio Carvalho Jorge).
In the 7-year-old division, Australia’s Kevin McNab and Cute Girl (Coventry/Caligula/Clearway) also took the early lead and didn’t let go. The judges scored their test at 26.9, and they added nothing over the following two phases.
Also completing on their dressage score were second-placed Laura Collett and the Trakehener, Outback, whose dressage mark of 27.2 left them only fractionally ahead of British compatriot Hayden Hankey and Heads Up on 27.4, while yet another of the British contingent, Selina Milnes, was lying fourth with the Irish-bred Cooley Snapchat on 27.5 going into cross-country day — just 0.6 penalty points separating the leading four.
It was a star-studded line-up after dressage: McNab, 43, was a member of the Australian silver medal-winning team at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where Collett, 32, claimed team gold; while Hankey, 42, is one of the best-known and successful show-horse competitors on the British circuit.
Hankey’s versatile Irish Sport Horse, Heads Up, was Working Hunter champion at the Horse of the Year Show in 2019 and finished second in the British 7-year-old Eventing Championship at Osberton this year. But the pair paid a big price when just over the cross-country optimum time of 9’ 04” which left them with two time penalties and dropped them to overnight ninth place.
A total of 58 combinations headed out on the cross-country track and five were eliminated while three retired and just 13 made it home within the optimum time.
McNab had every reason to get it absolutely right. A year ago he and Cute Girl were eliminated in the 6-Year-Old Championship when missing a fence, but this time the pair cruised home and maintained their lead.
Cute Girl kept all the rails in place in the showjumping phase to cement the win, and Outback also went clear to finish second.
Milnes added 0.8 time penalties to her tally but still held on for third ahead of compatriots Gemma Tattersall with Johan-Some in fourth and Hankey, who climbed back up to fifth when adding only 0.4 for time. British riders filled all the places from second to seventh, and the most prolific studbook in the top-seven was the Irish Sport Horse studbook, taking third (Cooley Snapchat – Selina Milnes), fifth (Heads Up – Hayden Hankey), sixth (Cooley Rules – Izzy Taylor) and seventh (Cooley Rosalent – Oliver Townend).