Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II heads the entries for next month’s annual Royal Windsor Horse Show, with 42 horses entered across the showing and driving classes.
More than 2000 entries for the show have been received for four days of showing, showjumping and driving competitions in the private grounds of Windsor Castle.
The show, from May 12 to 15, is steeped in a rich Royal tradition as the Queen has attended every year since the show’s inception in 1943, when she won the Pony and Dog Cart class.
Adding to the Royal theme of the show is the Duchess of Bedford who will compete with her pair of Hungarian Lippizaners to a Roof-Seat Break in The Champagne Laurent-Perrier Meet of the British Driving Society. Last year’s winner of the class, George Knight with Rowhill Silver Joker will this year compete in the Private Driving – Singles exceeding 13.2hh.
Other leading entries for the 79th annual show include Cheshire-based Robert Walker, who will be looking to rewrite the history books once again by aiming to win a fourth consecutive Lightweight Hunter title with Jill Day’s 11-year-old gelding, View Point. Last year’s win was their third consecutively, a feat which had not been achieved by a single horse and rider combination for more than 30 years.
Walker will bring an additional 14 horses to the Show including Parkgate Royal Visit William whom he will compete in the Small Hack class. Walker will be looking to follow in his wife, Sarah’s success from last year and claim the revered Count Robert Orssich Hack Championship Title.
The RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Series Qualifiers always spark interest amongst the racing enthusiasts, and this year will no different, featuring the likes of Coneygree, the first novice chaser to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup for more than 40 years, when he took the 2015 edition of the iconic race. The fifteen-year-old bay gelding will be presented at Windsor by Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer Mark Bradstock, who prepared him for his historic Cheltenham victory. Flat racing will be represented by Group 2 winner, Limato, presented by Katie Jerram-Hunnable. The bay gelding, who excelled over sprint distances, will amongst the favourites to go through to the RoR Tattersalls Thoroughbred Ridden Show Horse Championship on the opening day of the show.
Showing star-turned-Team GB dressage rider Louise Bell is returning to her roots with her homebred gelding Peaky Blinder entered in the Flat Ridden Sport Horse class and Four-Year-Old Hunter. The son of Carl Hester’s London 2012 Olympic gold medal winning Dressage mount, Uthopia, Peaky Blinder is Louise’s first Dressage-bred horse.
Alongside the CSI5* International Show Jumping classes, Royal Windsor Horse Show will showcase home-grown talent in its four national Show Jumping classes.
Last year, crowd favourite and one of Britain’s leading female riders, Laura Renwick, finished first and second in the open ing Foxhunter class. However, this year it could be the Billy Stud who dominate with 10 entries between five riders, including both William and Pippa Funnell. Ireland’s Shane Breen has two entries with the seven-year-old Z7 Dubai Castefield and eight-year-old Champagne vh Bergerhof Z.
The Puissance, always a fan-favourite, will see the return of one of last year’s joint winners Guy Williams, aboard his trusted partner and Puissance specialist Mr Blue Sky UK. The duo is sure to be the favourites of this class, which is held in the Castle Arena on the opening day of the Show. They will be joined by top-class combinations including Jay Hamlin and Lily Freeman-Attwood.
Current World No.8 Scott Brash will pilot Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s Hello Vittoria in the 1.40m Open Jumping Competition, and Oliver Fletcher, who will also represent Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham with his ride, Hello William, alongside his brother, Will, riding Ginadina PP. Joseph Stockdale will be looking to make his mark aboard Titanium Z, as will the notoriously speedy Keith Doyle, who will ride Hip-Hop.
Providing spectators with an opportunity to see horses and ponies which are listed on the Rare Breed Trust endangered list is The Freedman Harness Open Hackney Classes. With fewer than 300 breeding mares remaining, this class is not only highly competitive, but also important in raising awareness of this rare breed. The classes will see the return of Billy Ward, Susan Barraclough, and Mark Hardy.
Last year’s Jack Wetzel Coaching Marathon Champion was won by Paul White, this year he returns as the owner of A Team of Gederlanders to a Park Prag alongside Hadyn Webb, with Max White as the driver of the team.