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.
Press release Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show