Following Shamwari 4’s heartbreaking withdrawal from Luhmühlen this morning, Jonelle Price suddenly found herself with the opportunity to take back-to-back CCI4* wins. She entered the arena for show jumping in the same situation she faced with Classic Moet at Badminton: Without a rail in hand, she had to jump clear to win.
And that’s exactly what Jonelle did, piloting Faerie Dianimo to a beautiful clear over Frank Otto’s challenging track to win her second CCI4* in as many months — and nine months after giving birth to her son, Otis.
“If you’d asked me in January — when I was just trying to get back up to full fitness and do a full day’s work — if I’d be sat here at the end of June with two four-star wins under my belt, I would have said you were completely mad,” Jonelle said. “It’s beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of. I’m feeling incredibly lucky right now with these two special mares.”
Faerie Dianimo, a 13-year-old British-bred mare (Dimaggio X Faerie Dazzler VII, by Catherston Dazzler) Jonelle owns with Trisha Rickards and Jacky Green, jumped one of the six clear show jumping rounds to finish on 28.3.
“Faerie Dianimo is pint-sized. She is tiny. She thinks in her head she’s about 18 hands high. It’s that attitude that has seen her get to the very top level of the sport. She fights me a bit on the cross country, and in the dressage she can get a bit hot, but it’s these qualities that make her such a competitor. It was almost like she knew how important it was today. All credit to her.”
Britain’s Laura Collett and Mr. Bass were the only pair out of the 31 horses and riders that completed the CCI4* to finish on their dressage score, taking second place on 29.9 in the horse’s debut at the level.
“He’s an unbelievable horse. He tried his heart out in there. The real top horses seem to know when it really matters,” Laura said. “He dug really deep, and I had to keep reminding myself that there wasn’t really another horse I’d want to be sat on going into the show jumping. I just have to remember to let him do his job because he knows it better than I do.”
Laura has produced Mr. Bass, a 10-year-old Holsteiner (Carrico X K-Jeunesse, by Exorbitant xx) she owns with Nick How and Keith Scott, from an unbroken 4-year-old, which she said makes such a strong result at his first CCI4* all the more rewarding.
“We know each other inside and out, which I think makes it even more of a special partnership and bond. It makes it easier to come to a big competition like this knowing that he’s like my best friend and we have a really special connection. That for me is important,” Laura said.
“To get a horse to four-star is a huge amount of effort. We all work day in and day out, and there are a lot more lows than there are highs, so we really have to appreciate days like this.”
Team GB took four of the spots in the top five, with Ros Canter and Zenshera jumping a stylish clear to finish in third place on 29.9. (Laura Collett and Mr. Bass finished on the same score but made the optimum time on cross country to break the tie in their favor.)
“I brought Zenshera here last year for his first four-star. We came into this week a little more confident that we could do this level together. He’s been an absolute star all week. He wasn’t the most talented young horse, but he just tries his heart out all the time. He has a huge love for the job, so he makes me life really very easy.”
Ros said she was particularly pleased that Zenshera, a 14-year-old KWPN (Guidam X Telvera, by Matterhorn) she owns, delivered a clear show jumping round today, as he had a rail down at both Luhmühlen and Pau last year.
“He kept his head in the dressage and he went as fast as he could on cross country. (Show jumping) is his weakest phase, and he pulled it out of the bag for the first time. I’m really very proud of him.”
Kitty King and Ceylor L A N, an 11-year-old KWPN (Veron X Winanda LAN, by Ahorn) owned by Diane Bown, Jacqueline Owen and Samantha Wilson, also delivered an impressive clear round for Britain to finish fourth on 32.2.
Britain’s Willa Newton and Chance Remark, a 16-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Actinium X Cuildooish Lady, by Farney Clover) owned by Feenea Machin and Peter Thomas, had one rail down to finish fifth on 33.9.
Ireland delivered one of its strongest performances at a CCI4* in the last decade, with Sam Watson securing the best four-star result of his career aboard Horseware Ardagh Highlight. The 14-year-old Irish Sport Horse (Puissance X Gentle Servant, by Kings Servant) Sam owns with Belinda Keir had two rails down to finish sixth on 41.6.
Ireland’s Cathal Daniels and Rioghan Rua, an 11-year-old Irish Sport Horse mare (Jack of Diamonds X Highland Destiny, by Flagmount King) owned by Frank and Margaret Kinsella, also had two rails down to finish seventh on 41.6. (Sam Watson was closer to the optimum time on cross country to break the tie in his favor.)
Deniro Z jumped beautifully for Liz Halliday-Sharp and unfortunately knocked two poles in the triple combination to finish eighth on 42.2 — still an incredibly strong result in the horse’s CCI4* debut for America.
“He was jumping out of his skin and was unbelievable in the warm-up. He felt like he hadn’t even run the day before,” Liz said. “At the treble he dropped behind my leg a little bit, and I wasn’t quick enough to give him enough leg to move him up. It’s really unlike him to have two down, and he jumped the rest of the track like a total pro. I’m very proud of him in his first four-star.
Deniro Z, a 10-year-old KWPN (Zapatero VDL X Zonne-Trend, by French Buffet xx) owned by the Deniro Syndicate and Ocala Horse Properties, had a big support crew today, as Boyd and super groom Mike Pendleton stepped in to lend a helping hand following Shamwari 4’s withdrawal.
“We are gutted for Boyd,” Liz said. “He had such a great round yesterday. The sport can be very tough, and we appreciated his support today.”
Italy’s Vittoria Panizzon and Chequers Play the Game, a 14-year-old KWPN (Stravinsky X Mirakel, by Lancer II) owned by Amy and Patricia Lambert, had one rail down to finish ninth on 42.2 in the horse’s CCI4* debut.
Sweden’s Anna Freskgård and Fly Away vd N.Ranch, a 10-year-old Belgian Warmblood Quidam’s Rubin X Retina Van de N. Ranch, by Voltaire) she owns with William Fryer, pulled two rails and added 3 time penalties to round out the top 10 on 50.3.
We are relieved to report that Chloe Raty is back home in Belgium resting comfortably and recovering following her rotational fall yesterday with Axel Z, who was euthanized due to sustaining critical spinal injuries. Chloe suffered no major injuries in the fall.
Belgian chef d’equipe Alec van den Abeele spoke in the press conference today on Chloe’s behalf, thanking Luhmühlen officials for the support and help she received after yesterday’s devastating accident.
CIC3* show jumping is underway now. Stay tuned for much more from Luhmühlen. Go Eventing.