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[Windsor, UNITED KINGDOM] – Two years after winning at Royal Windsor Horse Show as a novice horse, Don VHP Z returned to Home Park with his rider Louise Pavitt to take the Alltech Royal Windsor Grand Prix. Louise and the eight-year-old stallion were in good company in the 13-strong jump-off, which included Olympic hopefuls Tim Stockdale (Fresh Direct Kalico Bay), William Funnell (Billy Congo) and Tina Fletcher (Hello Sailor), but managed to come home almost a second ahead of her nearest rivals.
The competition, held with a backdrop of two Royal Homes – Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, which has been recreated as an elaborate stage in the Castle Arena for the Diamond Jubilee Pageant held on the showground each evening – was watched by a packed house enjoying summer sunshine and they were treated to a highly-charged display of horsemanship.
During the closing stages, time and again the penultimate fence – a tall vertical adorned with Alltech’s DNA Helix – fell, putting paid to many challengers’ chances. But, mid-drawn William Funnell set a tough target, clearing the Alltech fence and charging down the arena to the last. However, a few horses later Louise used the Brendon Stud-owned Don VHP Z’s huge stride to her advantage to take and hold the lead, despite a late charge from Tim Stockdale, who took eventual second ahead of William.
“Don VHP Z is a real winner,” said Louise. “He won the Walwyn Novice Championship here two years ago, a number of national championships and won a class here earlier in the week.
“He is used for breeding and was actually bred from last night, so he’s had a busy few days!”
Runner-up Tim Stockdale had claimed his own win earlier in the week aboard Fresh Direct K2, so was pleased to finish the week on a high with a strong placing in the show’s feature show jumping competition.