Cuffesgrange Cavadora 7-year-olds World Champion
Lanaken enjoyed 25th anniversary on a little cloud or, more accurately, without any clouds. The rain forecast for the afternoon arrived, but only in the evening once everything was over. The final of the seven-year-old world championship was also held dry.
The bronze medalist last year, Thiago Ribas da Costa was again present in the final and it was a time penalty for the lightest touch of a fence that prevented him from reaching the jump-off on Mano Negra van de Bucxtale (Mylord Carthago).
In fact, there were only eight pairs to qualify for the jump-off, and Marc Bettinger opened the show with his huge Trinity d'I (Toulon), who is none other than the daughter of the international Tequi d'I. Still lacking experience, she was slow to get going, and the distance did not work as he would have liked... but he kept going, picking up four points as things got a little out of control, unfortunately.
Then it was two faults for the Italian Nico Lupino on Mylord Carthender Dei Folletti (Mylord Carthago), and the jump-off had really begun.
In the end, it was Mathijs van Asten who completed the first perfect double clear-round with his mischievous Hotspot (Hors la Loi II), whose dam is none other than the international Hermione de la Pomme and granddam is the international Sauterelle de la Pomme, dam of the stallion Vagabond de la Pomme. The KWPN stallion also played up a little at the door to the arena, but did go through. Nonetheless, they wasted precious seconds, and had to settle for a time of 40''71.
Katrin Eckerman was back and attempting to win a second title with another product of Comme Il Faut but this time it didn’t work out. The time was fast but there were also two faults for the young German on Daddy's Destiny.
Brazilian Victor Mariano Luminatti achieved a beautiful and very clean jump-off with Cipollini Second Life Z (Carthago). Without fault in 38''70, he took the lead in this last final of the day.
There were only three candidates left to start, including the young Alexander Housen, who achieved a perfect course with the Zangersheide-approved stallion Uricas v.d.Kattevennen (Uriko x Cassini I), grandson of the international winner Chika's Way, herself a maternal half-sister to the stallions Clearway, and Conway I and II. Unfortunately, a fault at the last obstacle would see their dream of victory vanish, although their excellent time of 38''53 underlined how close they came.
As the penultimate contender, we thought that Marco Kutscher was holding all the cards to take his first title in the young horses’ category. The German made a magnificent round, very clean, but he didn’t push hard, and his time of 39''63 was not enough.
There was only one pair left, but who better than a young Irishman to create a sensation? At 17 years old, Marion Hughes' nephew, Seamus Hughes-Kennedy, was the first winner of the pony world cup final in Mechelen with Cuffesgrange Cavalidam (Luidam), a mare who won gold in 2019 in team and individual events at the European pony championships, and who is none other than the dam of Marion Hughes’ current horse, Cuffesgrange Cavadora (Z Wellie 72). An unusual story that end appropriately with a seven-year-old world champion title with a clear round at 38''58, even after the young Irishman added a stride before the final obstacle.
"Last year, she was fourth in the six-year-old world championship with Gerard O'Neil, who was here today and gave me some advice before I set off. In particular, before the jump-off he told me not to focus on the crowd... and that's what pushed me to manage the last obstacle. It's an incredible story because Cavalidam belonged to my neighbor who lived right across the street. It would be hard to get more local! I now hope to have her next year for the European Junior Championships."
Seamus with the 2019 European Pony Champion (during their victory in the Pony World Cup Final) and dam of the 7-year-old World Champion.
Victor Mariano Luminatti of Brazil could smile broadly after his second place on a horse he had trained from scratch: "I settled with six horses near Peelbergen in Holland for a year and a half. We bought Cipollini as a foal from his breeder. He's really an incredible horse! He will now rest and be tested before resuming competition. He has a very interesting pedigree, Carthago x Kannan."
A multi-medal world champion, Marco Kutscher won an additional bronze medal in Lanaken: "First of all, I would like to thank Judy-Ann Melchior and her team for making this incredible event here. This is the second year I’ve come here with my team and it is always a pleasure to see how this competition is evolving. Every year, there are changes, improvements and developments. It is the world event for young horses and this year, in addition, the prize money was equal to the event. It is great to give owners a chance to get back the costs they have during the season. Then I have to say that I am surprised to be sitting next to a young man who could be my son. I wasn't planning on bringing Policeman here. I rode him all season in the youngsters’ events, but I didn't have much time to take him to enough competitions and I was a little afraid that it would be a bit too hard for him. But I must say that the course designers did an excellent job, with very horse-oriented courses. I thought there would be a few more clear rounds but there were faults all over this final. We really have to thank the course designers for their work. Policeman will now enjoy a little rest in the coming weeks because I never thought he would have four laps to jump this week. We're going to do two more indoor competitions, then we'll work towards the eight-year-old events."
The weather, the successful finals and a massive crowd, the 25th anniversary of the Lanaken World Championships for Young Horses was a true success. But there was one small downside that deserves notice: the lack of respect from the public. It hurts when you leave such an event to see the Zangersheide meadows, which have seen so many champions born, in such a state. How can people who describe themselves as horse lovers and enthusiasts, empty their cars in meadows where horses like those they came to see will be grazing again in a few weeks, especially after they have been welcomed in such great style? This was the only negative aspect of the weekend.