This week the eyes of the eventing world turn to the most exciting youngsters in the sport as we prepare for the World Young Horse Breeding Championships at Le Lion d’Angers. To get everyone in the mood, Michael Jung has just produced a record finishing score of 22.8 on his six year old Choclat. His wonder horse La Biosthetique Sam – FBW was a slower starter at that age but his more recent youngsters show he as gifted at producing the younger event horses as he is on the championship stars. The same trends starts becoming clear with his compatriot Ingrid Klimke and the only other Rolex Grand Slam winning rider, Pippa Funnell.
To test the theory, we looked back for six year old horses with more than one international completion and then examined their average finishing score.
The evidence was pretty comprehensive! Only six horses managed to maintain an average finishing score below 40 penalties, and you will recognise some of the riders in the saddle.
6 – GLENN GRANT | INGRID KLIMKE | GER
Six Year Old Year: 2011
Average Finishing Score: 39.95
Usually we would round our numbers to one decimal place, but if we did we would not only be axing Ingrid Klimke, but we also liked having Six Super Six Year Olds! Ingrid contested five internationals in total with Glenn Grant 5 and she won all five. Just two of them came in his six year old season but was good enough to rank him 6th in our six year olds of the last ten years of international eventing. Worth mentioning of course that Ingrid’s Weisse Düne is the current 7 year old World Champion.
5 – RICONA FST | MICHAEL JUNG | GER
Six Year Old Year: 2013
Average Finishing Score: 39.86
With finishing scores of 48.5 and 48.3 in her first two internationals, Ricona FST had work to do in order to drop her average below the 40 barrier. But, she had the maestro on board and her third international resulted in 2nd place on a score of 35.6. She soon followed up with two international victories on scores of 34.9 and then a 32.0 at Varsseveld which was enough to see her slot in to 5th place and take pride of place as the only mare in our line up. On the 6th June 2014, aged just seven years old, Ricona FST won the Wiesbaden CIC3 star on a score of 36.6. We haven’t seen her in a while but thankfully, her older sister FISCHERROCANA FST is doing the family proud.
4 – STAR CONNECTION | MICHAEL JUNG | GER
Six Year Old Year: 2014
Average Finishing Score: 37.47
It’s that guy again! Michael Jung slots in a second horse and this one looks to be very special indeed. Star Connection’s six year old season saw him contest six internationals, never finish outside the top five, and win four internationals including the Le Lion d’Angers 6 year old World Championships. Obviously, the average finishing score of 37.5 is pretty outstanding too. Unlike stablemate Ricona FST, Michael kept this boy at one-star level throughout his seven and eight year old seasons. However, this season, now at the age of nine, he flew through the grades and landed Michi his first Event Rider Masters leg at the Jardy CIC3*. Star by name….
3 – OSLO | WILLIAM FOX-PITT | GBR
Six Year Old Year: 2008
Average Finishing Score: 36.80
Germany may dominate with 50% of the top six, but it’s time for Great Britain to step into the limelight next. Of course it nice to have big William Fox-Pitt on the leaderboard, but in Oslo we also have a four-star winner, and we love those! It was 2008 when Oslo’s two internationals netted an average total score of 36.8. Both appearances were international wins and, like Star Connection, Le Lion d’Angers accounted for one of those. Oslo went on to add the Blenheim 8&9 CIC3* title, the CCI3* at Tattersalls and the Pau four-star to his CV of international wins. Wow, this list is good…!
2 – BILLY WALK ON | PIPPA FUNNELL | GBR
Six Year Old Year: 2015
Average Finishing Score: 36.60
Did she make it? Of course she did! Pippa Funnell was the only winner of the Rolex Grand Slam for well over a decade, and while the likes of Fox-Pitt, Nicholson, Townend and Hoy have all come very close, only Mr Jung has managed to equal the achievement. Pippa produces horses as well as anyone and it is no surprise to see one of the offspring of the Billy stud represented here in Billy Walk On. Again, just two international appearances for this boy as a six year old, both of them victories and the average finishing score is a scorcher – 35.6. Last year he went to Le Lion d’Angers for the 7 year old championships and finished runner-up. An exciting prospect for Team GBR!
1 – AKD COOLEY LOCKDOWN | KATIE O’SULLIVAN | IRL
Six Year Old Year: 2017
Average Finishing Score: 35.45
In 10 years of international eventing (2008 to 2017), in over 175,000 international results, the six year old horse with the best average finishing score over two or more international appearances hails from Ireland! Not only that, he represents one of the most in-form horse producers in the world with two graduates recently landing a famous Blenheim double – Cooley Cross Border (CCI3*) and Cooley Lands (CIC3* 8&9). AKD Cooley Lockdown has not only won his two international starts, but he has done so with record finishing scores that place his jockey, Katie O’Sullivan, ahead of Klimke, Jung, Fox-Pitt and Funnell. Cooley Rorkes Drift provided Ireland with an Olympic top ten placing in 2016, maybe 2020 could see the record breaking six year old make the podium? Remember where you heard it first!