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So Near but So Far – Robert narrowly misses out on Winning 200,000 Euro Grand Prix in La Baule

Robert Smith and Talan were just one of the eleven clears (out of 47 starters) to go through to the jump-off to stake their claim to the phenomenal La Baule 200,000 Euro Grand Prix.  

Going through in reverse order, Robert was third last to go and looked set to take the lead but a slight touch lowered the last the fence which plummeted him down to 8th place.   “To have the last fence down was gutting because Talan was jumping so well,” said Robert.  “His performance is amazing considering this was only his sixth time competing since Olympia.  He is definitely a world-class horse in the making.”

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Talan Terrific in La Baule FEI Nations Cup

Talan, the 11 year old stallion owned by Robert Smith with Di and Pennie Cornish, was once again ‘on fire’ in the opening round of the FEI Nations Cup Series in La Baule (France) 13 May for the British team.

Talan jumped a foot perfect clear round in the first leg but was just 0.45 seconds over the time and so incurred a time fault.  In the second round, he had an unlucky pole finishing on a total score of 5.  Only Talan and Nick Skelton’s Carlo jumped clear for the British team (which also comprised David McPherson and Peter Charles) producing the best rounds for the Brits.  Team GB finished 4th. Results were as follows 1st Ireland (13), 2nd Belgium (15), 3rd Germany (16), 4th Great Britain (18).

The next FEI Nations Cup round takes place in Rome 26/29 May.

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Talan 3rd in 40,000 Euro Grand Prix, CSIO Lummen

Not to be outdone by his stable companion, Balourado, Talan made a triumphant return after his break for breeding and was one of only four clear rounds out of a total of 47 competitors in the main Grand Prix (Lummen, 1 May 2011).  Jumping a double clear, Talan finished in a very credible third place in this challenging competition.   Talented Talan, a BSJA Gold Elite stallion, was the highest placed British show jumping horse in last year’s Kentucky World Equestrian Games. He is in huge demand at stud and will be KWPN approved this year.

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Balourado in Winning Form at CSIO Lummen

Robert’s grey gelding, Balourado, was in winning form in Belgium at CSIO Lummen (28 April 2011) in the 1.40m Speed Class.  This follows a successful outing in the World Cup in S’Hertogenbosch in which he jumped a convincing clear.  The talented 11 year old Dutch Warmblood is by Baloubet du Rouet and without doubt, an exciting prospect for the future.

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Successful Olympia for Robert

Robert’s horses were all on form at Olympia notching up a double win on Raging Bull Vangelis S in the Christmas Pudding Stakes and Six Bar competitions.

Talan also finished 2nd in the Speed Stakes while Balourado was 4th in the Christmas Masters.

A stylish early clear on Talan in Sunday’s World Cup Qualifier meant that Robert was one of the early riders to tackle the twisty jump-off.  Deciding “to give it a go” a fast round turned out costly with a lowered pole.

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Although originally a Reserve for the British Show Jumping team taking part in the Alltech World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, USA (October 2010), it was Robert Smith on the stallion he owns jointly with Di and Pennie Cornish, who emerged the only British contenders to qualify for the Individual Final.

Earlier in the week, Talan competing with 120 riders from 37 nations went clear to finish 14th in the Speed Competition on the first day of the competition.  Day two also went well for Robert when he produced a superb round on Talan in the Team competition with just a time fault which left him 8th in the individual standings, the highest of the British riders.  Team GBR were left in 10th place at the end of Day 2.

The pressure was on for Day 3 for Team GBR (Robert Smith, Michael Whitaker, David McPherson and Scott Brash).  Robert was first to go under the floodlights and started brilliantly but had two unlucky rails down.  Team fortunes did not improve when David McPherson’s horse became unnerved and was forced to retire.  Scott Brash had 4 faults, with a clear this time coming from Michael Whitaker.  The team managed to move up a place to 9th in a contest won by Germany.

Although Robert was the only rider to qualify for the Individual Final, just getting into the top 30,  having had three fences down in the first round, he opted to withdraw Talan sayin: “He’s done enough and we weren’t going to make the top four so there was no point jumping the final round.  I’m really pleased with how he’s gone throughout the Games and once more Talan has proved he’s a great horse.”

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Talan and Robert Smith were flying once again in Canada, this time finishing 5th in the richest show jumping grand prix in the world to take a share of the $1,000,000 prize money.  The 10 year old stallion owned jointly by Pennie Cornish and Robert Smith, had an unlucky pole and time fault but was the highest placed British rider in the competition securing $50,000.

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In a nail biting Longines King George V Cup at RIHS at Hickstead, Talan was once again in top form with Robert Smith, and only narrowly missed out on the title to finish second winning a £40,000 prize. With seven clears, Robert was second to go into the jump-off – again putting in a copybook clear round performance – but not wanting to take too many risks on speed in the knowledge that a clear could win the coveted prize.  One by one, the other riders followed and each notched up 4 faults. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, last to go Tim Stockdale upped the pace on Kalico Bay to narrowly defeat the on-form Talan.  A great performance once again from Talan.

Raging Bull Vangelis S also finished second in the Sky Sports Speed Classic with a faultless round.

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Robert Smith finished =3rd in the famous DFS Hickstead Derby on Talan collecting an unlucky 4 faults on this talented stallion, who otherwise jumped an immaculate round.  Raging Bull Vangelis S just found himself in the ribbons too in the Derby line-up with two down putting him in 10th place.

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Robert Smith finished fifth yesterday (Sunday 16 May) in the challenging Hamburg Derby riding Raging Bull Vangelis S.  They were the highest placed British horse/rider combination in this prestigious German show jumping derby finishing on 8 penalties.
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