A packed house at Hartpury College enjoyed some exciting sport on the first day of the first major show jumping show since the centre’s multi-million pound revamp.

A £40,000 prize-fund attracted some of the country’s best riders and there was good money on offer in every class. And Helen Tredwell’s round on the amazing Opportunity B to take the £1,000 prize in the major class of the day certainly lived up the show’s billing as a Spectacular.

Twenty-one reached the jump-off in the gold tour class, where Guy Williams set a good standard on Skip Two Ramiro. But an absolutely brilliant round from Helen reduced the time by 2.5sec and no one could get near her. The closest challenger was penultimate-drawn Mark Armstrong, who was still 2sec in arrears on Lavaletta.

Helen had not been too hopeful beforehand because “Oppy” was just back from a holiday.

“But with 21 in the jump-off and only 20 to qualify for the grand prix, I had to have a go,” she said.

Berkshire-based teenager Laura Mantel was the star of the first two classes — the Blue Chip Performance and Dynamic qualifiers. Her early round on the little mare Truly Scrumptious proved too good for her rivals in the former, while her Olympia young riders ride, Fair Chance II, got ready in exactly the right way by taking the Dynamic honours.

“That’s it for this show. I couldn’t have had a better warm-up,” said Laura.

The main classes at this show are divided into bronze (1.25m); silver (1.35m) and gold (1.45m) tours. The opening bronze tour two-phase produced a hugely popular winner in one of the most local riders, Johnathan Bowman, who galloped to victory from final draw on Marcel Des Rosiers.

Johnathan had plenty of problems en route to his win. His lorry broke down close to the venue and he arrived too late to walk the course or watch any of his rivals.

“I just followed the numbers and hoped I took the right course in the jump-off,” joked Johnathan.

Carron Nicol has enjoyed a terrific season with her stallion Hollywood, a horse she has owned since he was two. They added to their record here by heading a classy 26-horse silver tour jump-off from ninth draw. Their closest challenge came from Ireland’s Billy Twomey on a new ride, another stallion, Goldex.

Warwickshire-based Carron has been dealing in horses for 25 years, but Hollywood is not for sale.

“He’s my favourite horse and he’s more like a pet to me,” she explained.

RESULTS

Blue Chip Karma Performance
1. Truly Scrumptious III (Laura Mantel)
2. Twister (Matt Lanni)
3. Urval (Andy Austin)

Blue Chip Dynamic B & C
1. Fair Chance II (Laura Mantel)
2. Murka’s Nevada (Peter Charles)
3. Frankland (Tina Fletcher)

Woof Wear Bronze Tour 2-phase
1. Marcel Des Rosiers (Johnathan Bowman)
2. Just Teasing (Alec Trickett)
3. Keano (Grace Horsley)

Marquis VMS Silver Tour jump-off
1. Hollywood (Carron Nicol)
2. Goldex (Billy Twomey)
3. Power (Chris Smith)

Gold tour jump-off
1. Opportunity B (Helen Tredwell)
2. Lavaletta II (Mark Armstrong)
3. Skip Two Ramiro (Guy Williams)