Only two of a large entry impressed judges Geoff Glazzard and Charlie Edwards sufficiently to gain approved status at the Anglo-European Studbook grading at Solihull, writes Suzanne Jones.
Although mainly show jumpers were forward, some aspiring dressage sires were under scrutiny. The first approval went to a horse from that discipline, the Pillings’ Pilling Audio. This five-year-old is by the Donnerhall stallion De Niro out of a Hohenstein mare. With Silvia Schorn, the Hanovarian gave a good account of himself, displaying excellent paces.
“He had the athleticism you hope will pass on to future generations,” said Geoff Glazzard.
Paul Clarke’s show jumper Shannondale Macalla made his trip from Ireland worthwhile by gaining approval. By Cavalier Royale out of a Clover Hill mare, this horse has already notched up a second place in this year’s Spanish Sunshine Tour seven-year-old final and a win at Podebrady, alongside Irish grand prix victories.
“He’s uncomplicated and soft; a good model,” said Charlie Edwards.
Six stallions were awarded licences, with John and Clare Whitaker’s home-bred Calvaro Z four-year-old, Calova, particularly impressive. The son of a Persian Glory mare was ridden here by Louise Whitaker. He has competed very lightly, with two shows at Weston Lawns and a couple of outings at Markfield to his name.
Henry Lacey’s nine-year-old Oldenburger Cardoso, whose bloodlines trace to Capitol and Landgraf I, gained a licence. Also graded was Martin Dawes’s Contender son Concetto, a scopey six-year-old currently jumping at newcomers level with Richard Davenport.
Some potential stars emerged from the loose-jumping and were duly licensed. Old Lodge’s Fahad — a home-bred three-year-old by the Concorde son Renkum Valentino out of a Jus De Pomme mare — showed a level head, scope and style. He will now be prepared for competition.
Taking everything in his stride, despite never having left home before, Helen van Heyningen’s Darius also gained a licence after displaying a super jump. By the elite stallion It’s The Business out of Helen’s former grade A mare, Gordon’s Twist, the big bay is from a match that has worked well in the past.
Brendon Stud’s Duc D’Arsouilles made up the trio. This eye-catching son of the Heartbreaker stallion Quasimodo Van De Molendreef out of a daughter of Nabab De Reve was spotted in Belgium by stud owner Cyril Light 12 months ago.
Several horses gained registered status, including Mike Dawson’s two embryo transfer foals out of the good performer Amanda Lear.
The four-year-old liver chestnut Mystical II and his brother, an unnamed three-year-old who bears an uncanny resemblance to his dam, are both by Mike’s Voltaire stallion Jalisco.
Arkida, a four-year-old owned and bred by Nick Skelton by Arko out of the former international mare Florida, was also registered.
“It was good to see more British-bred horses coming through,” said Geoff Glazzard.
British Warm-Blood Society
Of the 21 potential stallions who came to Hartpury for the British Warm-Blood Society (BWBS) stallion grading, nine were approved. Two of these were brought forward for the championship — Lynne Crowden’s two-year-old Wesuvio, by the British-based Weltmeyer son Walentino out of Lynne’s premium Sao Paulo mare, Savannah, and Katrina Cantrell-Bennett and Wala Ghandour’s four-year-old British-bred Santano (Sandro Hit-Brentano II).
“It is difficult to choose one against the other when they’re different ages,” said German judge Dr Helmut Gebhardt, who, with Dr Eberhard Senckenberg, presided over the grading.
They selected the immaculately produced black Wesuvio as champion — the fourth consecutive title for Lynne Crowden’s Woodlander Stud.
“He is a very typey horse with solid limbs and hooves and he showed a good jump,” said Dr Gebhardt.
Wesuvio, aka Smokey, is out of the same mare as Woodlander Rockstar, grading champion here in 2004.
“Savannah’s a really super mum,” said Lynne of the supreme champion broodmare at last year’s British Dressage breeding show.
While Santano was bred by Cheryl Mitchell in Hertfordshire, he went to Germany and came back to England in May.
“He was bought purely as a competition horse, so this is an added bonus,” said Katrina Cantrell-Bennett.
While good-moving Thoroughbreds are much in demand in warmblood breeding, it is not often that they come forward for grading. But this year, two were presented.
“You can be proud of this one,” said Dr Gebhardt of Tim and Vanessa Cheffings’s good-looking home-bred seven-year-old Downe Right Rebel, who was following in the footsteps of his sire Mayhill, who also graded with the society.
Carlton Sports Horse Stud’s older Chase The Ace, a son of the 1989 Derby winner Nashwan, is already an advanced dressage horse. Both Thoroughbreds showed good activity over jumps.
Carolyn Bates, of Grafham Stud in Devon, added another two stallions to her stud card; Free Spirit, a coloured son of her prolific Jumbo, and the recently imported Wizard B, who is described as “a practical stallion, always ready to work”. He is by the popular Trakehner Gribaldi.
Others to pass the assessment were Rachan Sport Horses’ Wonderful Van’t Zwaanenheike (Rhodium-Vincent); Lee Pearson’s Refarge (Rohdiamant-Rosenkavalier), and Sue Griffin’s First Way (Furst Heinrich-Parademarsch).
Many owners were disappointed, but Dr Gebhardt consoled them with the fact that the result here — a 50% pass rate — was no different to this year’s German licensing in Verden.
“We are always looking to improve the breed,” said Dr Gebhardt. “We look for type, suppleness, gaits and elasticity and our view is that movement and elasticity are most lacking. But the quality of stallions has improved enormously over the 20 years I have been judging in England.”