The dispute surrounding the age of event horse Bonza Chit Chat, who won the four-year-old section of this year’s PAVO BE Breeding Championships, has been resolved.
British Eventing has accepted that Marie Ryan entered the mare as a four-year-old in good faith, based on information given when she acquired the horse in 2003. Following the error, Bonza Chit Chat’s owners Marie Ryan and Antoni Nabozni have volunteered to relinquish the title and £1,000 prize money, which BE has accepted.
British Eventing chief executive, Peter Durrant, said: “The situation was a difficult one as there are always two sides to any story. I am 100% confident that there was no ill intent on Marie’s behalf and believe she has done the honourable thing in volunteering to stand down.”
The title now passes to the four-year-old bay 16.1 stallion, Up With The Lark, who is owned by Sarah Taylor and ridden by Michael Jackson. Up With The Lark is by Welton Apollo, out of the advanced event mare, Magical Lark, and is believed to be the only stallion currently eventing with parents who both hold SHB(GB) elite graded status.
“I’m very pleased to have won the title as the horse couldn’t have gone better on the day,” Michael told HHO. “He was very consistent all year, being placed second in the eventing section of the SEIB Young Horse Evaluation Series championship at the Royal Show and also qualifying for the Burghley Young Event Horse Final.”
With top class breeding and obvious talent, Michael believes Up With The Lark is a real horse for the future.
“We recently started doing some affiliated jumping with him and he won his first class. He is going to have some semen taken in February, which will be available through AI, then the plan is to start pre-novice classes next season and aim for the five-year-old title at the PAVO championships.”
There was some speculation that Up With The Lark should have been given a refusal at the first fence on the cross-country course at the PAVO championships, but BE reviewed the incident and has confirmed that the horse had a clear round.
Michael explains: “He did spook on the way to the first fence, but we didn’t turn a circle and he went on from about three strides out to jump it clear. We definitely didn’t have a stop.”
1. Up with the Lark, owned by Sarah Taylor, ridden by Michael Jackson
2. George Elliot, owned and ridden by Sacha Pemble
3. Festina Lente IV, owned by Diana Morrish, ridden by Emily Baldwin
4. Trebetherick, owned by Preci Spark Ltd, ridden by Sarah Cutteridge
5. Classic Juan, owned and ridden by Victoria Rayment
6. Norwich Lad, owned and ridden by Gemma Sayers