Are these the equine stars of the future? Meet the youngsters who caught our eye at the Blue Chip Championships

  • During last week’s Blue Chip Winter Showjumping Championships (6-10 April) we spotted a wealth of talented young horses who look set to take the showjumping world by storm. Here are six potential superstars, who really caught our eye – watch this space!

    KIMBA CASTELLO: a competitive eight-year-old, also known as “Mr Grumpy”

    Holly Smith lifted the Blue Chip Pro challenge trophy on Kimba Castello (pictured, above), for owner-breeder Kim Barzilay.

    “Carlo” recently won a good string of four-star 1.40/1.45m classes on the Andalucia Sunshine Tour. “He’s been jumping well, now he’s back indoors but it doesn’t bother him; he’s competitive,” says Holly of the Castello Overcinge’s Z x Heartbreaker gelding, who will stay at 1.45m level for the time being.

    “He’s only eight and always tries his heart out,” adds Holly. “We call him ‘Mr Grumpy’ at home – he’d never bite or kick but likes to pull faces. He’s straightforward and easy and is always pleased to see a jump.”

    CSF KILKISHEN: a faultless auction purchase

    Isobel Stenning landed the Voltaire Design winter novice title on CSF Kilkishen (pictured above), a Mylord Carthago x Lancer III seven-year-old, who was a chance buy from Goresbridge Sales. “This win is one of the highlights, especially as I’ve produced him myself,” says Isobel, 18. “He’s my first auction horse, we bought him on livestream. We’d only seen videos and the first time we met him was when he came off the lorry,” explained Isobel. “I can’t fault him. He’d only done one show in Ireland and he’s very laid back; I had to make sure we’d got enough power when warming up.”

    RARITY: a “deceptively quick” mare, who wants to get on with things

    A British-bred seven-year-old won the Joshua Jones discovery championship for rider Bex Mason and owners Suzanne Beddoes and Niki Caine. The Argento x Abdullah seven-year-old Rarity (pictured above) topped a 27-strong jump-off. “I didn’t think there was any room for improvement but she’s deceptively quick,” says Bex, who got the ride 12 months ago. “She previously evented but she’s buzzy and wants to get on with it. She’s also fussy in her mouth so I changed her into a hackamore; now she’s settled.”

    MANZANITA: unfazed and flawless

    Jess Botham took the Blue Chip Dynamic B&C title with Jane Starkey’s home-bred Manzanita (pictured above).

    “This is only her second show since January – I’ve been competing in Spain for the past seven weeks and she’s spent time in the field,” says Jess.

    Former eventer Jane started getting the Cevin Z x Gunner B eight-year-old fit five weeks ago, with Jess popping her around a Weston Lawns 1.20m before competing at the Blue Chip Championships. “She’s so level, doesn’t spook and jumped at Horse of the Year Show last year so I knew she’d be fine with the flowers and tradestand distractions,” says Jess.

    DILLINGER NE: “worth getting up for in a morning”

    The Blue Chip Karma performance final went to Mark Edwards riding Dillinger NE (pictured above), a seven-year-old Diarado x Carsimo gelding bred locally in Gloucestershire by Ros and Dennis Palmer.

    “He’s still green against the clock – turning but not attacking the fences – but he’s easy and straightforward and improving; he’s worth getting up for in a morning,” says joint-owner Mark, who was originally brought the gelding to be broken in. “He won Keysoe International six-year-old grand prix in December having jumped 16 consecutive double clears – and he’s added to that since.”

    GWEN STEFANI SHO Z: taking her first big show in her stride

    Courtney Young landed the Blue Chip Joint RLF power championship on Maxine and Steve Locke’s Gwen Stefani Sho Z (pictured above). “It’s so unexpected, it’s her first big show but she took the atmosphere in her stride,” says Courtney, 19, who acquired the seven-year-old mare from Jamie Wingrove two years ago. “She’s always shown potential although she was green and spooky and used to run after landing over a fence. I let her roll in her own way and she now wears a titanium mask which has helped enormously.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...