Louise Saywell’s rising stable star Kingsborough Kasper came of age to score an emphatic win in the Dodson & Horrell Bolesworth International Horse Show CSI3* grand prix (3 July).
The nine-year-old stallion, owned by Ian and Ruth Dowie, was the FEI leading seven-year-old in the world in 2020, and has graduated from child prodigy to back-to-back international grand prix winner.
“He wants to win. He loves being competitive as much as I do,” said Louise.
“The last four grands prix he has been double clear and top five, he won his last one in the CSI2* at Keysoe (11 June). This was a big step up for him, as he hadn’t done a 1.50m before, but he has got a lot of talent.
“He has always been very consistent, he was the world-leading seven-year-old. Once you step up to these ranking classes at two- and three-star, it’s a different ball game. We always believed he could do it, but until they are doing it, you never know.
“You expect a horse to have to find his way at the higher jumps, getting used to jumping them. But for him to go straight in and do that was something else.”
The pair’s line to the last fence was the deciding factor in their victory. Kasper appeared to hang a little, giving Louise an anxious moment, but their bravery paid off and they landed clear, stopping the clock more than a second ahead of runners up Sweden’s Angelie von Essen and Daniel.
The top 25% of the 50 starters (13 competitors) were brought back for the second round, carrying their faults from the first. This gives these classes a different dynamic, as it is possible for competitors who had faults in the first round to leapfrog those who jumped clear.
Three riders started the second round on zero scores – and all three maintained their clean sheets to finish on the podium.
“The time was something you had to be very mindful of, you had to cut those corners and really keep thinking about it. As you saw from William Funnell [and Equine America Billy Diamo], he jumped clear and had four time faults,” added Louise. “Now it’s not one time-fault for every four seconds, and it’s one time-fault for every second, it’s very influential.”
Angelie and great grey jumping stallion Daniel, owned by James Davenport, bounced across Louis Konickx’s lofty, delicately built tracks.
“He is 14 now and is just getting better every year,” she said. “I thought it was an amazing build and the time was absolutely spot on, you had to move on a bit. The course was big, but not crazy big, it was really fine and technical – you needed to ride it.”
She added that she is not a fan of the 25% format as it doesn’t encourage riders to take as many risks as perhaps they would do if everyone was on a starting score of zero.
Robert Murphy and the aptly named How Easy penned their names as ones to watch in future with a classy double clear to finish third.
“I had planned to not take as many risks as I would have liked, just to try and secure the position I had,” said Robert, reflecting on the impact others carrying first-round faults had on his tactics.
“As the slowest of the [three] first-round clears, I was first of those to jump in the second round. I wanted to secure that third place and to make Louise and Angelie chase me a little bit and cause them to fault. They managed to get in front of me, but I was really happy. It went as planned so I can’t complain.
“We’ve been knocking on the door of a big result and it’s good to finally get one.”
The 10-year-old Talan son is relatively inexperienced for his age. He only stepped up from newcomers last year, but he and his 21-year-old rider performed with composure and maturity to secure the first clear in the 50-strong class.
“I thought the first round walked quite tough. I thought the lines were quite difficult. I didn’t think it was overly big, but it was big enough to make us struggle with the distances,” he said. “There were a few really delicate jumps, like the planks, that caused a lot of issues. The vertical before the combination I thought was quite difficult to jump. as well as the combination and I think the time forced us to travel and [competitors] to make faults. I thought his timing was perfect, all three of us just sneaked inside.”
While faults were generally spread across the course, there were a few hotspots. The first part of the music note oxer at 5a, on a curving line of either seven or eight strides from the red and green oxer, caught plenty out in the early stages of the 13-fence track. The white planks at fence seven, the middle part of a related distance, spent a significant amount of time on the floor. Fence 9, an orange upright on a roll-back turn to the turquoise treble at fence 10abc, and the Dodson & Horrell upright at fence 12 all ended multiple hopes of grand prix glory.
Robert added he has worked closely with How Easy’s owners David and Julie Andrews, who co-own the horse with Sandra Low-Mitchell, to form a solid partnership with the gelding.
“Julie rode him, so she knows him really well. We select his classes really carefully to step him up comfortably, as he’s a really careful horse,” he said. “He’s just gone from strength to strength all this time.”
Those in fourth to seventh places all jumped clear in the second round, to finish on their first round scores of four faults, meaning that time again proved the deciding factor.
Adrian Speight and Millfield Baloney were fourth in the fastest time of the class over the second round (46.04 seconds), with Anna Power and Mcqueen in fifth (47.18) and Yazmin Davis on Zanbowa Z sixth (48.13).
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