Ronnie Jones adds the six-year-old final to Kaleche’s four- and five-year-old titles, while a Scottish rider claims the technical two-star grand prix at the Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships, held at Bolesworth Castle in Cheshire
NEW champions were crowned from record entries of future stars competing in the vast international arena with its beautiful castle backdrop in rolling Cheshire countryside at the Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships.
Ronnie Jones made a triumphant return with Ruth Dowie’s Kaleche to take the Windmill Farm Estate six-year-old championship, 12 months after heading the five-year-old title. They also finished equal first in the four-year-old championship.
The initial 128 entries were reduced to 59 for the final with 14 contending the jump-off. The clear round bonus money and the opportunity to qualify for the World Breeding Championships in Lanaken, Belgium, added to the pressure and shaped riders’ tactics. It didn’t faze Ronnie and he stormed to victory by three seconds, won a share of the £4,000 bonus and is in consideration for Lanaken.
The bonus is offered in the five, six and seven-year-olds to horses jumping clear in both qualifiers and the final. Three shared the six-year-old cash to pick up £1,334 each – Ronnie with Kaleche, Joe Trunkfield aboard RSH Deal Breaker (Action Breaker x Lux Z) and Lucy Townley on Billy Marionette (Cevin Z x Billy Congo).
The F One USA x Nassau mare Kaleche was purchased as a two-year-old by Ruth Dowie of Runningwell Sport Horses and proved a winner from the off. This year has been phenomenal, with the Windsor six-year-old title and the Big Star national six-year-old championship as well as qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) newcomers.
“She’s laid-back, easy-going and even lazy at home – if you saw her bumbling around the school you wouldn’t think a lot of her, but she gives you a good feeling in the ring. She loves the atmosphere and rises to the occasion. When I say we need to go up 10 gears, she’s ready and reliable – that’s what makes her special,” said Ronnie.
Kaleche can also be tagged as a working mum with embryo transfer foals on the ground this year and a promising two-year-old colt by Invictus.
QUALITY was evident in the 13-horse jump-off to decide the Al Shira’aa seven-year-old champion, but Jack Ryan scythed two seconds off the leading time to win on brand-new ride Operette Van De Koekoek (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Skippy II). Jack is stable jockey for Shane Breen and on the Rolex young riders academy under Scott Brash.
“Shane only bought her two weeks ago and I’ve jumped her a couple of times with Scott. She’s laid-back and easy, the course was delicate but she’s super-careful,” said Jack, who was aided in the jump-off by the mare’s former rider Michael Duffy, who sent him a video of the leader at that point, Trevor Breen on Jicarla T.
“I thought, ‘That’s not me,’ then realised it was Trevor’s jump-off round so I knew exactly what I had to do.”
Three claimed the seven-year-old bonus for £1,334 each – Jack on Operette, fellow Irish competitor Jessica Burke with Ashdale Divine (Luidam x Lux Z) and Graham Gillespie on Ovidius VD Donkhoeve (Zirocco Blue x Chin Chin).
The Dallamires Stables five-year-old championship was a shout for British breeding as the top four from an original 143 starters were British, Megan James claiming victory on John and Laura Renwick’s Labatt.
The Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve x Orlando gelding bred by Devon-based Edward Bleekman was purchased on his bloodlines as the full brother to Laura’s former top ride Bintang.
“Laura’s ridden him once and said he’s unbelievably similar to ‘Bing’,” said Megan, who got the ride when she joined the Renwick’s Essex base in December. “He’s destined for the top and can jump big jumps. I don’t want her to ride him again, she’ll pinch him!”
The last three weeks haven’t been all plain sailing. A freak accident resulted in a startled Labatt spooking as Megan cleaned his hind feet and kicking her teeth out.
“A private dentist and £10,000 later and I’ve got new teeth. He’s slowly paying me back and he got kicked himself in the warm-up just before we went in. I thought, ‘Disaster!’ but he wasn’t fazed and trotted sound,” explained Megan.
Six claimed a share of the bonus – Lottie Tutt on Billy Legend (Cevin Z x Riesling Du Monselet), Laura Renwick’s NFS Angelina (Arko x Couleur Rubin), Millie Allen on Be Magic Cornet (Cornet Obolensky x Cambridge), John Crippen’s Bennys Kelly (Tullibards Bennys Legacy x Harlequin Du Carel), Aoife O’Connor on Lucardo O (Eldorado VD Zeshoek x Heartbreaker) and William Whitaker with Lancaster (Tangelo VD Zuuthoeve x Indoctro).
Four-year-old style and performance
Chloe Reynolds produced two smooth, impressive rounds to claim the 82-strong four-year-old style and performance class by one point on Sally Jobson-Scott’s German-bred Domination F Z (Dominator 2000 Z x Piano II).
“He’s a big, strong four-year-old, but kind and gentle and so easy to ride. He has so much scope he finds it all effortless, although he’s sensitive and needed a look-see round the arena. But he improved every time and walked into the presentation like an old grand prix horse,” said Chloe.
Irish-based international sport horse agent Barry O’Connor, who was judging, said: “It was tight – only six marks split the top five. The presentation and production were at an impressively high standard.
“The horses needed a forward canter, balance and rideability in that big arena and Domination was scopey, quick in front and balanced with a good attitude.”
Twenty horses shared a clear-round bonus prize of £2,000.
Smith secures two-star victory
THE young horse championships were complemented by the international schedule, with Scotland’s James Smith claiming a Hollywood-style victory in the final draw of the world ranking Al Shira’aa two-star grand prix on the feisty Simply Splendid.
The 13-fence 1.45m track set by course-designer Raf Suarez caught out many of the 49 starters with the final line of oxer to vertical double to a square water tray oxer to finish proving most influential.
“All the fences came quickly, it wasn’t massive but the lines were technical with all the questions you’d expect,” said James.
Just three provided clears with another three on one frustrating time-fault each. They were joined in the jump-off by the fastest of the four-faulters under the rule that the 25% go through to the jump-off carrying their faults, making 13 for the final decider.
Several of the four-faulters jumped clear second time out, but were relegated by William Whitaker carrying one time-fault jumping a foot-perfect clear aboard Galtur.
He held on to the lead until Ireland’s Jenny Rankin posted a double clear on Carmela Z. In turn, she dropped to second as James came home 1.88sec quicker on “Simon” to pocket £7,788.
“He had one down in both the qualifiers, but managed to sneak qualification and got better as the show went on,” said James, who will now give the Ustinov x Cavalier 12-year-old a couple of quiet weeks. “He’s just back from a three-month break and I’m happy with this. He’s very opinionated, but the more he bucks and swishes his tail – he’s always done it and doesn’t make it easy for himself – the better he jumps. He’s easy to work with, just has that bit of attitude.”
Anthony Condon narrowly claimed the first 1.40m two-phase with the Hales family’s Zira VH Kapelhof Z with 0.08sec to spare over Ava Vernon’s junior European individual gold medallist Jolie Fleur Van De Noordheuvel.
“She’s an athlete, naturally fast, doesn’t want to touch the jumps and fights for the win,” said Anthony of the Zurich x Quickfeuer Van Koekshof 12-year-old, who wears a mask.
“It isn’t titanium, just a normal mask, but it helps dull out the sound and the feeling on her face is like a comfort blanket; she’s feisty and it keeps her settled.”
Faye Adams’ late draw on Demograaf in an 83-strong two-star 1.40 two-phase snatched victory by 0.19sec and denied Anthony a second win.
A double winner here in July and newly crowned national 1.30m champion, Faye was determined to maintain their form after lowering the last with the fastest time the day before.
“He goes well here but spooks at the [arena perimeter] moat so I took inside lines to the double and combination and tight to the [penultimate] oxer. He’s only 16hh but if I believe, he believes and he was fighting for the win,” said Faye.
Ronnie Jones topped Saturday’s 1.35m two-phase on Ruth Dowie’s Interstar B, outpacing their 67 rivals by 0.48sec.
The I’m Special De Muze x Ohorn VDL eight-year-old joined Essex-based Ronnie three years ago and is a HOYS grade C finalist.
“He’s like a naughty child, bucks and squeals from sheer pleasure, but he’s a winner and couldn’t try any harder. He’s focused and better behaved in the ring, while at home he’s a know-it-all,” said Ronnie.
JAY HALIM claimed a hat-trick, doubling up in the one-star 1.15m classes with Eva Bjorkman’s Billy Cointreau and taking a two-star 1.35m two-phase on Emelie Marsh’s Baltimore x Quite Easy 11-year-old Winning Moon.
“Winning Moon is careful, consistent at 1.35 and 1.40m, and getting the hang of winning. I’m looking to move him up a level,” he said.
The Billy Congo x Feinschnitt 11-year-old Cointreau joined Jay a year ago.
“We decided jumping bigger classes wasn’t for him and he went back to jumping 1m to regain his confidence. It’s horses for courses, he’s now in a happy place and very consistent at this level,” said Jay.
Derek Morton jumped his first show for a month with Zoe Snedker’s KBS High Quality and claimed the final two-star 1.35m in a 16-horse decider with 0.45sec in hand.
“He last jumped in the puissance here [and won alongside two others sharing first place]. He was a little ring rusty on day one and we didn’t qualify for the grand prix, but he feels happy in himself, his owners have gone home happy and he has his spring back,” said Derek.
Laura Renwick outpaced 89 rivals to take Thursday’s two-star 1.30m by 0.36sec with the home-bred eight-year-old Symphony (Parco x Tristan De Quelen), who she describes as “careful, competitive and ready to step up.”
“Symphony’s laid-back and needs to go on a tour and grow up now,” said Laura’s husband John, who has two embryos from this mare by Arko this time as he continues with his successful breeding programme.
Georgia Tame claimed a fast 13-horse two-star 1.30m jump-off by 0.30sec on her home-bred eight-year-old Don VHP Z daughte Donavaya.
“She’s out of an old pony of mine by Argentinus – she was a twin so she was small,” said Georgia. “Donavaya hadn’t done much until jumping a few classes abroad last year. Now she’ll step up and is hopefully my next grand prix horse. She’s sharp like her mother but ultra-careful and likes to be ridden forward like Don VHP.”
A full-throttle ride and drive relay got the heart racing as riders galloped round a short track before jumping into a BMW X5 to be driven by their partner in crime through a course of cones.
A partnership set in the bar the night before was a match made in heaven as Ben Walker and Vicky Mitson of Science Supplements maxed on their collaboration to win by seven seconds.
Ben rode Heidiemorka – a recent winner for Pennie Cornish’s daughter Chloe – and took every risk, with a Pony Club kick to jump the last Superman-style, while Vicky proved to be the female version of Lewis Hamilton.
“I’m just glad Heidi picked up at the last fence,” said Ben.
Tabitha Kyle takes five classes
PONY rider phenomenon Tabitha Kyle, 14, conquered in all five pony classes. Su and Gordon Hall’s Irish-bred 12-year-old Gangnam Style II topped the three 148cm classes and Playboy Van De Zoetewei came to the fore in both 138cms. Tabitha also claimed many places, notably scoring a one-two-three in a 138cm class with Playboy, Mister Proper and Another Barney.
“I don’t feel pressure with Playboy, we know each other so well and he’ll jump anything for me. There was more pressure drawn last of two in the jump-off in the final 148cm. ‘GG’ [Gangnam Style] is a different ride to my other ponies, big-boned and looks like a donkey on a leadrope, but when you sit on him you feel the jump and I know he can do it,” said Tabitha.
- This report will also be available to read in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 26 August
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