Britain’s top young horses crowned

The young stallion Grand King lived up to his name at this year’s SEIB/BEF young horse evaluation final at The Royal Show, heading the New Priory Stud promising show jumpers and gaining top marks to become the overall champion.

Grand King, ridden by show jumper Aileen Craig, impressed the Stoneleigh judges, British team manager Derek Ricketts, showing producer Richard Ramsey and ride judge, New Zealander Grant Cashmore, who bravely took the top three four-year-olds over fences up to 1.20m.

Bought with his dam as a foal byBeth Gillespie, Grand King is one of the first crop by Ladies King, a son of Landadel. He has also qualified for the BSJA style and performance final.

“We have high hopes for him and he’s become a real family favourite. When he scored so highly in the veterinary and conformation sections, it became very exciting,” says Beth, who, with husband Stephen has started a sport horse breeding programme.

The Royal certainly provided the young horses – a mix of mares, geldings and stallions – with a big test of temperament. There were adjacent classes going on, heavy horses pulling drays, loud commentary and music and, towards the end of the dressage final, the arena party building a show jumping course around them. Yet not one horse got upset during classes that lasted around 2hr.

In each discipline, a guest judge rode the top three at the end of the marked phases. This proved influential in the dressage and eventing sections, with the final order changing.

In the Genus Equine dressage final, last year’s BWBS champion, the good-looking, compact mahogany bay stallion, Rosenberg, was given the nod. Rosenberg is by the grand prix sire Rohdiamant and was bought at Germany’s Vechta sales by Ireneand Keith Linnegar.

Nicknamed Ringo – “because he’s a real star” – Rosenberg, whose first crop of 15 foals arrived recently, has been entered for Brightwells sale at Addington in August.

Second-placed Eddison (Edinburg), who displayed “look at me” movement under former young rider team member Sarah Millis, was best British-bred.

Cindy Simms, the ride judge for the SEIB event horse final, described the winner, Celtic Connection, as “loose and elastic – a real event horsein the making”.

A family project, the part-bred Welsh mare, by the BSJA silver disc stallion, Ganton Rufus, was produced and ridden by Wendy Sloman, having been bred by her mother.

Pennie Wallace’s Dutch-bred mare, Sonate V, also fourth in the show jumping, was second under Writtle College lecturer Marcus Roberts.

Specialist judge Yogi Breisner says: “The standard had improved and the winner was a nice horse, which showed all the right ingredients to make a top-class eventer. It was also good to see so many mares. Hopefully, they will go into breeding, which will be good for the sport.”

Richard Ramsey comments: “There were definitely more good horses forward this year and they all coped well in a daunting arena. The top horses showed that they have the ability for the job, providing it is channelled correctly, and it will be interesting to see if they start to make their names in four or five years’ time.”

Click here to read the full results.

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