Ranchella Rolex is a worthy winner at CHAPS championships

  • A cob gives his rider her first ridden supreme, while a Welsh section C gives his breeders their biggest win so far at Coloured Horse and Pony Society (CHAPS) championships, held at Arena UK, Lincs

    MEGAN HEWITT ended a run of near-misses to land her first Harrison Civil Engineering supreme ridden title at CHAPS championships (11-14 August), scoring with her nine-year-old part-Welsh D gelding Ranchella Rolex (Roly).

    In front of an appreciative audience, their polished freestyle performance just had the edge over the 2015 and 2016 victors, Andrew Collins and Dan Birch’s super-consistent Surewill.

    “I was looking for a horse or pony to do a job and it was a close decision,” said supreme judge Caroline Nelson. “I’d love to take the winner for a day’s hunting. He has super limbs, a lovely front and carries a saddle very well.”

    Megan, who runs Selston Equestrian Centre with partner Tom Jackson, bought Roly last November after having had him to compete for a brief season as a novice two years ago.

    “We wanted a horse for Tom and when Roly came back to me to sell, I thought he’d be ideal,” said Megan. “I hunted him last winter and Tom started to learn on him, but he then had the start of the season off as we were moving house.”

    Despite this downtime, the pair also stood ridden supreme six days earlier at CHAPS Midlands.

    Tom had his own spell in the spotlight here, too, showing Roly to stand Harrison Civil Engineering reserve overall supreme in-hand.

    “Tom only started showing six months ago,” added Megan.

    He was pipped in this finale by the Burghwallis Stud’s home-bred native, Burghwallis Paparazzi, shown by John Cutts for whom it was a fifth consecutive triumph in this spot as a handler/producer.

    It was a first CHAPS supreme here for the now-eight-year-old gelding, but he was second reserve here when he was two. He is Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) bound for the second time with Tayla Lewis.

    “We only entered him in the in-hand class as he didn’t have much to do this week,” said John.

    Sisters doing it for themselves

    AMATEUR producing sisters Michelle and Leanne Pickford had a stellar show, culminating in two major triumphs on the final night, including the Academy of Health and Diet supreme youngstock title with their lovely native yearling colt, Burghwallis Stormchaser.

    “If I could have taken a horse home with me, it would be this one,” said Caroline Nelson. “The standard has been very high.”

    This was the second-ever show for Stormchaser, who qualified for CHAPS just a couple of weeks previously on his debut. Here, he headed the youngstock evaluations en route to the final accolade.

    “I bought him as a birthday present to myself at a week old from the breeders,” said Michelle.

    The sisters were celebrating again when their ridden contender, 15-year-old Stardust, retained his 2019 title to head the Kaleidoscope home-produced section. He then went on to stand overall McNeil amateur/home-produced supreme.

    “We only brought Stardust to nanny the yearling, and he just did one class,” added Michelle. “He’s qualified for HOYS for the sixth time, but we plan for him to take life easier next year and maybe contest some veteran classes.”

    ‘Blown away’

    ANOTHER yearling colt – plaited this time – impressed to gain the Price Family semi-final place at Stoneleigh. Richard and Tammy Burge’s Moorfarm Bowman, a son of Tiny Bit Famous out of a Welsh section B mare, grew in presence as the week went on, and also collected the supreme non-native title.

    Richard and Tammy, who run the Tamrik Stud in Sussex, also own his successful full-brother, the former Royal Welsh winner Moorfarm Bandsman, now four.

    “We bought Bowman to follow in his footsteps, and we’ve been blown away by his reception here,” said Richard.

    CHAPS regulars Charlotte Merrigan Martin and the multitalented Volatis Diva hit top form, capping their show with the supreme junior/intermediate rider of the year award for the first time. It was especially gratifying for Charlotte, 17, as she missed her last junior year owing to Covid.

    “We came here with no expectations,” said her mother Clare. “Charlotte’s had a tough first year at university so we intended to party, but this title has been her dream. She was last to ride her show and she had it all planned. However, Diva decided to live up to her name and had other ideas, so Charlotte had to adapt to plan B and probably plan C!”

    Society secretary and backstage stalwart Emma Hore was one proud breeder when loanee Polly Mallender rode her home-bred Skewpie Champagne Charlie (Shark) to win all three of his classes and land a championship en route to the top spot in the Dan Birch supreme accumulator, where his prize was £720.

    “Shark is a real all-rounder, and loves team chasing and hunting – he carries a side-saddle, too,” said Polly, another home-producer. “We call him our 16.2hh first ridden pony because he is so steady, rhythmical and safe. Riding him is like putting on your best slippers.”

    Young talent on flying form

    AT just 14 years old, Izzy Sharifi jumped to win the 153cm plaited working hunter qualifier at National Pony Society (NPS) Area 7 on a pony she’s been partnered with for just four months. Her ride was the athletic bay mare Honeycoat (Millie) who is currently based with Sam Darlington and was contesting her third HOYS class with Izzy.

    “She was bred by Michaela Bowling and we bought her from Jen Tubb,” said Izzy’s mother, Ruth Sharifi. “We’re delighted as Izzy will be one of the youngest riders to jump at this height.”

    • This report will also be available to read in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 26 August

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