‘I’m speechless’: Dannie Morgan scores Hartpury hat-trick

  • Dannie Morgan continued his championship winning streak to complete his hat-trick of 2019 NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championship titles.

    Dannie topped the Suregrow elementary freestyle gold class on a huge score of 78.78% aboard Headmore Figaro (“Jack”).

    The Headmore Stud, which has had a fantastic championships, dominated the podium with Alice Oppenheimer taking second and third aboard Headmore Dionysus (78.21%) and Headmore Bella Ruby (77.37%) respectively. All of the top three were bred and are owned by Sarah Oppenheimer.

    “It is really special with Jack as I backed him as a three-year-old and trained him myself,” said Dannie, who rode to music by legendary composer Hans Zimmer.

    “I know he is a smart horse and we tried to design a difficult, interesting floorplan for him. It suited us to be first to go this morning as it was nice and quiet in there.

    “I thought ‘I’m going to have to try to pull out something special at that time of day to make the judges take notice’.

    “From counter canter I go into medium canter on the diagonal to the centre line, followed by a simple change right in front of the judges, so I hoped that would make them sit up!

    “I was sitting watching Alice’s test when I saw the score come through, I turned and showed [the screen] to Sarah in disbelief.”

    Dannie, who combines dressage with eventing up to intermediate, and Knoxx’s Figaro claimed their second title as a combination in as many days (pictured, top).

    “Fig” impressed the judges in the Nupafeed advanced medium freestyle gold with their routine to a War Of The Worlds soundtrack to add that title to yesterday’s Charles Owen advanced medium gold win.

    The pair posted yet another huge score of 76.06% to win by more than 3%.

    Jayne Turney took both second and third aboard the pint-sized dressage star Cruz 111 (72.83%) and Penhaligon’s Jupiter (72.78%).

    I’m a bit speechless as it is not often you’ll have a couple of days like this,” added Dannie, adding the horse was “amazing”. “Fig was so good yesterday that I just went in there to enjoy it.”

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    Katie Bailey won her second championship title, following up on her Magic PSG freestyle victory on Friday with a win in the Theraplate UK medium gold on her own Hillgrounds Wolkenhall, who she bought as a foal.

    The pair scored 75.32% to take the title, with Becky Moody and Heavenly Kiss BS second (72.26%) and Becky Edwards riding Lawrke Stensvang in third (71.67%).

    “He felt amazing at the regionals and got a fabulous score there,” said Katie, adding he felt great today as well.

    “He knocked himself last week so had a week off and hasn’t had as much preparation as I would have liked, but he did give me a really great feel.”

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