Speed proves key in top-class 138cm championship final *H&H Plus*

  • Tabitha Kyle and Bella Wild claimed the first five places in a top-class 138cm final. With eight combinations jumping double-clear, speed proved key...

    On-form Tabitha Kyle claimed her second title of the week at the British Showjumping Indoor Championships with a win and two more top-five places in the Cats & Pipes 138cm final.

    Tabitha, who had three rides in the championship class held at Aintree International Equestrian Centre on Sunday (11 October), set new leading time on all three of her rides, taking the crown with dual Liverpool winner, Lissduff Royal.

    “I really got him going at the start of the round — I made sure I had a proper canter on a circle before going to the first fence,” explained Tabitha, who won back-to-back Liverpool titles in 2018 and 2019 as well as the 138cm championship at Bolesworth this summer on the now 17-year-old, owned by Tanya Kyle.

    “With my other two [in the 138cm final, Mister Proper and Playboy Van De Zoetewei,] I didn’t go so tight between the first two fences, but on Lissduff Royal I knew what to do and went tighter.

    “I set a good time with my second pony [Playboy Van De Zoetewei] and put the pressure on, and then on Lissduff Royal I had to have a go and take the chances.

    “He used to be a bit stuffy, but I have really clicked with him now and he is amazing and trusts me to go on the bigger strides.”

    With eight of the 13 combinations jumping double clear, time was the deciding factor, which made for a high-octane jump-off.

    Bella Wild, who also had three rides in the jump-off, set a strong challenge, pushing ahead of Tabitha and Playboy Van De Zoetewei with Follow Jazzy Lady temporarily hold the top spot.

    Lissduff Royal’s ground-covering stride and his time-saving turn between the first two fences meant Tabitha could just afford to take a check down the final tricky line — a double in a patch of morning sunlight on a dog-leg turn to an upright — and reclaim the lead.

    But it was tight, with the top-three of Lissduff Royal, Follow Jazzy Lady and Playboy Van De Zoetewei finishing on 29.03, 29.48 and 29.63 seconds respectively.

    In all, Tabitha and Bella claimed the first five places, with Bella and Fancy A Baileys taking fourth and Tabitha finishing fifth on Mister Proper.

    “I liked the course, although the last line to the upright was tricky,” said Tabitha, 13, who also won the pony Foxhunter championship with Teagan-Arla Rose on Friday (9 October).

    “Because of the glass wall, the sun was shining in on the jumps and made them very shiny.

    “I made sure I gave the ponies room, but it didn’t affect them that much and they jumped really well.”

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