Horse & Hound's coverage of Ashford Farm CSI4* Bolesworth International (18-21 June) is brought to you in association with Equestrian.com
Robert Whitaker and USA Today won the Equerry Horse Feeds CSI4* 1.45m class, fending off Ireland’s Captain Michael Kelly and Drumiller Lough by just 0.17 of a second in a tight jump off at Ashford Farm Bolesworth International CSI4* (Saturday, 20 June).
“I had quite a good draw today and it worked well for me. There weren’t many jumping clears in the jump off and it did take a bit of jumping,” said Robert. “Today suited him as there were lots of tight turns there in the jump off and he’s so careful.”
The 14-year-old KWPN stallion did display his usual acrobatics in between fences but it didn’t prevent Robert taking home the £7,260 prize pot.
“He does tend to play around in between fences, it is just part of his character. There have been a few occasions where I’ve been placed second or third and I’ve thought without his bucking I may have won, but not today,” he added.
The Equiline CSI4* 1.35m speed class went the way of Brit Laura Renwick and her long-term campaigner Beluga – it was a second triumph of the week for the combination.
The 14-year-old by Heartbreaker, who Laura has ridden since the mare was three, answered all Laura’s questions and they held the lead from an early draw.
“I was early to go today which I think is sometimes beneficial. She is a super horse and so fast, if she leaves the jumps up she will always be in the running,” said Laura.
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The international arena at Bolesworth played host to the CSI2* Grand Prix and Brazilian rider Marlon Modolo Zanotelli continued what has already been a fruitful week at the Cheshire venue by taking the spoils riding Casper 297. The eight-year-old gelding is a new ride for the Brazilian, who is based at Ashford Farm in Belgium.
“I came out of the ring and didn’t think I was fast enough, so I was surprised,” said Marlon. “This is my first show with Casper – he’s very clever to a fence and fast, he looks around a bit but doesn’t spook at the fence,” he added.
“I wanted to ride a quick round and put pressure on the other riders. I first saw him at a show and wasn’t sure at first, but as soon as I rode him I could tell he was quality – he’s going to be a very fun horse.”
Top riders including Geoff Billington and Laura Renwick, donned some fun fancy dress costumes for the penultimate class of the day, the Mini Major class.
It was Geoff Billington and young Martha Hughes how took the honours in a speedy time of 63.16 seconds and collected the £500 prize fund, ahead of Marlon Modolo Zanotelli and Ella Quigley.