Run over Garthorpe’s galloping Leicestershire hedges, the Belvoir team chase took place on Sunday (15 September). It is the last leg-stretcher before the official season opener at the Atherstone this Sunday (22 September), and a favourite for fast galloping horses.
It was a surprise win for New Generation, who had hacked round the Warwickshire the previous week (8 September).
Relentless had held the lead until Rowan Cope’s second round with newly established team New Generation pipped them by 0.16 seconds.
“Peter [Mason] and I were originally on the Relentless team, but with new horses this season we thought we’d form a new team and give them a bit of competition” said Ben Pauling, who has recently set up as a National Hunt trainer in Bourton-on-the-Water, Glos.
“It’s a great go-for-it course that rode perfectly with super hedges” said Yvonne Goss of third placed Art Hotel Chasers, last week’s winners at the Warwickshire. They were the only other team in the class to go under six minutes. “They’re a lot younger and maybe we’re a little bit heavier, but we’ll beat the boys eventually,” she laughed.
The Cunning Stunts lived up to their name with tight lines over the hedges at 13, 14 and 15, and a superbly timed jump in unison over the hedge and ditch at fence 17. This was followed by a near collision after the Bow Tie at 18, the tight right hand turn almost proving too much for Ben Furnival and Cracker.
“We were close enough to change horses,” said Sue Tideswell. They didn’t, but kept close enough to take fourth.
For full report see this week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out Thursday 19 September.