The cream of the nation’s youngsters are displayed in a successful championships, while Jay Halim produces the round of his life to land the 69-starter grand prix
Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships, Cheshire, 18–23 August
The Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships have been a beacon of hope for producers during this turbulent year, and riders praised Nina Barbour and her team after this year’s event proved such a success.
The star of the seven-year-old championship was the exciting British-bred Don VHP Z mare Ivory, owned by Sean Conway and Helen Ray, and ridden by Danielle Farnsworth. Ivory is a veteran of two Lanaken world championships and was the six-year-old champion here under Matt Sampson. As well as picking up the £2,000 first prize and a share of the clear-round bonus, breeders Castell Sports Horses were rewarded for producing the best British-bred finalist.
“I can’t believe it!” said Danielle, who only took the reins seven weeks ago. “She’s had good form here so I had big boots to fill. She barely touches 16hh, but she has a massive stride and a huge character to make up for it.
“She has a lot more in the tank and I’m excited for her future.”
With gold, silver and bronze trophies for the top three, the other recipients were second-placed Laura Robinson and Millfield Collette, another British-bred from Sue Jagger by Cornet Obolensky, then Adrian Whiteway with stallion Chacco Volo (Chacco Blue x Carthago), owned by Deborah Cox.
Anne Bedford’s Inovation (I’m Special De Muze x Asca Z), ably piloted by Pippa Allen, headed the 16-strong consolation final.
A pair of quality youngsters became double champions in the Windmill Farm Estates six-year-old championship after crossing the finish in exactly the same time.
Laura Mantel has been in flying form with the Renwicks’ home-bred Typhoon S mare Aurora and took all the inside routes to take a strong lead in 34.90sec.
But drawn late in the 20-strong jump-off, William Funnell conjured another masterful round from Al Shira’aa Stables’ impressive German-bred stallion Chacco Bay (Chaccato x Heops) who was second in the five-year-old world championship at Lanaken last year, but who William only rode for the first time at the start of the week.
“He’s a lovely horse,” said William, who trains his usual rider Mohammed Al-Owais.
“He’s one of the most exciting horses we have,” added Mohammed, director of Al Shira’aa Stables. “We gave the reins to William, who created a good match to obtain more education for the horse.”
Ellen Whitaker and the Dutch-bred J Superstar (Chaman x No Limit) was just shy of the winning time, but continues to impress with every round, picking up third.
Jess Hewitt dominated the consolation class – winning with Cassalato and finishing third on the Stakkato mare Java, split only by James Whitaker with Just Blue WS (Corporal x Indoctro).
A real eye-catcher
Ronnie Jones captured the Northcote Stud five-year-old title with Ruth Dowie’s smart Dutch-bred mare Kaleche. This daughter of Poden Farms’ leading 10-year-old stallion F One USA is out of a Nassau mare and was bought from Roelof Bril as a three-year-old after she caught Ronnie’s eye.
The pair were the fastest of 13 double clears, taking top spot from Joe Trunkfield and Untouchable Wizzard (Uriko x Larimar), with the best British-bred in third – Messarado Blue (Messenger x Indorado), bred and co-owned by Nicola Barry and ridden by Chris Smith.
Kaleche earned a share of Bolesworth’s clear-round bonus last year as a four-year-old and maintained her record this year.
“She loves going in the ring and not much puts her off, although she was on her toes with the flags flying,” said Ronnie. “We just kept her ticking over during lockdown, hoping she’d be able to do what she deserved as a five-year-old so we were very lucky.”
The five-year-old consolation class was won by Will Rekert with the KWPN mare Kyra SH, a daughter of Grodino.
The Ashdale Sports Horses four-year-old championship went to Danielle Ryder with Lapromesse, who looked polished over the 1.05m tracks. Long-time leader Carmen Edwards’ runner-up was stallion Chef Of Flanders Fields Z (Cicero Z x Indoctro).
Lapromesse was bred by Willem van Hoof by Fly out of a Tangelo VD Zuuthoeve mare, and Danielle picked up the £2,000 first prize with the highest style and performance score.
The best British-bred four-year-old was Al Shira’aa’s fourth-placed home-bred SS Pegasus, by Balou Du Rouet out of a Voltaire mare, and well ridden by Mohammed Al-Owais.
“I have a special bond with this horse as I rode his mother [Tolita], with whom I won my first grand prix,” said the UAE rider. “She had a lot of achievements in her life and this was her first foal.”
The four-year-old consolation was won by Alex Bishop with the Bubalu VDL son, SES Larsson.
All hail Halim
A mammoth field of 69 lined up for Sunday’s 1.40m Al Shira’aa grand prix, which was whittled down to 19 for a pulsating jump-off. One of the best performances of the week came from Jay Halim, who produced an electric round from his super-consistent Aragon Z to win the £2,000 top prize.
“That’s just proved how good he is – he does the job and he never lets me down,” said Jay.
Holly Smith looked to have produced an unbeatable round with Fruselli, having found every short cut in 33.77sec. Graham Gillespie put in a tremendous effort to slip in behind with Fashion Prince, but Jay punched the air in delight after taking a flyer to the last to win in 33.50sec.
“I have total belief in him – I’d say he’s one of the easiest horses I’ve ever ridden in the ring,” said Jay, who has produced Barbara and Duncan Arthurs’ smashing grey since a six-year-old. “We’ve grown so much together.”
Jay voiced his appreciation of Bolesworth having hosted two quality shows in recent weeks. “It’s just a real shame we’re the only country in Europe not able to run international showjumping – it’s really concerning,” he said.
Jay also took the 1m championship with a new ride, Billy Cointreau, who was dropping right down in level and looks to be benefiting from Jay’s patient riding. Hot on his heels was Ruby Light, jumping at her first show with Lord Don, and hats off to Jay who presented his winner’s rug to 12-year-old Ruby.
Sunday’s 1.30m open final went to Jo McGlory with Triomphe Kervec by a clear margin, while the 1.35m equivalent was won by Faye Adams on her own Demograaf after a 16-way jump-off.
Saturday’s 1.20m open championship resulted in victory for Adam Botham riding Barbara Hester’s nine-year-old gelding Dewpoint Diamond, while Joss Williams won the 1.10m championship by nearly three seconds on Jan Coomer’s brilliant performer, the 18-year-old gelding Zandokan Z.
Joss was one of a trio of riders who opted to share the puissance spoils after clearing the wall at 2m in wind and rain. Joss with HI Donaclano, Phillip Miller (Noble Warrior) and Derek Morton (Science Supplements KBS High Quality) each had their names etched on the trophy.
Kyle coins a double
Tabitha Kyle (Lissduff Royal) headed the 138cm grand prix by just 0.07sec from Eve McCoy (Misty Bay) before rounding off the show with 148cm victory on her great partner Vienna Orchid, receiving her trophy from Billy Twomey. The 128cm feature class went to Emily Irvine with the tremendous 19-year-old Bunbury Conquest with the fastest of only three double clears.
The innovative Tomlinson Brothers young pony series was won in great style by Thomas Bradburne with his 148cm ride Derryinver Rocky, while it was fast and furious in the Trevor Marnic Groundwork mini major relay, where victory went to Isabelle James-Wright and Laura Mantel.
Ref Horse & Hound; 27 August 2020