Sandman enjoys a sweetener in the CCI3*-S at Keysoe (2) *H&H Plus*

  • An experienced horse drops down a level to win, while Izzy Taylor scores a comeback double and Tokyo-bound horses enjoy a final run ahead of the Games at Keysoe (2)

    YASMIN INGHAM and Sandman 7 led from start to finish in the CCI3*-S at Keysoe (2) and completed on their dressage mark of 25.8.

    Yasmin has been riding Sue Davies and Janette Chin’s 15-year-old since the summer of 2018 and, although they have achieved some excellent results together – including second place in the under-25 CCI4*-L at Bramham in 2019 – this was their first victory.

    “I absolutely love him to bits, and it’s always special to win on a horse you love as much as that,” said Yasmin fondly. “He’s been a gem all week; he did a really soft and swingey dressage test, stayed very relaxed and hit every movement on the marker. I spoke to Sue and Janette after he’d showjumped clear and asked if they wanted me to give the cross-country a go for the win, and they said, ‘Absolutely, go for it.’

    “It was nice to drop him down a level to three-star. He wasn’t as confident at four-star in the spring as he has been, so we wanted to sweeten him up and see how he felt and it’s gone brilliantly.”

    Eric Winter took over as course-designer at Keysoe in April, and Yasmin said: “The cross-country was like a mini-Bramham; fairly strong waters, that big elephant trap, a difficult coffin… I really enjoyed riding round the course. It was very well-built [by Dominic Moore and his Jump 1 team] and they’d made a huge effort with the ground.”

    Toby Pigott rode Hannah Chard and Emily Cauldwell’s Lance A Little into second place, again on his dressage score of 27.2.

    “He’s becoming very consistent in all three phases. He’s 10 now and has recently started to grow up – I describe him as ‘very awkward’ and he used to be easily distracted; it’s pleasing when they really begin to understand their job,” said Toby.

    Toby Pigott and LANCE A LITTLE - Keysoe International Horse Trials, Keysoe,Sunday 4 July 2021 © Nico Morgan Media

    Franky Reid-Warrilow admitted to becoming tearful about Dolley Whisper’s first run of the season and return from injury to take third place. They also completed on their first-phase mark of 27.4.

    “She’s 18 and I’ve had her for 15 years,” said Franky. “Every injury she’s ever had is from jumping out of the field, which is so frustrating. But she keeps feeling amazing – when I took her to dressage training, Gareth Hughes couldn’t believe she was 18 and asked if I’d meant to say eight – so I will keep going until she feels like she doesn’t want to do it.”

    The 15.2hh warmblood mare is a proper family pet.

    “My mum took her on a fun ride with my five-year-old niece last weekend,” said Franky. “I won’t do a CCI4*-L with her again, but she loves eventing and we’ll have some fun.”

    An amazing brain

    MARCIO CARVALHO JORGE won the CCI2*-S aboard his own and Annabel Vere-Nicoll’s Royal Encounter, a six-year-old by Lancelot whom they bought from Jodie Amos last October. They were comfortable dressage leaders on 20.8, and stayed there.

    “He’s a lovely horse with an amazing brain, and is so happy and easy,” said the Brazilian rider. “He really lets me ride him in the arena, and it helped that the dressage was in a proper arena on a surface. I think Keysoe is a great event; the tracks weren’t easy but had good questions and looked beautiful – I was so impressed.”

    Mollie Summerland and Flow 7 were second after dressage with 23.9, but a rail down in the showjumping dropped them to fourth, while Piggy March (Brookfield Future News) rose from eighth to second by adding nothing to a first-phase score of 25.6.

    Taylor’s double

    A BRACE of open intermediate victories confirmed that Izzy Taylor has bounced straight back to form, having missed six weeks of the season after breaking her collarbone in a fall at Tweseldown in May.

    She took section K on her own and Mark Sartori’s Monkeying Around, adding nothing to a dressage score of 21.1, while the Lancer Stud’s Fonbherna Lancer aced section L on an even more impressive clean sheet of 18.2.

    “They were both great – they were five-star fit to go to Luhmühlen and neither has run since the CCI4*-S at Aston-le-Walls, so they had excuses to be sharp, but they were both a joy to ride,” said Izzy. “Everything is easy for Monkey, which is a lovely feeling. He’s 10 now, but I think he will keep getting stronger – and better – which is so nice, and he felt very happy today.

    “Fonbherna Lancer is a very different but very attractive horse, especially on the flat. He is desperate to try to do everything right for you, which is why he has sometimes made mistakes, because he tries so very hard.”

    David Trott has been helping Izzy with flatwork recently, and she described him as “fantastic to work with.” David also trains intermediate section J winners Ed Eltham and Indigo VIII, for whom it was a second victory at this level in as many weeks.

    Ed Eltham and INDIGO VIII - Keysoe International Horse Trials, Keysoe,Sunday 4 July 2021 © Nico Morgan Media

    Stewart Meadows and David Baker’s Dutch-bred eight-year-old by Vittorio is the only horse Ed is eventing at the moment, as he is concentrating on showjumping.

    “We bought him as a late five-year-old having not done anything, and he started eventing when he was six,” said Ed. “He’s showjumping-bred but is really ‘blood’ and has got so much stride. He’s big and has taken time to mature – lockdown did him a lot of good – but he cruised round Keysoe without really trying. It was a proper, forward-thinking cross-country track that needed attacking and he ate it up.”

    Serena Kullich achieved a first intermediate success in section I with Cognac Des Iris. The pair were among the quickest in the restricted intermediate sections with 2.8 cross-country time-penalties.

    Serena Kullich and COGNAC DES IRIS - Keysoe International Horse Trials, Keysoe,Sunday 4 July 2021 © Nico Morgan Media

    Last run before Tokyo

    KEYSOE’S new owner, Sarah Stoute, bought the venue last winter and has big plans for its future.

    “‘We have the ambition to grow Keysoe International to be able to facilitate all equestrian disciplines for all levels of abilities,” she said. “We have started a journey towards creating a world-class facility, and our vision includes a new indoor arena and additional outdoor arenas with wax-free surfaces, and a hotel and spa.”

    Tom McEwen and TOLEDO DE KERSER - Keysoe International Horse Trials, Keysoe,Sunday 4 July 2021 © Nico Morgan Media

    It was great credit to the organising team that the OI was the final outing for the four Tokyo-bound British team horses, and that they ran – gently – across country. All four – Ballaghmor Class (Oliver Townend), London 52 (Laura Collett), Toledo De Kerser (Tom McEwen, pictured) and Brookfield Inocent (Piggy March) – looked superb and, notably, Toledo De Kerser and Tom McEwen scored sub-20 in the dressage for the first time in their career together.


    This report is also available to read in 8 July issue of Horse & Hound

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