‘We have a very special relationship’: the day’s top scorers take freestyle title at NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships *H&H Plus*

  • Find out which horse – purchased by his rider at three days old – posted the highest score of the day to win the elementary gold freestyle at the Winter Dressage Championships 2020

    Victoria Maw and her own seven-year-old Benito Dorato were crowned champions in the hotly-contested Suregrow elementary freestyle gold at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships 2020 at Hartpury College. The pair’s score of 75.89% was the highest of the first day of the championships.

    Victoria bought Benito Dorato from Germany when he was three days old, although he didn’t arrive at her Lincolnshire yard until the age of three. She has produced the son of Benicio herself, and it was a second national title for the pair, who won the novice gold at the 2019 national championships at Stoneleigh Park.

    “I’m over the moon. It’s a pretty straightforward test that plays to his strengths but there is no room for error. That’s why we required a wildcard to be here, as we made mistakes at the regionals which cost us qualifying directly,” explained Victoria, who choreographed the floorplan and chose the music which features songs from the film How To Train Your Dragon.

    “He’s a fantastic horse to work with and because we have done everything together we have a very special relationship. He’s very trainable, everything is so easy for him and I’m really excited about his future.”

    Tight at the top

    The elementary gold freestyle was a closely fought competition with less than eight marks separating the top three in the 15-strong class. Second place was awarded to Dannie Morgan with Breit Fantastic (75.32%) while Tahley Reeve-Smith piloted the seven-year-old chestnut gelding Woodcroft Valentino (74.93%) into third.

    Breit Fantastic’s owner, Sara-Jane Lanning, came to Dannie for some help producing the talented six-year-old last year. Because the duo gelled so well, Dannie has continued to ride him.

    “I couldn’t have asked anymore of him. It was a high-class field and I’m thrilled with the way he performed. I added medium canter to the three-quarter line followed by simple changes each way to show balance, and add a degree of difficulty, which worked really well today,” said Dannie, who is based near Southampton.

    Dannie’s aim with the son of Fantastic is to contest the Young Horse Prix St Georges Class at Hartpury in 2021.

    Keep up with all of the action from the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships on the Horse & Hound website via our H&H Plus service with full reports from each winter championship class, plus a gallery of winners from the Petplan Equine Area Festival Championships.


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