The ‘tail-end’ of Hurricane David certainly caused problems for organisers, riders and officials at the BSJA/Scope Festival, as overnight high winds and torrential rain caused the temporary closure of all four outdoor rings at Stafford County Showground on Thursday.
A Dunkirk spirit prevailed as organisers worked round the clock to revise timetables.
The most exciting finish of the night was in the Under 21 National championship where Jemma Kirk clinched victory riding Tosca. In a thrilling climax, Jemma overtook the in-form Mathew Sampson riding Chianti Classico. A brilliant last drawn effort saw Sam Hutton and Olympia III finish third.
There was strong interest in the young horse championships. Nicole Pavitt made her first ride in the four-year-old championship a winning one, as she topped the class riding Lisa Tudor’s Festiena Van Texelhof. Judged on a style and performance basis, judges Pennie Cornish and Lisa Hales awarded the Bentley Van De Heffink mare a total of 261 marks.
Victory in the five-year-old championship went to Angie Thompson riding her Dutch-bred Zomeroos. There were plenty of options in the jump-off track, and Angie found every short cut. “We were deep at the planks, but she picked her tootsies up bless her,” she said.
Completing a clean sweep for the girls, Anna Edwards claimed the 7 & 8 year-old title riding Unique IX.
Louise Saywell and Call Me Smartie shaved every wing, to win the 1.15m championship. Clear rounds became progressively faster in the 27-strong jump off, and Louise risked all to head a blanket finish.
The remaining championships went to Bryony Ward, who clinched victory in the Equissage Discovery championship riding Spring Fever, and Richard Barton, who took the top two places in the senior riders competition riding Let’s Dance and First Musical.
Equissage National Discovery. – 2, Spring Fever (B Ward); 2, Zovidius R (M Fursedon); 3, Parc and Ride (E Smith). Smarter Training Group National 1.15m. – 1, Call Me Smartie (L Saywell); 2, Aramis Van Halbeek (S Crosby); 3, Pit Stop NRW (E Stoker). Leonardo Collection National 4-year-old. – 1, Festiena Van Texelhof (N Pavitt); 2, Billy Mexico (D Moseley); 3, Adam L (S Lane). Equiport National 5-year-old. – 1, Zomeroos (Athompson); 2, Uniquewa (C Freeman); 3, Zappa II (S Crippen). Springs Equestrian 7 & 8-year-old handicap. – 1, Unique IX (J Kirk); 2, Roller Coaster III (L Renwick); 3, Univeau (P Miller). Whittaker Coachbuilders National senior riders. – 1 & 2, Let’s Dance II & First Musical (R Barton); 3, U2 II (J Picken). Cats & Pipes pairs. – 1, Collin 43 (M Sampson) & Mac O’Mara (S Pountain).