Matt Sampson leads the way at Stoneleigh

Matthew Sampson stormed to victory at the National Championships, Stoneleigh, in the 1.45m speed, the middle leg of the HOYS wildcard series on Diana Bartolini’s scopey Perfect Rouge, a Papillon Rouge 13-year-old he acquired while jumping in Spain.

“Tthe more you dare him, the better he is in speed classes,” said Matthew, who actually rode Rouge three years ago on the Spanish sunshine tour and got the ride back in February.

The pair took seventh in the first leg and they top the leaderboard going into the third and final day, but the competition for the HOYS wildcard is still wide open.

Tim Stockdale was 2.20 sec behind for second on Erasmus Van De Heffinck with Chelsea Skelton in third on Caramba. Robert Maguire eased Anastasia Van De Helle into fourth with Nigel Coupe on Jubilee III fifth and Emma Slater aboard Mark Haines’ Art D Usance sixth.

Fresh from their well-deserved Royal International novice title at Hickstead, Laura Mantel and Funnycan secured the top spot in the Newcomers Masters and they’re now off to HOYS.

Laura had taken advantage of the ultra-careful Funnycan’s long stride.

“She has a chilled out attitude, is careful and really covers the ground which is great in a jump-off. You don’t feel as though you are gong that fast, until you look at the clock,” said Laura, who has produced New Priory Stud’s ‘Canny’ – a Zavall VDL/Monaco six-year-old – since an unbroken three-year-old.

Riders chased hard for the four HOYS tickets on offer, and the lucky recipients joining Laura are: second-placed Tracy Priest on the Calvaro Z seven-year-old Caruso D’Eres Z, Roger McCrea, in third on the six-year-old Diamant De Semilly/Carthago Z stallion Davinci VD Bosrand Z and Jake Saywell with the impressive six-year-old stallion Quimari W.

Jake was on a roll. After heading both 1.20m and 1.30m warm-up classes with Dakota, he claimed the National under 21 title aboard Grand Cru Van Paemel.

The on-form Jake had three horses in the jump-off, but he was pitted against another on top form – newly-crowned under 18 champion Harry Charles. However, only one jump-off clear was produced, Jake taking the spoils on the Cicero Z 10-year-old Grand Cru.

Harry took second on Vivaldi Du Dom with Jake third on Cantho Z and seventh with Dakota.

Emma-Jo Slater aboard Kim Barzilay’s ultra-consistent Kimba Flamenco topped the National grade C final, their opening round proving unbeatable. The pair has already secured HOYS qualification in the prestigious Foxhunter final and talentseekers. Emma-Jo, who has ridden for Kim since she was 10, has broken and produced the highly rated seven-year-old.

“He just aims to please,” said Kim on her home-bred Je T’aime Flamenco gelding – out of Emma-Jo’s favourite grade A mare Uttah Van Het Indihof, a daughter of Heartbreaker.

Abbie Walters took second on the Master Imp eight-year-old Master Milligan II with Herefordshire-based Emma Slater taking third on the Couleur Rubin 10-year-old Crack Van Overis Z. Charlie Jones was fourth on the Ustimov seven-year-old Elpaola, beating his father Michael Jones into fifth on Trezanti. Nicola Barry was sixth aboard True Blue III.

Emma-Jo and Kimba Flamenco also took third in the Grade B championship, won by Chloe Winchester on Hasj VH Vliegenhof Z, a Hardrock Z eight-year-old jointly owned by Val Attenborough and Julia Biddle.

“I’ve seen a huge change in him this season, he has matured and is becoming more competitive – he even corrected himself when I was going on a long-stride, he knew better and shortened up,” said Chloe. “He’ll be ready for world ranking class next year, that’s the aim anyway.”

Alfie Bradstock took second on Evert, Emma-Jo took third on Kimba Flamenco and sevent on Kimba Classic with Jess Dimmock on Billy Tortilla fourth, Mark Williams fifth riding Casanova Van Overis Z and Michaela Huntington on Alegro Z in sixth.

Already crowned under 14 champion on Topspin earlier in the week, Lily Freeman-Attwood doubled up with the National under 16 championship on Banana D’Ive Z.

Only five of 16 reached the jump-off with early-drawn Lily setting an unassailable lead with the 15-year-old mare to take the win by more than two sec.

Joe Fernyhough took second on the Caretino nine-year-old Countess II with another on-form rider in third. Olli Fletcher, winner of the pony Foxhunter Masters and silver league 148cm final with The Bobster, claimed third on Little Business.

Harrison Hattea, 16, recorded his biggest win to day with the 1.25m restricted rider final with Darko Supreme, a Mr Darcy/Carnaval Drum 11-year-old he first rode 12 months ago.

“He usually spooks at the Liverpool, which was the last fence, but he gave it plenty of room today,” said Harrison.

Nicola Barry brought the eight-year-old Verdi mare Darien into second with Lorrain Allan in third on the Sandro Hit eight-year-old Sandros Captain, Richard Jenkinson took fourth on the Caretino 12-year-old Culto, Rachel Walker and Bo Gi claimed fourth and Danielle Holme took sixth aboard Boyd.

Nissi Ladell, 17, beat 69 rivals to take the KBIS British novice title with Exclusive Vant Schaaphof, a six-year-old with Emilion Vant Schaaphof/Quidam De Revel bloodlines she has ridden for 12 months.

It was no mean feat, 44 accessed the jump-off for a battle against the clock.

“I can usually trust her to be careful, but I made sure I kept on a forward rhythm to a vertical that caused problems,” said Norfolk-based Nissi.

Harry Bateman was in second and seventh with Crespo VDL four-year-old Havanna and the five-year-old Anvils Every Little Helps II with Michaela Huntington third on the For Fashion/Emilion five-year-old Gina Tojka S, Stephanie Gunn with the eight-year-old Lady Larino in fourth, Faye Powell on Lissyegan Quality fifth and Mark Thompson sixth aboard Larino Z.

The Area 22 Staffordshire squad of Katie Shaw, Emma Sargeant, Camille Crow and Alex Hemming defended their title robustly to again head the Teams competition under chef d’equipe Norman Proffitt.

Para riders jumped to success in the Para Club Championships, but most impressive was Norfolk-based Ronnie Robinson, 11. Ronnie is severely visually impaired due to primary congenital glaucoma and relies on his 22-year-old pony Ardcarrig Snowball and a caller telling him where to turn and and the location of the fences. Ronnie’s ambition is to ride in the Paralympics. Good luck, Ronnie!

Photos © Jumping Around & 1st Class Images