Mennell Watson is the main man at Shrewsbury Flower Show

Mennell Watson hit a purple patch at Shrewsbury Flower Show, landing the top-billed Lanyon Bowdler grand prix and the leading rider award.

Bob Ellis set a strong track, and the watching crowd enthusiastically interacted with applause as riders and horses cleared difficult fences. Seven gained round one clears, with Mennell taking a commanding lead from the opening draw with Outcast.

Mennell and Helen van Heyningen’s home-bred Russel stallion relished the gallop to the final fence and although he stood off the oxer, he stretched to easily clear it.

“He just eats the ground and loves a big ring like this, I was holding for six strides to the double in round one, most of the others were pushing,” said Mennell. “And it was a great course, Bob and his guys Nigel Jess and Ben Townley did a great job.”

Anthony Condon claimed second, 2.33 sec behind on Chinook II, a Verdi nine-year-old, and James Davenport was third with Creme De La Creme 6. Laura Robinson on Jonti finshed in fourth with Tim Page picking up fifth on Duc D’Arsouilles, Angelie von Essen sixth on Cream Sheridan and Tim Davies in seventh on Havana Du Cavron.

Tim had won the previous day’s Veolia area trial in fine style on Justin Skinner’s Duc D’Arsouilles.

Only three of the 25 starters provided clears and were joined by the fastest four-faulters for a five-horse decider. But Sharon Quigley (Adermie 52) and Mark Edwards (Tinkers Tale) also faulted in the jump-off to drop away from the top spot.

Tim, who had returned from his honeymoon in South Africa with Alicia Smallman just three days earlier, used his penultimate draw to maximum effect, winning by 10 sec.

“He just hacked out at home while we were away, and he’s much more chilled than he used to be, he’s come of age,” said Tim.

Olivia Poole, 17, posted a sensible, steady double clear in her third ever area trial to take second on the Corrado I 12-year-old Connery.“I went steady and gave him time to every fence,” said Olivia.Kerry Brennan launched a final challenge with Wellington M, but a rail on the floor dropped them to third. Mark took fourth on Tinkers Tale with Sharon and Adermie in fifth.

Paul Barker headed both the initial speed and Frank Tanner Memorial accumulator with joker. He dominated the Shrewsbury Challenge Stakes, taking the top two on Sandors Legacy and Happy Boy.

Mennell finished third here and was on his way to the leading rider award of a £1,000 with Whisper In The Wind.

Mark Edwards was fourth on Quidde De Buisson Z with Alan Thomas on Grauffs Clear Round fifth and Paul Crago in sixth on Ultimate Risk.

Paul Barker also took the accumulator on Spring Equestrian Partnership’s nine-year-old Happy Boy, his early round keeping Mennell and Whisper in second by half a sec.

But Mennell continued with his consistency on day two, again taking second in the Table C speed.

Paul Crago claimed the top spot on Dawn Cooley’s 14-year-old Valentino IX.

“He’s very long-striding, this ring suited him so well, he could gallop,” said Paul.

Mark and Quidde De Buisson Z took third with Paul Barker’s Sandors Legacy and Happy Boy in fourth and fifth, and Gail Burchmore on Leva Z sixth.

Photos © Jumping Around