Robert Smith is crowned National Champion on the final day at Stoneleigh

Robert Smith is on his way to HOYS after topping the International Stairway final at the National Showjumping Championships, Stoneleigh, with Cimano E.

The final also incorporated the final leg of the HOYS wildcard qualifier, and tensions were high as riders chased the coveted HOYS tickets giving access to entry in the International classes for the week.

Of the 44 starters, 12 jumped round one clears to reach the jump-off and Robert, already winner of the first leg on Ilton, had Cimano E primed in the final draw. He didn’t disappoint, and sailed ahead by 0.85 sec, pushing Chloe Winchester and Avoca Valkyrie into second.

“It was a tough jump-off and definitely up to maximum height,” said Robert, who was pleased with Cimano E, a nine-year-old he has produced for the last five years. “He has a nice even pace and as he has matured, he is showing his versatility.”

Nigel Coupe took third on Jubilee III with Cheslea Skelton fourth on Caramba and Joe Clayton fifth aboard Conman JX.

Joe’s fifth place here on the Conterno Grande nine-year-old, added to their day one third spot and day two eighth place, consistently jumping clear in each of the three legs paid handsomely. They were awarded the HOYS spot after topping the points league over the three days.

Already top of the International Stairway leaderboard with a 10 point margin gained over the county show series on Larksong, Helen Tredwell added a further three points with eighth in the International Stairway final to take the final HOYS ticket on offer. They were 13 points ahead of Chloe Winchester and Avoca Valkyrie. Helen was also third in the points table on Sebastian VII.

Reece Oliver landed the National 1.30m title with Urlanmore Aldi, an Aldatus/Clover Hill 13-year-old bought from Matt Sampson earlier this year. They had already shown form winning Northcote Stud’s grand prix in June, and again showed their turn of speed.

“The track was technical but there was a long gallop to a single oxer which caused problems for several. I had to keep checking Aldi so he didn’t get too fast and flat,” said Reece, who was also fourth on Costalot – another suppled by Matt Sampson.

Zoe Adams took second with Satonamillion and Louise Whitaker claimed third aboard Cleopatra VIII. Vere Phillipps was fifth on Scerne Scipio with Joanne Whitaker sixth aboard Contendro Star.

Abbie Walters topped the Speedi-Beet HOYS grade C qualifier with Master Milligan, a Master Imp eight-year-old she’s competed since his discovery days four years ago.

Only 10 reached the jump-off from 73 starters over a tough course wth Abbie’s effort proving unbeatable. Abbie, an eventer who has tackled Burghley in the past and only recently started showjumping, will now make her HOYS debut.

Master Milligan, owned by Marion Stewart since a yearling and has evented up to 2* level.

“He has a lovely long stride which covers the ground well and he’s very careful over the jumps so I thought he suited showjumping over eventing, and he always aims to please,” said Abbie.

Tracy Priest took second with Caruso D'eres Z, a Calvaro Z seven-year-old who picked up a HOYS newcomers ticket earlier in the week, with Douglas Duffin in third on the eight-year-old Pyjama Jack to take the other HOYS qualifiers.

Adam Botham finished in fourth on Demograff, Adrian Whiteway was fifth aboard Enrico VII with David Wingrove in sixth on Don Diablo.

Mark Williams netted the National six-year-old title with Greenacres Stud’s Greenacres Diadoro.

“She’s a big mare and seems to handle everything I throw at her. She’s careful with a calm temperament,” sad Mark, who has produced the Diarado/Vigaro Z mare for two years.

The class was conducted over three rounds. “Three rounds can be quite demanding of a young horse, but it ultimately brought the real jumpers forward to the final round,” said Mark.

Lauren Edwards added another five-year-old title to the tally of Expresso 99, a Pall Mall H/Kannan mare owned by Andy Doswell and breeder Kevin Cooper.

“She’s an out-and-out trier, I ask and she gives her all. She was good to me coming to the double as I didn’t have the best stride, butr she corrected herself,” said Lauren, who has ridden Expresso for 12 months and also took fifth on Kesara.

Michael Fursedonn took second just 0.22 sec behind on Nirvana Vant Vossenhof Z with Rachel Burr and Gaudi in third. Danielle Ryder took fourth on Grand Touched Numo in the 12-strong decider.

Danielle was in the winner’s enclosure in the National four-year-old championship, taking the spoils on the Emerald NOP/Heart breaker stallion Escape Z.

Judged on presentation and technique, Escape Z scored 19.5 points out of 20 in round one and scored similarly in round two, but lost half a mark with an excited buck at the end. Nevertheless, they claimed the title with 38.5 points.

“He has fantastic paces with great adjustability in the canter and amazing scope, I’m really excited about him,” said Danielle.

Donny Janciauskas took second with Cool Quartz on 31 points. Darren Walsh on Locarno Star took third with Lucinda Turner in fourth and fifth on Happy Design and Bellesette Star K Z and Charlotte Arnold sixth with Leestone Blue Voltet.

Tara Byrtt triumphed in the National 1.15m Members Cup final with her Christmas present Valerie B.

Tara, 16, first rode the 14-year-old Valerie B two years ago in children-on-horses, culminating in a European gold medal in Bonheiden in 2014. The mare returned to owner Tamsin Conyers in September 2014 as Tara was unable to ride because of ill health. But 14 months on Tara was feeling much better and missed ‘Val’, so a special purchase for Christmas was made.

Emily Morris took second on Ultimatum II, Lily Bradstock was third on Benedictus and Asha Smith took fourth with Armani Pullman.

And not to confuse with the similarity of names, but Rachael Connor was also a winner on B Valeree! This on-form pair headed the Nupafeed Supplements discovery title in fine style.

"I only jumped a couple of small fences when I tried her but got a really good feel about her, she has such a sweet temperament and is very consistent,” said Rachael.

Rosie Gunn and Jagerbomb finished in second with Emma McGlynn on the home-bred Marcolas G sired Lycolas in third. Peggy Baker on Elotte was fourth, Steph Gunn on Lady Larino took fifth and Lisa Jones aboard Diana P finished sixth.

Nina Emery headed the senior rider 1.20m aboard the 12-year-old Piana.Eleven contended the jump-off with Nina and her partner of six years Piana outpacing all. Nina found the mare in France doing dressage.

“I fell in love as soon as I saw her, she has amazing paces and movement in her hindquarters,” she said.

Derek Morton took second on Keep Talking with Clea Phillipps third on Night Tide II and fourth going to Norman Proffitt and Valentino XIV.

Photos © Jumping Around & 1st Class Images