Emelia Mitchell dances to a win at Arena UK
It was the final day of the 2017 winter season for those coveted, last-chance tickets to Hickstead, and they were well-earned in hotly competitive classes.
Emelia Mitchell performed breath-taking turns at a cracking pace to set a sizzling and unbeatable standard in the winter 138cm second round on Shaman Sundance.
A total of 16 from 43 starters produced first round clears with 13 of those making their way to the final jump-off, but there was no catching Emelia. Her opening round cut corners to the bone to secure the win from the front.
“He’s quick, careful and the track suited him,” said Emelia, who got this 11-year-old Appaloosa – a former ride of Lucy Carver and Daisy Deakin – from Ireland 16 months ago.
Jake Myers slotted 24-year-old schoolmaster The Agent into second and will Jake will make his debut at Hickstead later in the year. The pair proved consistent throughout this series with six places out of eight outings, qualifying at Keysoe and winning at Bury Farm.
Tabitha Kyle, third the day before, again guided Lissduff Royal into third place with Iwan Carpenter taking fourth and the first of qualifying places on the 18-year-old Little Boy de Carmen. Claudia Moore claimed fifth with My Bugsy Malone and Red Morgan also posted a treble clear on Quest du Buhot to pick up sixth, and more importantly, the final qualifying ticket.
Owen Carpenter rode into an unbeatable lead to take the winter 128cm in convincing style on the 22-year-old mare Brookhall Glimpse.
“I have to sit quietly on her as she has such a big stride, but my brothers Morgan and Iwan and my parents all help me and give me advice, we work as a family team,” said Owen, 11.
Just 15 started in Sunday’s 128cm with the initial six clears reduced to four in the second round for an exciting jump-off. Owen provided the first clear and it proved unbeatable, winning with almost a second in hand.
Second just 24 hours earlier, Tabitha Kyle again guided the seven-year-old Borderhill William into the runner-up spot with the only other treble clear.
Henry Squibb, 10, was in contention until the very last fence, and the lowered rail dropped him and Pussy Cat Doll into third. Nonetheless, it was sufficient for a much-wanted Hickstead ticket to the final.
Henry’s cousin Eloise Squibb claimed fourth on Bradford Mystique, a mare she only sat on for the first time five days before. The result marks the fourth pony Eloise has qualified for the Royal International final, although under rules she can only select two ponies for Hickstead. Her other qualified ponies are Platinum Prince, Wyndham Tom Thumb and Fynnonbach Sandman.
On four faults from round two, Charlie Atkinson took fifth on Bunbury Conquest with Henry also in sixth on Major Jack.
Not to be outdone by his brother’s win, Iwan Carpenter topped the Graham Heath 128/138cm handicap on the seven-year-old 138cm Follow Jazzy Lady. Tabitha Kyle was only 0.37 sec behind for second on Lissduff Royal with Jake Gibson in third on Llettycrudd Cardi Bach. Charlie Rea Nelson took fourth on Kiltormer Dan with Eloise Squibb fifth on Wyndham Tom Thumb and Toby Fry in sixth aboard Bubble Pop Electric.
Claudia Harding laid claim to the British Showjumping 128/138cm handicap special on Cheeky Chap, a 16-year-old she has competed since September. Grace Shuddall Hughes was 0.60 sec in arrears to pop into second on Solcum Donatella with Noor von Bu Low in third with Peppino Il Grande, a new ride she has taken over from Claudia Moore, and fourth on Bellfield Benjamin. Jessica Cunnington posted the last of the double clears for fifth on Mojo II.
A winner the day before in the 128/138cm handicap special on Lizs Pride, Paige Newton doubled up in the pony British novice, taking the win on the 14-year-old mare Conans Delight. Saturday’s winner Connie Lane claimed second on Creagh Mol with Jade Bramley on Mochulla Nugget third and Archie Travis took fourth aboard Brookhall Tarquin.
Ben Staunton claimed victory in the pony discovery/90cm open with his new ride of six weeks, the 10-year-old mare Ballinamura Omeara, jumping ahead of Frankie Naish, in second and Magnetic Attraction.
Paige Wright jumped into the top spot of the 70cm on the 12-year-old Midnight Whisper, relegating Billie Thornton and Dymock Memories into second.
Paige Wright had to settle for second in the 80cm open with Dymock Just so, beaten to the top spot by Gemma Bullen on the 23-year-old mare Go Tilly Go. Megan Trott slotted Annandale Moonfleet into third.
Photos © Jumping Around