Rachael Connor hits the top spot at the Northcote Stud Winter Masters

Rachael Connor rounded off a great weekend at Northcote Stud’s Winter Masters with a resounding double victory with two mares on finals day.

The ultra-consistent Fantastic – Northcote’s current 2016 six-year-old champion, Arena UK’s major grand prix 2016 six-year-old titleholder, placed eighth in the HOYS newcomers final and winner of a dozen classes since October including qualifying for the Hickstead B and C final at Morris, again came to the fore in the 1.30m final.

Rachael guided the seven-year-old Casantos/Oklund mare into a commanding victory, pushing Scarlett Ward into second on the scopey Caretella B/Grand Step 13-year-old mare Calista H.Laura Stephenson netted third place on Catherston Connor, a Cevin Z/Dutch Courage 15-year-old 15.2hh Laura has produced from British novice.

And Rachael also guided B Valeree, bought from Alexander Horseboxes’ Alexander and Sarah Brimelow, to the top spot in the 1.25m Masters final.

A double winner at the Scope 2016 Festival with the Tacklockers novice and Buckaroo Saddlery adventurer and the Arena UK Venture grand prix titles to their credit, this Larino/Andiamo 11-year-old is another lightning-quick mare against the clock now winning at Foxhunter level and the occasional 1.30m. And Rachael took full advantage in this jump-off to claim the top spot.

Dan Delsart conceded to second place on David Miles’ Jackof Diamonds/Cruising gelding Drumin Jacko, an eight-year-old he has ridden since May. Sara Winterbottom took third on her eight-year-old Hickstead winter novice finalist Katie I with Laura Stephenson’s Heartbreaker/Lux 10-year-old Centino Gold in fourth and Sophie Hillier aboard Stoney Raikes Gindy in fifth.

Sophie and the six-year-old Quality Times daughter Stoney Raikes Gindy headed the Winter Masters 1.15m final to pick up a £200 purse. Alister Hippisley-Gatherum slotted the Emilion six-year-old G-Star into second ahead of Lucy Henderson’s Junior Mariner/Joker Rouge eight-year-old The Dude 7 in third and Dan Delsart in fourth place on Charlotte Swanston’s Clinton/Concorde seven-year-old Fair Lady.

Samantha Leighton topped the Winter Masters 1.05m final on Oakenmoor, an 11-year-old gelding she has competed for 12 months. Scotland’s Alister Hippisley-Gatherum again took second spot, on this occasion aboard the Belgian-bred five-year-old Edenside Elvis. Brian Thompson jumped into third on Millfield Stud’s Casino/Landgraf I six-year-old Millfield Casper with Chelsea Jones in fourth on the Gentle Diamond nine-year-old Galway Diamond Queen and Angel Tough picking up fifth on the Luidam/Hors la Loi II five-year-old Dam Dam.

Dan Delsart – who brought 10 horses and enjoyed a successful show – claimed the Masters 95cm final on brand new ride Calidus II, also a winner on days one and two. The Calido I/Acord II 11-year-old has quickly gelled with Dan and they claimed victory over second-placed Jordan Bannister on the six-year-old gelding Cottage Farm Touch and Go. Russell Wright netted third spot on the eight-year-old Harrowclough Painted Lady with Ellen Blackburn picking up fourth on the Cairo II/Karandasj five-year-old Halo II.

Dan had topped day two’s British novice on Calidus II, pushing Samantha Ormesher’s 11-year-old mare Libras Desire into second. James Berry took third on the seven-year-old mare Fantasiarande with Ella Dickinson fourth on the 10-year-old Berries Farm Zac and Gemma Wells aboard the seven-year-old Jackson Five in fifth.

And Dan also took second on Fair Lady in the newcomers/1.10m, beaten to the top spot by Demir Topcu on the German-bred 13-year-old gelding Lymbus. Richard Davenport brought the Cheers Cassini/Everest nine-year-old Cheers Twin into third with John Shaw on the seven-year-old Cinghar daughter Hallmark Elan in fourth, Alister Hippisley-Gatherum’s G-Star fifth and Sophie Hillier on Stoney Raikes Gindy sixth.

Christina Richardson-Kenyon headed the middle day’s 1.30m on Calypso’s Rampant Million from Laura Stephenson on Catherston Connor. Al Yaqub clinched third on Cassago with Scarlett Ward’s Calista H in fourth, Nicola Dolan fifth riding Hermionie VI and Rose-Marie Kenyon in sixth aboard Calypso’s King Million.

Rose-Marie triumphed in the newcomers/1.10m with Roo’s Born a Million, a Born a Million/Proctor’s Royal 13-year-old. Scarlett Ward took second on the Carentino/Le Grand I 20-years-young Milena 8 with Dan Delsart in third on his 14-year-old faithful mare Mayspring.

Rachael Connor had added to her winning tally on the second day’s Foxhunter/grade C with the top two places, winning on the 10-year-old mare Hinde and taking second on B Valeree. Dan Delsart took third on Drumin Jacko with Alister Hippisley-Gatherum fourth on the Belgian-bred 11-year-old Gabor just ahead of fifth-placed Sarah Winterbottom’s Why Me/Mermus R seven-year-old Dolly V and Laura Stephenson, in sixth on Centino Gold.

Claudia Jones jumped to the top in the discovery on Early Shirley, an eight-year-old Piccolo daughter she has competed for almost two years. Chris Smith pushed Castel Sports Horses’ Lord Castell/Zanzibar five-year-old stallion Hastings III. Samantha Ormesher took third on Libras Desire with Alister and Edenside Elvis in fourth. Rebecca Wolfenden stood fifth with Lord Lancer II and sixth went to Shelley Harrison’s Hilixxia.