Alice Watson and Vicky Burns are on their way to Hickstead

Alice Watson and Vicky Burns are Hickstead-bound after claiming the top two coveted tickets of the final winter B and C qualifier of the season at Hartpury College.

Alice landed the top spot on KEC Havana, a 14-year-old Irish-bred mare acquired in July and with a recent win at the 3*Spring MET tour at Oliva Nova to her credit.

Vicky eased the Dutch-bred nine-year-old Denzel II, a scopey, super-careful Cantos/Orame gelding bought three years ago from Paul Hendrix and produced from discovery level.

Keith Doyle just missed out on Hickstead qualification on third with Elmo Brown and Jay Halim slotted Derby into fourth. Emma Slater took fifth on LLF Marbella and Adam Botham eased Quarrycrest Reflection into sixth.

Alice hit a purple patch at this show with a hat-trick of wins. She also triumphed in the Foxhunter on the Winningmood/Lys de Darmen nine-year-old In the Mood VHK and took the top two places in the 1.20m on the 14-year-old Matterhorn/Corland mare Wow Cervino and the eight-year-old E-Pilotta (Baloubet du Rouet/Pilot.

Emma-Jo Slater landed the SEIB winter novice in fine style on Kim Barzilay’s Kings of Leon.

Seventy-three hopefuls chased the last of the winter season Hickstead passes on offer, and 28 jumped initial clears to make for a hot jump-off. And it was all about the clock as 13 provided double clears.

But if anyone is an expert against the clock in novice classes, it is Emma-Jo, and she didn’t disappoint. Using her late draw to maximum effect, Emma-Jo triumphantly jumped into victory by 0.49 sec.

Emma-Jo took over the ride on the eight-year-old Kings of Leon from Hollie Pearce in November, and they have quickly established a firm partnership. A busy Blue Chip Championships is on the cards, the pair will contend the novice, discovery power and karma performance finals.

Johnathan Bowman claimed the second Royal International pass on Freule TN, a seven-year-old mare with Baloubet du Rouet/Clinton bloodlines competed since January.

Emily Davies, who had already qualified Girl Power at Solihull, finished in third with Ondine King with Quister Loma SB in fourth. Amy Ovens took fifth on F Palma and sixth was awarded to Lowri Ball on Version Louvo.

Angie Thompson guided Melanie Davies’ bouncy Bayard IV into victory in the winter grade C. The performance secured qualification for the spring finals at Addington in April and the consistent Numero Uno/Capilenz 11-year-old is also through to the Blue Chip Championships Karma performance and Dynamic B and C finals.

Emily Rowe, another who will contend the Blue Chip Karma performance final, picked up second on George, a Graf Quidam/Dundee II eight-year-old started by Jamie Wingrove until Emily took over two and a half years ago. Emma Slater aboard Sophie Eckley’s rangy Beach Ball/Coevers Diamond Boy 10-year-old LLF Marbella claimed third, just ahead of Katie Pytches with CSF Olympic Lady, a seven-year-old Luidam/Cruising mare previously competed by Holly Smith.

Photos © Jumping Around