Kerry gives it some Welly!

You can guarantee Kerry Brennan and the cheeky, effervescent Wellington M will be value for money. And they gave it spades on Gala night at the Blue Chip Championships with tight turns and a flourishing gallop down the arena to the Blue Chip oxer to head the grand prix in typical flying style.

Fifteen of the 47 starters jumped initial clears over Paul Connor’s 12-fence track and two – Tracy Priest and Matt Sampson, first and second in Thursday night’s Pro challenge – were in the mix for a chance to win the Andrews Bowen £1,000 bonus, offered to the Pro challenge top three who went on to win the grand prix. But although they both jumped clear again with Caristo VDL and Ebolensky, they couldn’t catch early leader Ben Walker on Roulette H.

But the class was far from over, Matt had second ride Roi in a late draw and Kerry went into overdrive on the ever-eager ‘Welly’ and wiped 2.64 sec from Ben’s time.

“He’s only just come back off holiday after Liverpool’s New Year Show, he’s done a couple of warm-up classes and then here,” said a delighted Kerry – “He’s loving being back!”

With a late challenge, Matt and Roi tried in vain to catch the speedy pair with that bonus firmly in sight, but a rail fell along with his hopes. Phillip Miller guided Brendon Stud’s home-bred Unbelievable Darco daughter Unbelievable Lady into second, some two sec in arrears, with Ben and Roulette H in third. Michaela Huntington rode into fifth with a double clear on Alegro Z with last year's winner Jay Halim on VIP II in fifth and Tracy Priest's Caristo VDL sixth. Matt claimed an eventual seventh on Ebolensky - a winner earlier in the day. Ten double clears were recorded with Nicola Barry in eighth aboard Darien, Alex Thompson picked up eighth with Cathalina and Lauren Edwards was 10th on Ella Sandra G.

Just 0.02 of a sec separated the top two in the Blue Chip Dynamic B and C, Matt fractionally claiming the edge on Ebolensky over Katie Pytches’ opening round aboard the Luidam/Cruising seven-year-old CSF Olympic Lady.

Matt acquired the ride on the Evison family’s Clinton/Heartbreaker eight-year-old in December and moved her up to 1.45m.

“She took it all in her stride, I’ve got high hopes for this one and I'd like to thank the Evison family for supporting me,” he said.

Katie took second on Olympic Lady with Tom Whitaker’s Creevagh Tompico in third and Anna Beck rode Darina Vina into fourth. Danielle Kenington claimed fifth with Hanleen Evissa and Tracy Priest was the fastest four on Caruso D’Eres Z for sixth.

Novice title winner on day one, Julian Mincher doubled up in the DDS Demolition 1.25m championship, riding Vanessa Pymont’s Mr Darcy 11-year-old Risk It into a 0.66 sec win in a strong, 23-horse jump-off.

“He’s a little winner with a big heart, I asked big questions on turn-backs to oxers and he took it on,” said Julian, who had succumbed to a nasty sickness bug – “I really don’t know how I rode today.”

Rachel Vicary and Sparkling Indulgence were more than four sec in arrears for second place with Chantelle Duggan taking third on Hanleen Thisthills. Jessica Baugh rode into fourth on Castlemitchell Princess with Lily Bradstock on Benedictus fifth and Colin Keeling sixth on ARD Spun Gold.

A determined Perdi Digby made a flying start in the Blue Chip Pro sparkle JC/JA on Kayleighs Star and kept up the pace to take the title.

“She is the kindest pony and has brought me on so much, she gives me confidence,” said Perdi, 14, who originally jumped this 14-year-old JA in British novice in 2013.

As she was so young, Perdi handed the reins to Chloe Reynolds for two years and the mare contended the 2014 HOYS pony newcomer and Foxhunter finals. The Irish mare then returned to Perdi and plans now include the pony showjumper of the year series this summer.

Eight JA’s and seven JC’s reached the jump-off, with Izzi Ryder and Woodfield Five Star – also from the JA section in this handicap – posted a late challenge for second place. Jessica Howard and the JC Rocky Robin, winners of the 2016 novice and discovery titles here last year, jumped into third. Harry Wood and Patchwork Poncho (JC) claimed fourth with Courtney Young on Fostymana VH Trichelhof (JA) in fifth and Flo Norris aboard Nils D Hurl Vent (JA) in sixth.

Photos © Jumping Around