Peter Charles claimed the top-billed 2* grand prix at Chepstow in a thrilling 15-horse decider, relegating last year’s winner Keith Shore to second.
Portuguese course-designer Bernardo Costa Cabral set a testing 13-fence track in the huge sand arena, asking questions early on with the water under the triple bar at fence four away from the collecting ring and several committed lines. But the horses were jumping off well the sand and 15 posted initial clears with several on-form pairings in contention.
Yazmin Davis’ early standard with Zilverster was relegated at the halfway stage as Keith risked an inside turn into the double on his 2016 winner Mystic Hurricane to swipe away a little more than a second from the time. And that inside line dictated win or lose, with Peter also opting for a smooth, angled turn on ABC Quantum Cruise. A gallop to the penultimate tall vertical and final oxer secured the win by almost two sec.
“It’s nice to win one, I’m almost retired,” said Peter who has quietly produced the OBOS Quality/Cruising gelding through to this level over the past 18 months and rates him as “the best eight-year-old in the world right now.”
Keith had to settle for second this time and Yazmin’s early effort claimed third. Six double clears were produced, with Emily Ward and Remi Cavalleri taking fourth, Rose Moss claimed fifth on Carlos F and Olivia Poole slotted Connery III into sixth. Harry Charles, 17, and winner of the Welsh Masters grand prix here two weeks earlier, took similar lines to his Olympic gold medallist father Peter, bit a rail on the floor put him and Valkiry de Zance into seventh.
Already a winner earlier in the week, Paul Barker doubled up with medium and small tour wins. The Lux Z/Damiro 12-year-old Lux Fabulous, topping the small tour 1.30m speed in fine style to win by half a sec for Paul. William Rekert eased the Zelote VDL nine-year-old Daniek into second with Charlie Dawson on Landini third and Shane Breen aboard Bina Ford’s Acoustik Solo du Baloubet in fourth. Alice Watson claimed fifth on E-Pilotta and William Fletcher took sixth with Glory Rose.
Paul rode his Friday’s big tour winner Happy Boy into the top spot of the medium tour accumulator to claim his second win, the Kannan 10-year-old answering his every call to take victory by the narrow margin of 0.06 sec.
James Whitaker slotted the 13-year-old Mersley Chakotay into second with Shane Breen on CSF Vendi Cruz in third. Douglas Duffin rode Eclips VIII into fourth with Sienna Charles on Chaitanya fifth and Julian Mincher aboard Barracuda des Sequoias took sixth.
Lucinda Roche was another to double up, taking both gold and silver tour classes. She rode the eight-year-old mare Izar LB into the top spot of the gold tour 1.25m, galloping ahead in the five-horse decider to win by 1.13 sec. Alex Somerville-Cotton jumped into second on the 14-year-old Canturo daughter Candela 27 and Vanessa Jobson-Scott claimed third with Crocantino of Greenhill Z. Isabelle Casgrain took fourth with Arezzo Z and Elaine Williams claimed fifth aboard Icon III.
Eight reached the jump-off of the silver tour 1.20m speed with Lucinda again taking charge to win by a quarter of a sec on the Darco 10-year-old Hebe van’t Palmenhof (pictured). Olivia March claimed second spot with the 10-year-old The Bear Necessity and Amy Pritchard rode Glenmore into third place. Samantha Sellers took fourth on Darcobal Fravanca with Ellie McCoan fifth on Lightning II and sixth went to Rachel Howell on Utopia X.
British-bred horses took the top two in the six-year-old grand prix. India Bussey maxed on her final draw to take the 12-strong jump-off with Billy Colman, a Cevin Z/Vechta gelding she has ridden since November. Smooth lines and an easy but deceptively fast rhythm handed the title to India by 0.72 sec with Robert Murphy on Shaw Farm Stud’s SFS Harriet in second.
Seven produced double clears with Zoe Smith on Garcia Lente took third and Taisie de Gruch with Live the Life claimed fourth. Olivia Gent rode Billy Rocks into fifth just ahead of Joe Clayton on Leonardo VI in sixth and Amy Ovens jumped into seventh on Geneve R.
Full results can be found at: https://www.mizoneventservices.com/chepstow-international
Photos © Jumping Around