Wet Wet Wet means win, win, win for Annabel Shields in Balmoral
Balmoral must be one of Annabel Shields’ favourite shows. Not only does it have the Irish charm, the English lass landed the top-billed grand prix for the second consecutive year on the ultra-consistent Wet Wet Wet.
Twenty-nine started in this feature class with eight gaining access to the jump-off, Britain’s Nigel Coupe one of three unlucky not to join them after picking up one frustrating time fault in round one on Golvers Hill to take ninth.
Four Brits reached the final stages, pitted against four Irishmen intent on keeping the title in Ireland, but Annabel was too quick for all of them, guiding the Mr Blue 14-year-old Wet Wet Wet to claim victory for the second year running by a handsome 2.13 sec.
Keith Shore – no slouch against the clock – slotted Mystic Hurricane into third behind Ireland’s Sophie Dalme on Remake Lande. Robert Bevis eased Gipsy King into fourth with Stacey Babes on Camillo VDL in sixth.
Annabel had fired an early warning shot on day one, taking third with Wet Wet Wet in the International stakes 1.45m, 1.82 in arrears of the winning time. Douglas Duffin took fourth on Quidam B Z and James Smith finished ninth with clear and four on Balibu.
James Smith was in his element on Bolton Gate Ben in the Rydale speed and power, the 12-year-old gelding relishing the big 1.45m fences after speeding round the 1.30m speed track. But the pair had to settle for second to Australia’s Jake Hunter on Robinstown Lux Lovely by 0.87 sec. Robert Bevis finished eighth on Chamblis ET with Jordan Thompson and Eclips in 11th.
James had slotted Ben into fifth in the initial 1.40m, 4.55 sec behind the pace. Keith Shore and Hermes finished ninth with Stacey Babes 10th aboard Very Chic Du Tillard.
Jonathan Dixon jumped into fourth on Continio in the Connollys Red Mills 1.45m, finishing on clear and four and also 2.36 sec behind the winner. Laura Robinson eased Lombelle into fifth with James and Balibu in eighth on clear and eight.
Geoff Billington picked up fourth in the Aon accumulator on the 12-year-old ELO four sec behind the pace. James and Ben took sixth and Douglas Duffin also scored maximum points on Pyjama Jack for ninth.
Photos © Jumping Around