Carron Nicol bounces back to a win

Just days following an operation on her back, Carron Nicol was back in the saddle to post the sole treble clear to net the top HOYS spot in the Equitop Myoplast Foxhunter second round at Keysoe with the talented stallion Galerius.

Carron has suffered with recurring back trouble for several months and has endured three ops since March, the latest only five days before the show with a Rhyzotomy operation to de-nerve her back in six places.

“The horses have hardly any preparation – mainly on the horsewalker apart from [my son] Leo and [stable jockey] Brandon Lovely jumped Finnegan and Galerius down a grid,” said Carron, who only entered the day before and took Galerius to accompany he rother ride Finnegan D.

“I had to check to see if Galerius had qualified, and luckily two double clears at Bicton counted, so we were in.”

The six-year-old has dream showjumping bloodlines – boasting his sire as the the prolific breeding stallion Diamant De Semilly with a Sandro Boy mother. And the stallion has shown power and scope from the off – he easily won the Northcote Stud and Scope Festival four-year-old style and performance finals two years ago with Pippa Allen in the saddle before owners Sovereign Equestrian sold him on to Carron.

And the stallion’s talent and enthusiasm came to the fore here. Fifty-three initially tackled this class, and they were reduced to just 10 for the final jump-off, with Carron – riding for the first time since her op – drawn third from the end.

“I just went for an economical clear but didn’t go mad, I could hardly believe it when the last two had fences down. It’s a bit of a shock to the system and it hasn’t really sunk in yet, I had tears in my eyes when I realised we’d qualified,” said Carron, who has so much love for this special horse.

“He has so much character, he can be cheeky and naughty, but he was impeccably behaved – I think he’s glad to be out and enjoying the job.”

And how did her back hold up?

“It was a bit painful, Galerius is quite exuberant and when he lands it can jar my back, but the doctor said no bending or lifting – he didn’t say no riding!” said Carron, who also finished eighth on Finnegan D.

Jay Halim claimed the second HOYS spot in the prestigious Foxhunter final on Jaque Mate, although the Berlin/Quite Easy eight-year-old lowered a pole midway through the final jump-off. But their time recorded the fastest of the four-faulters by 1.28 sec and it was sufficient for the runner-up place.

Helen Tredwell – who hit incredible recent form at Suffolk County and Cherwell with her top ride Larkspur, winning an area trial and two grand prix classes – was considered unlucky here. She posted four faults on both Galtur and Funnycan to ease into third and fifth. Dale Burnham was sandwiched into fourth on Dome Van Oversi Z, but they all get another HOYS qualifying chance in the Foxhunter Masters at the National Championships, Stoneleigh, in August.

Sole treble clears were the order of the day at Keysoe. Anja Moret, aged just 15, was the only rider to prove penalty-free over three rounds to claim the top spot on Fell Capone in the Connollys Red Mills newcomer second round.

Despite the inclement weather, 71 competitors braced the wind and heavy rain to contend this class and chase the two HOYS qualifying places on offer. But clear rounds were hard to come by, and just seven made it to the third and final round.

But Great Baddow Sports College pupil Anja dismissed any pressure to jump another easy clear on Fell Capone. The Levantos I/Lux seven-year-old was bought in November from Anne and Hollie Lansdowne after Anja moved to their Essex yard in July.

"Anne's enthusiasm has got Anja's confidence back, we went to Keysoe to gain experience, never expecting to win," said Anja's father Spencer.

The win marks the family's first visit to HOYS - even as spectators - and the first time they have tackled a major second round - "The only other second round was a Dodson & Horrell amateur 1.05m two years ago."

Adam Botham made just one mistake on Michael Lyons’ eight-year-old Jerome Du Luot, but their speedy round was good enought for the second qualifying place.

Bryony Ward was just 0.67 sec in arrears for third with Figaro VII, and Rosie Gunn on Jagerbomb and Claire Robertson’s Cillfiacrach Trend also posted four faults in the final round for fourth and fifth respectively. They have, however, earned another qualifying chance at Stoneleigh in August in the Newcomers Masters – where four HOYS qualifying spots on offer.

Photos © Jumping Around/courtesy British Showjumping/Hoof Prints


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