Nigel Coupe left the best until last at Morris Equestrian Centre’s winter premier, claiming victory in the winter grand prix on Jubilee III.
Nine of the 40 starters reached the jump-off after posting initial clears for a hot, exciting jump-off where less than 0.40 sec separated the top three. But Nigel was the fastest, easing the Wolkentanz 13-year-old into the top spot with just 0.11 sec in hand to pocket the handsome £2,000 first prize.
Annabel Shields made a strong bid on the Irish-bred Carnoneybridge Challenger for second and Joe Clayton eased Luron S Z into third. Six posted double clears with Millie Allen and Balou Star in fourth ahead of fifth-placed Mark Turnbull’s Cartouch III and Laura Stephenson on Catherston Conner in sixth spot.
Jackson Reed-Stephenson booked his ticket to the Royal International Horse Show, Hickstead, with the much coveted top place in the winter B and C qualifier on Exception. Fifteen of the 46 starters accessed the jump-off, but Jackson raced ahead on the Belgian-bred seven-year-old Exception to take the top spot b 0.60 sec.
Tim Page jumped into second to take the other qualifying place on the six-year-old Casanova 499. Joe Clayton missed out on Hickstead by 1.04 sec in third on Alan Fazakerley’s Ballinteskin Eye Catcher and Dee Anderson claimed fourth on Queen Bee JX ahead of Jackson in fifth on second ride Casparow.
Pippa Allen jumped to the top in the winter grade C on Elrosa despite strong challenges from Annabel Shields. Seventeen of the 33 starters made it to the jump-off for a hot class, but Pippa had all the answers on the eight-year-old Zidane daughter to win with just 0.44 sec in hand. Annabel had to settle for second and third on the Bacardi VDL six-year-old Gerona and the seven-year-old Rubin VHS and Laura Stephenson picked up the fourth and final qualifying place on Centino Gold.
Pippa’s younger sister Millie was also a winner, topping the world class under 23 on the ever-eager stallion Balou Star (Balou Du Rouet/Quick Star). The initial 30 starters were reduced to 13 for the jump-off, Millie taking the win by 0.42 sec. Six double clears were evident with Christie Pritchard on Waldemar taking second ahead of Aimee Bell’s Cameron Poe in third. Faye Adams finished fourth with Zaire, Chelsea Skelton netted fifth on Millfield Baloney and Will Fletcher posted the steadiest double clear for sixth on Everytime Anywhere B.
Stephen Lohoar proved unbeatable in the Blue Chip Karma performance, taking the top two places with two six-year-olds, Gucci LSH and Gizmo VIII (pictured). Of the 44 original starters, 14 tackled the jump-off with Stephen galloping ahead for the top spot on the Je T’Aime Flamenco/Nimmerdor mare Gucci, winner of another Foxhunter class. He guided his HOYS newcomer finalist Gizmo into second, 1.74 sec separating the two.
James Taylor eased Gubeon Annie into third ahead of Charlene Bastone, in fourth and fifth with Du Pouquet Sanmore and MHS Ramona.
James Whitaker galloped into the top spot of the Blue Chip Dynamic B and C qualifier with Mersley Ezri, finding all the shortcuts in the hot 25-strong jump-off on the eight-year-old Mersley Mon Capatain daughter to win by 0.91 sec. Paul Barker rode Dalton W into second with Annabel on Gerona in third. Kenneth Graham on Beir Bua finished in fourth place and Stephen Lohoar took fifth and sixth on Gizmo and Idem Dito VD Hemelse Breedte.
Derek McCoppin returned triumphant in the winter 1.35m qualifier on Jessie Drea’s Lux/Furisto 13-year-old Point Two Elvis, breaking the beam just 0.18 sec ahead of Laura Stephenson on Catherston Connor in second. Al Yaqub jumped Oligar Angelus into third ahead of fourth-placed Will Fletcher on Tiger Bright in this 16-strong two-phase class.
Paul Barker hit winning form with an impressive seven wins over this show. He scored a hat-trick on day one. Paul claimed first and third in the accumulator, the Kannan 10-year-old Happy Boy jumping to the fore in the 39-strong class and Lux Fabulous finished third. Gavin Harley sandwiched Wienenn V into second and Annabel Shields eased Wet Wet Wet into fourth place.
Happy Boy doubled up for Paul in day two’s 1.40m, topping the 34-strong class with 1.16 sec in hand. Joe Clayton eased Luron S Z into second with Nigel Coupe’s Jubilee III in third and Gavin Harley on Wienenn in fourth.
Paul guided the Van Gogh nine-year-old Dalton W into a 1.30m victory on day one with 1.52 sec in hand over Jackson Reed-Stephenson, in second on the Tadmus nine-year-old Dante III. Rachel Walker claimed third on Bo Gi in the 33-strong single phase class with Joe Clayton fourth on Ballinteskin Eye Catcher and Faye Adams fifth aboard Zaire.
And Paul could not be caught in day two’s 1.30m, landing the top two places on the 12-year-old Sandors Legacy and Lux Fabulous, 0.48 sec separating the two. Johnathan Dixon was 0.45 sec adrift for third on Gantico and Fraser eased Eye Catcher II into fourth.
The wins just kept coming. In the 1.20m two-phase, the Lux 12-year-old Lux Fabulous came to the fore for Paul, with 0.93 sec to spare over second-placed Simon Buckley on Contessa M. Suzanne Posnett finished in third spot on Karmijn with Carla Bolam in fourth aboard Capriool III.
Paul also lifted day two’s 1.20m on Sandors Legacy II with just 0.12 sec to spare over Carla on Capriool. Amy Duncan eased Adagio II into third in this 39-strong class.
Paul made it seven wins on the final day with Lux Fabulous in the CWD 1.20m final, claiming victory with 3.55 sec in hand. Millie Bjerke took second with Udokus and Amy Duncan slotted Adagio into third. Mischa Irving took fourth on Allana III ahead of Nicola Robertson in fifth on Jalisco.
Fraser Reed proved victorious in the DDS Demolition 1.25m on the Armitage nine-year-old Amadora JX, pushing Douglas Duffin on Fan II into second by 0.21 sec. Charlene and Du Pouquet Sanmore finished third and Martin Arnott netted fourth on Queen Elisabeth.
Photos © Jumping Around