Mennell Watson commands victory in the grand prix at Royal Bath and West
Mennell Watson lifted the Royal Bath and West grand prix wih seconds to spare on the game stallion Whisper In The Wind.
Only four of the 27 starters produced clears over course-designer Bob Ellis’ 13-fence track and they were joined by the fastest four-faulter to make a jump-off of five. But no-one could come close to Mennell and Helen van Heyningen’s home-bred Cobretti/Mr Majestic 10-year-old Whisper and they pocketed the £1,500 first prize with 7.68 sec in hand.
Olivia Gent provided the only other double clear on the Zip Phin 10-year-old Zipiro for second spot. Will Fletcher picked up four faults in round one but a clear in the jump-off pushed him up the order to third with Everytime Anywhere B. Abi Walters jumped into fourth on Miretta Mena and Mark Edwards filled fifth place on Quidde Du Buisson Z.
Sammie-Jo Coffin was the only rider to jump clear in the jump-off to take the area trial on the Lupicor/Ekstein 15-year-old Willem De Lux. A first-round clear could not be found from the 20 starters and all five who hit just one rail in round one went forward to the second round against the clock with Sammie taking the top spot.
Mennell rode Whisper In The Wind into second with Olivia Gent third on Rumers Cascari. Emma Slater took fourth on Art D Usance and Paul Crago netted fifth on Valentino IX.
Laura Mantel outpaced all 37 rivals to claim victory in the Speedi-Beet HOYS grade C on a new ride, John and Laura Renwick’s MHS San Francisco.
Ten tackled the jump-off with Laura jumping a smooth but quick round on the seven-year-old Quidam Junior/Cavalier Royale mare to win with 1.38 sec to spare.
"I've only had her for three weeks and I really like her - she's such a lovely horse to have the ride on while Laura [Renwick] is away so much," said Laura.
Sian Edwards claimed the second qualifying spot with the eight-year-old Troo Contest (Super Trooper De Ness/Cornet Obolensky) and Hollie Pearce was only a further 0.08 sec in arrears for the third and final HOYS ticket on he nine-year-old Delina II.
Laura also finished just out of the qualifying places in fourth on Coraquina Z with Donna Callaghan fifth on Freek VT Scharenborg and Adrian Whiteway finished in sixth on Dennis II.
Mark Edwards enjoyed a successful show and claimed a hat-trick wins.
Mark doubled up with Greenvale Cara, topping the accumulator and Twist or Stick stakes. Mark raced away with an accumulator win by 6.60 sec on the nine-year-old Cara and also picked up third with Montreuxs Tale, sandwiching Sammie-Jo Coffin into second on Catch The Pigeon II. Will Fletcher eased Emmerton II into fourth ahead of fifth-placed Sian Edwards and Adriarna.
In the Twist of Stick table C speed (seconds added for a knock-down), the speedy pair claimed a win with more than four sec to spare over Sian Edwards and Adriarna. Sammie-Jo and Catch The Pigeon finished third and Mark also finished fourth with Its Business Class.
The 10-year-old Its Business Class scored Mark’s third win, Mark finding the shortest route in the Take-your-own-line with 0.32 sec in hand over Sammie-Jo and Catch the Pigeon. Alfie Bradstock slotted Fuzeta Beech into third and Mark also finished fourth on Cara.
Keith Doyle claimed the initial 1.40m on the Quality/No Limit nine-year-old Elmo Brown by 0.85 sec in the five-horse decider. Mennell and Whisper In The Wind eased into second with the only other double clear with Mark and Tinkers Tale – the fastest by two and a half sec – had to settle for third on four faults, and Sammie-Jo on Simply Splendid took fourth.
Joe Fernyhough jumped to the top in day two’s 1.40m on Calcourt Quicktime. Eleven contended the jump-off with Joe taking the win on the Westpoint Quickfire/Larino eight-year-old by 0.70 sec. Keith had to settle for second on this occasion with Harlequin Dunraven and Luke Thompson filled third on Conzalez M ahead of Mennell and Whisper In The Wind in fourth.
Tom Roche headed the opening 1.30m two-phase on the eight-year-old Casiro I mare Tincabell by just 0.14 sec to push Charlotte Lee and Zarina into second place with Sian and Troo Contest third.
Kathryn Ellison headed the final day’s 1.30m with 3.26 sec to spare on the 12-year-old mare Hanleen Sultis. Sian guided Dalmeretto into second with Sara Arkell third aboard Cordillio Z.
NB: Qualifications will be updated pending official grading of results.
Photos © Jumping Around