Annabel Shields celebrated her ‘main man’ Wet Wet Wet jumping back into form with victory in the Spire Edinburgh Hospitals grand prix to pick up a handsome £7,500 at the Royal Highland Show.
“No words can describe how I feel to have him back on form,” said a delighted Annabel.
The four first round clears were joined by the fastest four-faulter for a five-horse decider. 2017 winner Keith Shore and the Tornado 15-year-old Mystic Hurricane looked to be on-form for a second consecutive win as they led the way with the only double clear. But last-to-go National regining champion Annabel was always a danger.
And she pulled off a magnificent win with almost four and a half sec to spare on the Mr Blue/Royal Feu 15-year-old Wet Wet Wet leaving Keith to settle for second.
Eight faults in round two put Helen Tredwell and Larksong into third with Julie Andrews – carrying her four faults from round one – finished in fourth ahead of Robert Maguire and Anastasia Van De Helle in fifth.
Graham Babes hit form in his native Scotland to take the International Stairway and £2,500 first prize with Boucheron, much to the crowd’s delight.
Five contended the jump-off with Graham and the Valentino DDH 12-year-old Boucheron forging ahead to take victory by 1.55 sec. Helen eased her home-bred Vangelis S/Larino 13-year-old Larksong into second with Keith and his seasoned campaigner Mystic Hurricane slotting into third with the steadiest of the double clears.
Jonathan Dixon, carrying four faults from the first round, jumped clear second time out to steer the Wittinger VDL 11-year-old Fireball into fourth spot while Louise Saywell – clear in the first round on Old Lodge’s Excelibur – jumped for a steady four faults in the jump-off to finish fifth.
Ailsa Black claimed the top spot in the HOYS talentseekers qualifier and also the seven-year-old spot with 1.32 sec in hand on Zara Zing (Eurocommerce Zurich/Dutch Falco).
Emma Crawford slotted the Ustinov eight-year-old Ferragamo L into second with the only other double clear. Annabel claimed yet another HOYS ticket to bring her tally to six with third place on the Zenith VHS/Chellano Z eight-year-old Rubin VHS. In typical style, Annabel provided the fastest time of the class by 1.74 sec but a rail down on the way dropped the pair to third. James Smith claimed the fourth qualifying place on the Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve eight-year-old Flinstering, again on four faults almost a second behind Annabel.
Keith claimed a win in the Fiona Gillespie Memorial A and B stakes on Iron Lady Van’t Meulenhof, the Parco/Quidam De Revel nine-year-old racing ahead to top the jump-off by 1.01 sec. Tim Stockdale was the only other double clear for second on the 11-year-old Miss Fritz. Four faults dropped Graham Lovegrove and the 13-year-old Ascension Lord and Jonathan aboard Fireball finished in fourth.
Graham eased Acension Lord into victory in the Andrew Black Haulage and Storage speed with a 1.21 sec advantage over Lucy Guild and the Con Spirito R/Concorde 11-year-old mare Hugana Van’t Heike. Paul and Sovereign Equrestrian’s Kannan 11-year-old Happy Boy clinched third spot with fourth awarded to Declan Irvine on Mystic Independence.
Paul Barker enjoyed a good Royal Highland with a hat-trick of wins to his credit, doubling up with the consistent Lux Fabulous.
He headed the opening Ultrabed Highland Challenge with Lux Fabulous, the Lux/Damiro 13-year-old easing ahead in this speed class to win by 0.81 sec. James Smith was closest rival on another Lux Z gelding, the Irish-bred 11-year-old Tawnmore Lux Furious with Gillian Anderson filling third place on the 11-year-old mare Congeninality B. Nick Williams eased Floorduline S into fourth ahead of Douglas Duffin in fifth on Pyjama Jack.
And Lux Fabulous also came to the fore in the William Sherratt Breakfast stakes, Paul taking the win by 0.46 sec. Graham Babes settled for second on the Verdi eight-year-old Farao M with James Smith on Quattro 27 third ahead of fourth-placed Helen Tredwell on Funnycan and Louise Saywell in fifth on Tiger De Old Lodge. Paul also picked up sixth on Dalton W.
Paul’s third win came in the accumulator with the Dutch-bred 10-year-old Dalton W, claiming just 0.28 sec over Lucy and Hugana Van’t Heike in second. And Paul also picked up third on Happy Boy and seventh with Lux Fabulous. David Harland finished fourth on Fauber with James aboard Olivers Diamond fifth and Graham on Glencoe in sixth.
James doubled up with wins on Lux Furious and At First D’Authuit. He topped the Strathallan Events young masters final with Lux Furious with 0.64 sec in hand over Graham and Boucheron. Fraser Reed was third on Eclips VIII with Mark Turnbull fourth on Ashton Dakota. James and Graham also finished in fifth and sixth places on Just Mac and Eccosse respectively.
James was a winner in the Andrew Hamilton novice championship with At First D’Authuit, the Nabab De Reve/Le Tot De Semilly eight-year-old claiming 2.44 sec over Nigel Springer in second on the Caridas Z/Calvados seven-year-old Lumbbrook Lad. Jodie Crawford finished third on CES Wicked Contender with Gillan Anderson fourth aboard JJ’s Prince Chaccomo.
Douglas topped the RHS Power and Performance B and C final with the only double clear on the Clarius/Couleur Rubin eight-year-old Moonface JX. James had two chances in the jump-off but a fast four faults on each put him second and third with Tawnmore Lux Furious and the Luidam nine-year-old Olivers Diamond. Emma and Ferragamo L finished fourth with Claire Leitch in fifth on Warhol Wulfselection Z.
Kailee Benson raced away with the win in the 148cm on the Irish 12-year-old Appache Brave with 0.69 sec in hand over Nicole Lockhead Anderson and the Silver Shadow 12-year-old Wildwood Silver. Shaunie Greig was almost three sec up on the clock but a rail down dropped her reigning HOYS champion Casino Royale VIII down to third. Megan Morris claimed fourth on RS Capello and Charley Hamilton finished fifth on Novella II.
Nicole took charge in the JC championship, lifting the top two places with the Irish 11-year-old Tiernisks Cruising Clover and the nine-year-old Epee Nazar, 2.06 sec separating the two. Megan Stanley clinched third spot on the Irish nine-year-old Ardwholihane Bouncer with Amy Ralston and the eight-year-old Curravordy Builders Blue in fourth. Rachel Proudley finished fifth with the steadiest of the double clears on Jet III and Shaunie took sixth on Teagan Arla Rose.
Rachel topped the 138cm championship with Buttons Two, the feisty 14-year-old mare crossing the line with more than three sec to spare. Ruby McCornick claimed second on the 19-year-old Kiltormer Curragh with Madelaine Archibald in third on the 18-year-old Mitchel Troy Welsh Express. William Stewart and the evergreen Loughcutra Lad finished fourth and Isla Campbell on Kildea Hero was fifth.
Sophie Wicks clinched victory in the 128cm championship on the 12-year-old Camizion with just 0.20 sec over Fergal Holohan and the 16-year-old Harri Potter. William Stewart claimed third on the 13-year-old mare Soxs Pocket Rocket ahead of Charlie Rogan on AG Domino in fourth, Madelaine Archibald finished fifth on My Little Sweetheart and Jayden Hendry was also double clear for sixth on Bylands Music Man.
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