Nicole Lockhead Anderson is crowned winter JA classic champion
Nicole Lockhead Anderson and the super-consistent Gangnam Style were crowned champions in the Charles Britton Equestrian Surfaces winter JA classic final following a tense jump-off.
Only four of the 17 starters found all the answers over course-designer Mark McGowan’s 12-fence track but a hush descended over the arena during the nail-biting jump-off.
First off Alice Weightman aimed for a clear but the Dutch-bred 11-year-old Cindy VI just clipped the rail going into the double to finish on four faults.
Tahnia Jordan Jones set off in determined style but it wasn’t her day with Jumper and the double claimed another victim.
Third out Nicole made no such mistake. The scopey Irish-bred nine-year-old Gangnam Style had never looked like touching a fence in round one and he was giving everything air in round two. The pair didn’t miss a beat and not only did they provide the only jump-off clear, they posted the quickest time to underscore their victory.
“He’s chilled and takes it all in his stride and he was amazing today,” said Nicole, 16, current reigning Scope Dunglenn champion with this pony – “He’s so careful Iknew he’d pick up in the double and I could risk a gallop to the final planks.”
Nicole approved of the course.
“I live in Scotland and I’ve been brought up on Mark’s tracks – they’re lucky for me,” she said. “And my pony loves it here – he’s qualified for the HOYS newcomers for the past three years in this ring.”
Last-to-go and 2017 champion Lily Freeman-Attwood was determined to retain her title and executed the tightest of turns to an early oxer but another ultra-tight turn into the double caught the nine-year-old Valmy De Treille unawares. Lily quickly jumped it on the second attempt and raced into second place with no further penalty.
Alice finished third with Tahnia in fourth spot.
Faye Sutton headed Saturday’s JA class with the Irish-bred 13-year-old Robe Ruadh. Eleven of the 21 starters made their way to the jump-off with seventh drawn Faye slicing corners expertise to net the win by 1.10 sec.
Tahnia chased hard from the final draw with Jumper but had to settle for second place and relegated Hannah Barker on Sannanvalley Santino into third.
Perdi Digby provided the steadiest of the double clears for fourth aboard Kayleighs Star.
NB: Qualifications will be updated pending official grading of results.
Photos © Jumping Around