Mennell Watson heads the International Stairway at New Forest


Mennell Watson secured victory in the International Stairway at New Forest with the game little stallion Whisper In The Wind.

The 24 starters were reduced to seven for the jump-off over course-designer Phil Ashworth’s 13-fence track, and in a shout for British breeding, the top three were all bred in Britain. Clears proved elusive in the early drawn riders and Laura Renwick led the way on a fast four faults with Top Dollar until the final two made their bid.

Helen Tredwell provided the first clear on her home-bred 13-year-old Vangelis S/Lupicor mare Larksong but she didn’t stay at the top for very long. Mennell made the most of his final draw to ease into the top spot with 2.22 sec in hand on Euro Sport Horse and Helen van Heyningen’s 10-year-old Cobretti/Mr Majestic stallion.

Laura finished third on the Dollar Du Murier/Darco nine-year-old Top Dollar with Tracy Priest’s Caristo VDL in fourth. Greg Hill claimed fifth on Big Ben ahead of Sammie Coffin in sixth and seventh on Bellamy II and Willem De Lux.

Helen extended her lead on the International Stairway league with 48 points, 15 points ahead of Oliver Fletcher lying second on Hello Disckoboy DN. Mennell's win moves him up four places and into third on 27 points before they head into this year's final at the National Championships, Stoneleigh.

It was certainly a show for British home-bred horses as Mark Edwards claimed the area trial on Montreuxs Tale.

The second generation bred eight-year-old, by Mark’s top ride Tinkers Tale and out of a Corleone mare, has hit great form on the county show circuit this season with a grand prix win at Royal Cornwall and Stairway and area trial wins at Royal Norfolk and claimed another area trial win here.

Only two of the original 27 provided first round clearsover a 13-fence track but they were joined by the two four-faulters and the fastest eight-faulter to make a jump-off of five, Mark claiming two bites of the cherry. In the event , only one double clear was evident, Mark using his final draw to provide another clean round, underscoring his win with the fastest time in the jump-off.

The only other clear in the first round, Mennell and Whisper In The Wind had to settle for second this time out after hitting the first element of the penultimate double. The other riders all jumped clear in the jump-off, Keith Doyle taking third on Harlequin Dunraven with Olivia Gent on Zipiro in fourth and Mark also picked up fifth with Tinkers Tale, the eight-faulter in round one.

Sian Edwards topped the 1.40m with 0.37 sec to spare on Adriarna in an eight-strong decider, holding off Helen Tredwell’s challenges on Funnycan and Galtur in second and third. Keith Doyle finished fourth on Elmo Brown with Ryan O’Sullivan in fifth aboard Bonito VI ahead of Tracy Priest and Diamant’s Aurora.

Tracy claimed two of the top three places in the initial 1.35m winning on Caristo by 2.50 sec and taking third with Aurora, sandwiching Helen and Funnycan into second. Five of the 25 starters reached the jump-off, Abbe Elliott (nee Burchmore Eames) taking fourth on Booming Blue Z and Hayley Webster with LK Rocky finishing fifth.

Sammie Coffin triumphed in the seven-fence challenge on Willem De Lux, pushing Hayley and LK rocky into second with Tracy on Diamants Aurora in third.

Lauren Edwards lifted the top two places with the only two double clears in the Foxhunter, winning on Breit Star and taking second with Carumba, more than eight sec separating the two.

Photos © Jumping Around

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