The young Fletcher brothers dominated the feature classes at Royal Berkshire County, Olli heading the International Stairway while older brother Will topped the area trial.
Olli outpaced all his older rivals to take the International Stairway for the full maximum 12 points on the 2018/2019 league with Temple Rebus.
Twenty initially tackled course-designer Phil Ashworth’s 13-fence track with three coming home penalty-free to be joined by the two fastest four-faulters for a five-horse decider. Two double clears emerged to fill the top two places, Olli forging ahead on the Temple Tamability/Polydor 11-year-old Rebus to take victory with 1.57 sec in hand.
Mark Edwards eased his home-bred 12-year-old Tinkers Tale into second while Helen Tredwell was clear until the very last fence fell to take third on her home-bred Vangelis S 13-year-old Larksong. Paul Bevan and Deangelo claimed fourth with Mennell Watson in fifth aboard Whisper In The Wind.
Will landed the area trial with Judy Peploe’s Verdi nine-year-old Emmerton II.
Twenty-five initially tackled the 12-fence track but just four found all the answers to return clear rounds, and they were joined by the fastest four-faulter, Paul and Deangelo II, who just tapped out the back rail of an oxer in an otherwise foot-perfect round.
Just two double clears were evident, Will providing the first on the Emmerton. Last-to-go Helen Tredwell chased after them but crossed the line just 0.32 sec in arrears with Phil Tuckwell’s home-bred Cornet’s Stern/Balou Du Rouet eight-year-old Galtur for second place.
Paul was clear second time out on the Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve 10-year-old Deangelo to move up to third. Greg Hill tapped out a midway fence but was three sec slower on Big Ben VI to take fourth while John Crippen – just two days in to his new partnership with Pennie Cornish and Mark Chadwick’s Basic – claimed fifth.
John topped the 24-strong 1.30m single phase with Patricia Brown’s Loughnatousa OB, the speedy Coolcorran Cool Diamond 17-year-old taking the win by 1.57 sec. Mark Edwards claimed second on the Irish-bred 10-year-old Harley H with Tracy Priest in third aboard Caruso D’Eres Z. Paul Crago rode June Hof Ter Zeedycke into fourth just ahead of fifth-placed Harriet Nuttall on Carla X.
Paul Crago claimed day two’s 1.30m with the Irish-bred 10-year-old Ultimate Risk in a 25-entry single phase class with an impressive 6.45 sec advantage. Emma Slater finished second on the Kigali 13-year-old Art D Usance with Olivia Howe producing the only other double clear for third on Evita XV. Fast four-faulters and Oakingham Stud stablemates Shane O’Reilly on Elvira and Roger McCrea with Di Caprio finished fourth and fifth.
Shane also featured in the second day’s B and C, taking second on the Magic D’Elle seven-year-old Birdy Du Thot 1.14 sec behind winner Richard Haines aboard the Irco Mean/For Pleasure nine-year-old Irco Pleasure. The grade B’s dominated the top four places with Tim Davies on Lionel Van De Markieslanden in third and John Crippen’s Content fourth.
The top four of day one’s 32-horse B and C also came from the B section, Tim taking the top spot on the Mermus R/Cruising eight-year-old Tullylost Meryl with 0.83 sec to spare. Shane O’Reilly guided the Mozart Des Hayettes seven-year-old Belga Du Thot into second with Paul on Ultimate Risk in third and Tracy aboard Diamants Aurora fourth.
Tim doubled up in the newcomers, taking first and third with the Jack Of Diamonds/Cruise On six-year-old DSL Jackaroo and the five-year-old Harley VDL daughter Indy Tops. John Crippen slotted the six-year-old mare Half Of My Heart (Inshallah De Muze/Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve) into second.
Photos © Jumping Around