Holly Smith executed smooth yet almost impossibly tight turns to land the feature 2* 1.45m grand prix with Claddagh Iroko on the final day at Keysoe International.
Ten of the 44 starters posted round one clears in this world ranking class to qualify for the jump-off designed by Kelvin Bywater. Alex Thompson’s opener on Classy Cat JT Z was quickly relegated by Emily Ward and the scopey Handel II 12-year-old Remi Cavalleri. But Emily’s lead was short-lived as Ireland’s Billy Twomey eased new ride of one month Chat Botte ED – a 10-year-old Casall/Darco stallion previously ridden by The Netherlands’ Johnny Pals – ahead and it seemed he’d done enough for victory.
But no-one dismisses Holly lightly and she posted a deceptively quick round on the Iroko/Cruising 11-year-old Claddagh Iroko to wipe 3.25 sec off the time.
“Clem McMahon, Alex Thompson and Danielle Farnsworth have done all the hard work on producing him and jumping at 5* level in the summer has really upped his game,” said Holly who took over the reins on Jason Nunn’s gelding in April. “He’s very active in his brain and hind legs and finds the technicalities in courses easy, although he can get ahead of himself sometimes.”
Penultimate drawn John Crippen slotted into second 1.03 sec in arrears with brand new ride Happydam – formerly ridden by Sam Hutton at 5* Nations Cup level.
“I only rode him for the first time this week and this is our first show,” said John on the 11-year-old Quidam De Ravel/Narcos II stallion.
Billy had to settle for third place, Emily finished fourth ahead of Alex and Classy Cat in fifth.
Last-to-go Yazmin Davis hit the penultimate vertical on her day one winner Zilverster II, but their sixth place was good enough to take the wildcard entry to the Liverpool International Horse Show at the end of the year.
“She’s my horse of a lifetime. She’s had quite a bit of time off this year with a shoeing issue, but she’s come back just as good, although a little keen!”
Second 24 hours earlier, Faye Adams went one better in the concluding 1.35m two-phase with Demograaf, the Quasimodo Z 10-year-old forging ahead to win by 0.79 sec. Mark Edwards guided Tinkers Tale into second with Louise Whitaker and Brendon Stud’s Special Warrior in third ahead of Joe Stockdale and Tornado Des Monts in fourth. Faye also picked up fifth with second ride Jackpot VI with Charlie Jones on First Class taking sixth spot in the 31-strong competition.
Harriet Nuttall raced to the top in the 53-horse 1.25m speed with the Irish-bred Easy Lift/Silver Cloud 13-year-old Silver Lift to beat Paul Barker and Sovereign Equestrian’s Kannan 11-year-old Happy Boy by just 0.11 sec. Annabel Shields jumped into third with Gerona VH ahead of Danielle Farnsworth in fourth aboard Cornasciebe Ferro. Harriet also picked up fifth with Carla X and Georgia Tame claimed sixth place on Z7 Canya Dance.
Chloe Coward jumped to the top in the 32-strong six-year-old grand prix with H Blokx. Thirteen contended the jump-off with Chloe and the easing ahead to win by 0.47 sec. Michaela Webb slotted Amarillo FSH into second with Simon Crippen on Premier Titanium in third. Phillip Miller steered Hot Pepper S into fourth ahead of Abbie Crippen and Billy Kvitfjell and Sally Goding’s Hadyvola in fifth and sixth.
Michaela topped the five-year-old grand prix with Infinity, the El Salvador/Vaillant stallion claiming a 1.62 sec advantage over Chantelle Duggan and Linton De La Chapelle in second in thw 16-horse jump-off. Michael Fursedonn guided Ilserov into third with Mark Edwards on Ede Peasy fourth ahead of fifth-placed Mennell Watson and Phoebe Red River’s Pride.
Beth Smart followed trainer Paul Barker’s instructions to the letter to land the 1.15m grand prix with the 13-year-old Sandors Legacy with 1.32 sec to spare. A winner earlier in the week, Nina Emery had to settle for second on Piana in the 11-horse decider with Annabel Lomas in third aboard Vraiecocotte Berence. Ondine King took fourth on Quister Loma SB with Nicola Roe fifth on Zoralyn and Holly Coles finished sixth aboard Dungimmon Sunrise.
Full results can be found here: https://www.mizoneventservices.com/keysoeinternational
Photos © Jumping Around & Lorraine Porter/Keysoe