James Smith is in winning mode in Lier

James Smith jumped to the top in the first of the 1.40m classes on Saturday in Lier, Belgium – split due to the massive entries.

Seventy-one contended this two-phase class with James forging ahead on the nine-year-old Simply Splendid to take the win by 0.20 sec. Jonathan Dixon was more than three sec adrift for 13th on Fireball.

James was also in the frame in the top-billed world ranking 2* 1.45/1.50m grand prix on the final day with Twix De La Roque. Eighty-one initially contended the grand prix but only 11 produced round one clears to access the jump-off with three Brits in the running. James was again clear with the Kannan/Cumano 11-year-old Twix, finishing 3.05 sec behind the winner, The Netherlands’ Kevin Jochems on Evita, for fourth spot. Four faults dropped Robert Murphy and Chablis down to seventh and Chloe Winchester also made just one mistake to take ninth on Clayton 31.

In the second 1.40m – this one with 68 entries – Jay Buxton slotted the Elan De La Cour 12-year-old Sekhmet De Keralys into fourth 1.69 sec behind the pace. Joe Clayton was also clear on Crak De Beaurepaire Z for 13th just ahead of Kellie Taylor in 14th aboard Grupello Z and Graham Gillespie finished 16th on Celine.

Charlotte Arnold led a British one-two in the five and six-year-old. A hugely popular class, 89 competitors tackled this two-phase but Charlotte had all the tight options weighed up and piloted the six-year-old Plot Blue/Voltaire mare Leestone Blue Voltet into the top spot to win by just 0.07 sec. Annabel Shields – already a winner this week – was hot on her heels for second place on the six-year-old Cartender. Leonie Aitkenhead was also double clear for seventh on the Heartbeat/Churchill six-year-old Heart Third.

James – winner of the seven-year-old earlier in the week – had to settle for second on this occasion with Garfunkel. Twelve of the 57 starters contended the jump-off with James and the Caridas Z/Calvados gelding only 0.12 sec off the winning time for the runner-up spot. Joe Clayton was one of five riders to incur one time fault in round one to take 13th as the quickest of the five with the impressively scopey Dirk/Numero Uno mare Gwendolin.

Graham posted the steadiest of the clears in the 1.20m speed to take eighth with Emile De Tiji Z, 16 sec behind the winner.

Photos © Jumping Around


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