Laura Mantel continued with her successful run to take her second winter grand prix victory with Liz Howes’ home-bred Glory B V at Crofton Manor’s winter classic.
Only 16 started in the grand prix over course-designer Matt Hoskins’ 13-fence track but six jumped initial clears to return for the jump-off, but none were a match for the on-form Laura and Glory B V.
The 12-year-old Caretino Glory/Animo mare has been in flying form since returning to contend the winter season following a break, winning the winter grand prix at Hartpury in December and finishing third in Onley’s equivalent just last week for Laura. And they sliced corners to the quick here, forging into an unbeatable lead to win by four sec.
Mark Armstrong guided Prince Sultan Saud’s V.Alba/Calido I nine-year-old Fabienne II into second spot with Kimberly White filling third place with the only other double clear on the 12-year-old Heathrow. A midway rail dropped for John Crippen and Bling Bling for fourth spot with Rose Moss in fifth on Carlos F and Nicole Pavitt finished sixth aboard Paris 16.
There was no stopping Nicole in the Champagne Cave winter B and C and she claimed the top Hickstead qualifying spot with Xena 16. Six of the 16 starters posted initial clears to qualify for the jump-off, but just two double clears were produced to fill the two coveted Royal International finalist places, Nicole and the home-bred Warrior/Equador nine-year-old Xena winning with 2.48 sec in hand. Will Fletcher provided the second all-important jump-off clear on the Baloubet Du Rouet eight-year-old Drewmain Cedric to join her at Hickstead.
The second fence fell for Lauren Edwards to drop Kesara 22 to third with Julian Mincher on DoubleM Chacco in fourth.
Nicole also featured in day two’s 1.40m, taking second on the Don VHP Z nine-year-old Paris 16 0.30 sec behind winner Yazmin Davis and the 10-year-old Zanbowa Z (Zandor Z/Calvaro Z); the only two double clears in the 11-horse class.
Imogen Yule proved triumphant in the concluding 13-strong Blue Chip Dynamic B and C on the Utah Van Erpekom 11-year-old grade B Blonde Ambition IV, outpacing the challenges from Lauren Edwards in the three-way decider. Lauren was 0.57 sec in arrears on Kesara (grade B) and also picked up third with the grade C Breit Star.
Ashlea Silk-Jones dominated the DDS Demolition 1.25m with three of the top four places in this 16-strong single-phase class. Imogen and Blonde Ambition were out for a double but had to settle for second place 1.82 sec in arrears as Ashlea raced ahead to win with the 10-year-old Calido mare Casarella Nobile. Ashlea also picked up third and fourth with Valentina B and Charly Grey.
Ryan O’Sullivan celebrated with victory in the SEIB winter novice on Lisa Hinton’s Holisco. Fifteen of the 34 starters posted first round clears over the 11-fence track, but in the event, just three jump-off clears were realized. Ryan was the quickest with an impressive 3.42 sec to spare to fill the top Hickstead qualifying spot on the seven-year-old Holisco.
Just 0.49 sec separated second and third, Sasha Good crossing the line in front on the nine-year-old Luidams Diamond to take the second and final Royal International ticket with Molly Chandler just missing out in third aboard Belianus. Shirley Morgan was three sec faster than the winning time but a rail fell three from home to put Global Halifax into fourth with Alice Codd on Diamond Cruise Control in fourth and Ashlea Silk-Jones took fifth on Clint Star, winner of an earlier Foxhunter.
Alfie Bradstock scored a double on the opening day, topping the 1.15m on the Lord Castell/Berlin eight-year-old Grand Cru I with more than two sec to spare before jumping to victory in the winter 1.35m on Helen West’s Tadmus 12-year-old Eebay. Just 10 contended and three double clears were produced from the seven-horse decider, Alfie winning with 1.58 sec to spare. Rose and Carlos F jumped into second with Kimberly and Heathrow in third.
Ben Dunning headed the winter seven-year-old with Paul George’s Gentleman IV in a six-horse decider with a 2.84 sec advantage over Ben Clark, in second with the only other double clear on Hokke. Kimberly White claimed third on Hippo B ahead of Bethanie Knight in fourth on Topmodel Van Overis Z.
Gemma Tattersall notched up a hat-trick on the penultimate day. After heading both 1.10m and 1.15m classes with the eight-year-old Hot Air, Gemma topped the 14-strong winter six-year-old with MGH Candy Girl by the narrowest of margins. Eight contended the jump-off with Gemma and the Sligo Candy Boy/Cruising mare taking the win by just 0.01 sec from second-placed Rose Moss on Nikita Van Het Geinsteinde. Georgia Headley Ward eased Alvescot Expressive into third with Paula Johnson in fourth on Olympus V. Kimberly White finished fifth on Itsaloma and Gemma also claimed sixth with Summer Stardust.
James Winter doubled up in the Blue Chip Karma performance and winter grade C with eight-year-old Garande. Thirteen of the 32 Karma performance competitors accessed the jump-off, James clinching the win by 1.13 sec. Lucy Townley eased Billy Spiral into second ahead of Charlene Bastone in third on Gurtera Cara Dubh. Gemma Hallett finished fourth riding Hipster and Josh Hutchins took fifth and sixth with Billy Quartz and Billy Carlisle.
Five of the nine starters reached the jump-off in the winter grade C, James proving the quickest of the three double clears with 0.90 sec in hand. Tom Roche slotted Tincabelle into second with Julian taking third aboard DoubleM Chacco.
Photos © Jumping Around & courtesy British Showjumping/Simply Event Photos