Tabitha Kyle continued on her amazing successful run, dominating the classes at Morris Equestrian Centre’s small pony premier by winning three of the four Hickstead second rounds.
Tabitha – a multi-winner at Keysoe two weeks earlier – headed both winter 138cm second rounds with the consistent Playboy Van De Zoetewei and also claimed the top two places in Sunday’s 128cm Royal International qualifier.
On Saturday, Tabitha and the Belgian-bred eight-year-old Playboy – already qualified for Hickstead after winning at Keysoe – seized another convincing win. Thirty-six starters bid for the three qualifying places on offer over course-designer Gillian Milner’s 12-fence track, the nine coming forward to round two reduced to seven for the jump-off. An on-form Tabitha blitzed the jump-off to take the win by 8.73 sec.
Four posted treble clears, and with Playboy already in the Royal International final, the three qualifying places were decided. Tia Squibb celebrated taking over the reins of the 21-year-old mare Thelma’s Gift from sister Eloise three months ago with the second Hickstead place. Olivia Sponer guided the 10-year-old Top Silvio Hastak – another in their third month of a new partnership – in third and Tabitha added another ride to her finalist tally with fourth place aboard Mister Proper, an Irish-bred eight-year-old ridden for the last four months.
Thirty initially contended Sunday’s 138cm with 12 posting first round clears and only one lost along the way in round two for 11 in the final jump-off. Again, four provided treble clears, Tabitha and Playboy claiming victory by an impressive 5.83 sec. Noora von Bulow Jumped into second with new ride of one month Tullineaskey Fear Deas – an 18-year-old previously ridden by Claudia Moore – and Tabitha netted third on Mister Proper. As this pair had qualified the day before, the second and final RIHS ticket was handed to fourth-placed Paige Wright on the 15-year-old Rochevalley Red Baron.
Tabitha maintained her form with the 128cm ponies, taking the top two places in Sunday’s winter 128cm second round with Living The Dream and Borderhill William. Seventeen starters were whittled down to four for round two with Tabitha posting the only two clears. She opted to jump-off and again proved penalty-free, the Dutch-bred 12-year-old Living The Dream coming home with more than six sec in hand over the nine-year-old Borderhill William. As both these ponies qualified at Keysoe, the two Hickstead passes were passed down to the other two first round clears – Noora von Bulow on the 18-year-old Peppino Il Grande and Thomas Hogan aboard the 13-year-old Little Miss Millie II.
Tabitha also headed two more classes over the weekend, winning Saturday’s British Showjumping 128/138cm handicap special by almost seven sec with the Irish-bred seven-year-old 128cm mare Barracurra Jellybaby over Evie Banks with the only other double clear on the 12-year-old 138cm Mayfly Green Peter. Tabitha also claimed three of the top four places in Sunday’s Graham Heath 128/138cm handicap. Lissduff Royal came to the fore for Tabitha in this 42-strong class, the Irish 16-year-old winning by half a sec. Olivia Sponer slotted Forlan – Graham Heath winner on Saturday – into second with Tabitha taking third and fourth on Mister Proper and Playboy.
Sophie Wicks jumped to the top in Saturday’s 128cm second round to secure her Hickstead finalist place with the 13-year-old Camizion. Twenty-one started over an 11-fence track with the nine initial clears reduced to seven for the final decider. And yet again, the magic number four jumped treble clears. Connie Mensley guided the 12-year-old mare Gemstone Sienna into second, but as these two had qualified at Keysoe, the final two tickets went to Lucy Bowen-Howard on Toorboy Tommy – an Irish-bred 19-year-old ridden for three months – in third and Tabitha collected another ticket with the Irish-bred nine-year-old Coreys Princess in fourth.
NB: Qualifications will be updated pending official grading of results.
Photos © Jumping Around