The USA’s Taylor Alexander landed the 2* 1.45m grand prix on the final day of Chepstow Spring International with Ryanair De Riverland in an exciting jump-off.
Italian course-designer Andrea Colombo set a strong, technical 13-fence track for the 45 starters and achieved eight first round clears, although Jake Saywell could be considered unlucky to come home on just one time fault with Lukas Van De Kievitsdriesen for ninth.
Richard Barton set a competitive standard with Donata but Taylor incredibly wiped more than four sec off the time on the 14-year-old Quick Star stallion Ryanair.
“He’s naturally quick across the ground and I could trust him to take out a stride to the last,” said Taylor, who bought Ryanair two and a half years ago on the advice of trainer Laura Kraut.
Kerry Brennan, already winner of two classes this week, was keen to regain her 2018 grand prix title and made a supreme effort on Wellington M. But despite the Quidam De Revel 16-year-old matching Kerry’s determination with a flyer to the last, they fell short and finished second 1.71 sec in arrears.
Richard Barton’s standard setter on Donata clinched third place with Jess Dimmock in fourth on Cybel. Other riders made just one mistake apiece. Jude Burgess was the fastest of the four-faulters on Comeback De Fremis to take fifth and Harry Charles was sixth on new ride Cabanus. Simon Buckley was seventh on Elia and Nick Benterman filled eighth spot aboard Cartos Z.
Mark Edwards claimed his second win of the week with Tinkers Tale in the concluding medium tour accumulator. Mark, who had won the 1.40m two-phase earlier in the week with Tinkers Tale’s son Montreuxs Tale, edged ahead in the 21-horse accumulator to win by just 0.08 sec. Charlene Bastone steered Miami 19 into second with Joao Charlesworth in third on Hartleymanor Venus just ahead of fourth-placed James Whitaker on Lammy Beach. Will Fletcher took fifth on Sam W and Ryan Lockwood eased Twinning Hill into sixth.
Ronnie Jones outpaced his 24 rivals to take victory in the small tour speed on Premier Diamond, a Hold Up Premier/White Clover 10-year-old he has ridden for the past two months. Harry Bateman guided Zuniek VD Tojopehoeve Z into second with Charlene in third aboard Fyberlinus H. Gemma Ellison slotted Fernhill Off Chance into fourth, Jude Burgess finished fifth on Dreams of Don and Carina Scudamore took sixth on Jakarta VD Hunters.
Charlie Jones captured the six-year-old grand prix title with Vins VD Tojopehoeve Z, a rangy 17.2hh with Vagrant Z/Calvados bloodlines ridden for Nick Skelton and Laura Kraut.
“He’s a big, scopey horse and the faster he goes, the higher he jumps,” said Michael.
Adrian Whiteway clinched second place on Chacco Volo 0.23 sec off the pace and Ben Clark brought Alanta into third. Charlene Baston finished fourth with Iris VIII, Joao Charlesworth took fifth on Unbreakable Z and Simon Buckley slotted Millfield Counterfeit into sixth.
Alice Watson topped a hotly-competitive five-year-old grand prix on Cintrix Du Ruisseau, her early round in the 18-strong decider claiming the win by 1.64 sec.
“She’s genuine, careful and brave and likes to get on with the job,” said Alice, who bought the British-bred Cinsey daughter from breeders Peggy and Jamie Douglas.
Helen Rees claimed second on Smirnoff AP Silvio with Michael Fursedonn on Cevin’s Pleasure in third. Laura Robinson jumped into fourth on Greenacres Cristalano, James Emblen finished fifth on Skelwith Diamond Lady and sixth was awarded to Zoe Smith and Jamaar.
Jake Ward registered his biggest win on Comano Z with the 1* silver tour grand prix title. Seventeen reached the jump-off with Jake and the Conversus/Darco seven-year-old winning with 1.74 sec in hand.
“He’s easy, straightforward and affectionate and has given me confidence,” said Jake, who bought Comano via Adam Botham eight months ago.
Alice Watson settled for second on Fiasco TH with Taisie de Gruchy in third aboard Hoodshill First Look. Chris Franks claimed fourth on CFS Eye Wonder, Sarah Jones was fifth on Calvaro B and Kath James picked up sixth with Isidoor.
Only four of 38 starters accessed the 1* gold grand prix with Joao Charlesworth using his final draw to full advantage to take the title on Holly Blue I by two sec.
“She’s got a massive heart and is a real trier,” said Joao on the seven-year-old owned by long-term supporters Ian and Marina Domall.
Ollie Tuff finished second with Eros III with Olli Fletcher in third aboard Hello William and Thomas Dovkants claimed fourth with Cassan II.
Time faults affected several riders in the 148cm grand prix and although six riders left all the fences intact, only two actually provided clear rounds to go forward to the jump-off. First off Holly Truelove secured the top spot with the only double clear in a competitive time on the 14-year-old stallion Rexter D’Or.
“A forward-going track suits him and he’s so careful,” said Holly.
Red Morgan chased hard but when a rail hit the floor it dropped Bodysee Des Avelines to second.
Lila Bremner was just 0.02 sec over the time allowed for third on Lapislazuli with Shaunie Greig and Casino Royale in fourth. Claudia Moore finished fifth on Elando Van De Roshoeve and Tatiane Mauree claimed sixth with Horseabout Zibu.
Winner of the previous day’s speed class, Tabitha Kyle claimed a convincing victory in the children-on-horses grand prix on Grennanstown Sarco Luxhill with the only first round clear.
“He’s big but level and kind,” said Tabitha, 12, who easily guides Holly Smith’s well-over 17hh Irish-bred gelding around the ring, a massive switch from her 128cm ponies.
Time faults affected other riders. Meredith Minderman finished second on her day one two-phase winner Prize Mix with Alena Hughes in third on Rainbow. Amelie Gachoud took third on The Precious One and Eleanor Simpson finished fifth and sixth with My Lucky Day and Galinka VDL.
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