Laura Stephenson landed the Northcote grand prix to pocket a handsome £1,500 first prize on Catherston Connor.
Course-designer Raf Suarez set a fair test over a 13-fence track for the 25 starters but just four found all the answers to come forward to the jump-off, although there several hard-luck four fault stories.
And Laura used her final draw to maximum effect on the Cevin Z/Dutch Courage 17-year-old to win with almost four sec to spare. The pair had won the previous day’s 1.40m and finished second in an earlier 1.30m at this show in only their second outing since November.
“He can be very spooky so I wouldn’t say you could leave him and then pick him up and take him to a show but this is my local and he knows this arena well. He’s naturally quick and I just kept him moving around the corners,” said Laura, who has competed Connor since a seven-year-old after buying him from a showing yard.
Mark Turnbull finished second on the Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve/Lancelot 12-year-old Cartouch III with the only other double clear. Four faults at the last oxer put Laura Robinson and the Clarimo 12-year-old Calmond into third and Robert Murphy took fourth on brand new ride Carden Moon Shadow, a 10-year-old with Balou Du Rouet/Cavalier bloodlines.
Sovereign Equestrian’s handsome stallion Knock Out (Ustinov/Clinton) is one to watch for the future. He took the eye of several spectators and impressed the Carbon Retreat four-year-old style and performance judges to take the title under Chris Smith.
“This is only his fifth show and he’ll have his shoes off tomorrow and enjoy time in the field before coming back Bolesworth’s young horse championships in August,” said Chris, who has ridden the handsome stallion for two months.
“Every jump he does he gives you an amazing feeling; his brain and temperament is unbelievable for a young stallion – he puts a smile on your face.”
Although eight came forward into the jump-off for the seven-year-old title, Pippa Allen set an early sizzling standard on Christina Foley’s home-bred MPF Maximus ZR and forced the following competitors into mistakes. The pair won the title with the only double clear.
Christina initially produced the Namelus R/Onnard Z gelding with Pippa taking over a year ago.
“He hasn’t been rushed as he’s a big horse – he’ s 16.3hh and there’s plenty of him – but he’s suddenly come on in these last few months,” said Pippa. “This was really his first time against the clock but he’s straight, bold, brave and quick-minded – he’s looking for the next fence and measuring it up.”
William Rekert was almost two sec faster but a rail fell for the Plot Blue/Heartbreaker mare Hot Bluebird to put them into second. Charlotte Arnold guided Leestone Blue Voltet (Plot Blue/Voltaire) into third with Pippa also taking fourth on last-drawn Double M Quality (Quality Time/Zuidhorn).
Jackson Reed-Stephenson claimed the six-year-old title with Cevin’s Heartbreaker. Thirteen of the 34 starters contended the jump-off with Jackson and the Cevin Z/Heartbreaker mare with 0.72 sec in hand.
‘Sylvie’ was bred at Weston Lawns by the Wells family and bought by Jackson’s father Graham two years ago.
“She’s been consistent all the way through and has come on by jumping on the Vilamoura tour [Portugal],” said Jackson, who picked up qualification here on the Thursday and just returned for the final – “We kept a good rhythm and she didn’t step out of her stride at all.”
Stevie Crosby claimed second on his Foxhunter winner Truevela Blue (Don VHP Z/Manhattan) with Pippa Goddard on Iceman III (Dallas VDL/Corland) in third. Robert Murphy took fourth and fifth on Laurina and Illuminati with Iain Warnock in sixth on Idefix II.
Rachael Connor claimed two of the top three places in a hotly-competitive Marnic Groundworks and Tailwaggeres Dog Hotel and Cattery five-year-old final. She executed quick and tight lines in the 21-strong jump-off to take the title by 0.68 sec with Juvonesa and guided Isabeau SSB into third.
Juvonesa was bought just backed at the end of her four-year-old year from Dawn and Donny Janciauskas of Sport Horse Continental.
“She’s sharp and quirky, always looking at things around the ring but she’s so scopey and bold over a fence,” said Rachael, who has been working on slowing her down – “I’ve been steadying her up over short grids and gridwork.”
Pippa slotted the Kannan/Heartbreaker stallion Jamiroquai II into second with Rachael also third on Isabeau (Caspar/Orlando). Tom Whitaker was fourth on Pepper D’Or with Beth Ion on Casiano in fifth and Chris Smith eased Super Sonic III into sixth. Zoe Smith was also double clear on Jamaar and Esquive Du Chattellier for seventh and eighth.
Rachael on the Casantos/Oklund nine-year-old Fantastic – already winner of two 1.30m classes – and Christina Kenyon aboard the 12-year-old Temple Calypso stallion Calypso’s Rampant Million jumped clear in five rounds of the Millring Horseboxes six-bar to share the honours. Both horses were jumping in their first six-bar.
Angel Tough and Callumbus galloped ahead to take the 1.25m speed with 1.65 sec to spare over Thomas Dovkants in second aboard Tout In Love. Rosie Gunn and Jagerbomb finished third with Carmen Edwards fourth on Geodina HS and Suzanne Posnett claimed fifth aboard Maxim Van Overis Z.
Ronnie Jones captured the Sawdoctors 1m challenge on Derawley Lady with two sec in hand. Michelle Warnock steered Harlinneke into second with Sally Dearing in third aboard Fantina. Chris Smith finished fourth on his British novice winner Jarandasj and Charlotte Arnold’s Joscayo M finished fifth.
Helen Rees clocked up a hat-trick of wins, taking two Foxhunter classes with the Statinus/Balou Du Rouet six-year-old Bianca Du Rouet and a newcomers on the Silvio I/Espirit De Conquete five-year-old Smirnoff AP Silvio.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around