Mark Edwards made the long journey from South Wales to the popular Royal Highland show in Scotland more than worthwhile with a convincing hat-trick on the home-bred father and son duo Tinkers Tale and Montreuxs Tale.
Mark underscored his form in the Spire Edinburgh Hospitals grand prix with the top two places on the consistent pair for a bumper £12,500 pay packet.
Twenty-six initially contended the 1.55m track over course-designer Mark McGowan’s 13-fence track with eight coming forward to the jump-off. None were a match for Mark. He was already leading by more than one and a half sec on the 13-year-old Tinkers Tale as he entered the ring in the final draw with Montreuxs Tale. And he secured victory with a super-clean round on the nine-year-old Tinkers Tale son, wiping 0.62 sec off his original time.
“Montreuxs Tale is improving all the time for a big horse and to breed them both as well makes winning all the sweeter,” said Mark.
James Smith came the closest to slot Simply Splendid into third with Helen Tredwell taking fourth with the last of the double clears on Sebastian VII. Simon Buckley finished fifth on Elia and Annabel Shields took sixth with Creevagh Carisma.
Montreuxs Tale also came to the fore for Mark in the International Stairway. Twenty-four came forward again over a 13-fence track but no-one could provide a clear round and five of the fastest of the six on four faults accessed the jump-off.
The first element of the penultimate double had caught Mark out first time but he made no mistake second time out and claimed the win by more than three sec. Helen and Colin and Ann Garratt’s Unbelievable Darco 13-year-old Sebastian provided the only other jump-off clear to slot into second place. Millie Allen lowered an early fence on Quinu Du Pravia to come home on eight for third spot while Helen finished on a total of 12 with Larksong for fourth ahead of Simon and Elia in fifth.
Mark got the four days to a running start with victory in the Fiona Gillespie 1.45m memorial stakes, the 13-year-old Tinkers Tale stepping up to the plate to top the nine-horse decider by 0.99 sec. The £1,000 first prize added to his Stairway win and the grand prix money brought his total to an impressive £16,000.
Paul Barker jumped into second place with Sovereign Equestrian’s Happy Boy but was in the limelight for the rest of the show. James Smith finished third on The Black Flyer ahead of Keith Shore in fourth with Iron Lady Van’t Meulenhof and Douglas Duffin picked up fifth aboard Fan II.
Paul enjoyed a terrific show with four wins to his credit.
The ultra-consistent Happy Boy scored a hat-trick over three days. They started their onslaught in the Ultrabed Highland Challenge, a 58-strong 1.30m speed track and outpaced all to win by 1.37 sec. Nicholas Williams claimed second place on Hero II with Milllie Allen third aboard Chantal V. Sandy McLean eased Gino F into fourth and Mark Edwards rode another home-bred, Flying Tinker II, into fifth.
Paul and the Kannan 12-year-old also headed the Andrew Black Haulage and Storage A and B table C speed (four sec added for a knockdown) with a fast, decisive clear to pocket the £2,600 first prize by 2.74 sec. Louise Saywell guided the Calvados Z 10-year-old Sharp Image into second in the 26-horse class with Millie and Chantal taking third. Lucy Guild finished fourth on Hugana Van’t Heike and Ailsa Black claimed fifth with Zara Zing.
Paul excelled on the third day with the top three places in the RHS ERS accumulator. Again, Happy Boy stepped up to take victory by two sec with Paul also claiming second on the Van Gogh 11-year-old Dalton W and third with the Corofino I nine-year-old Crispina Z. Mark and Flying Tinker finished fourth and Sandra Low Mitchell filled fifth spot on Carlingsfords On The Rocks.
And Paul also took the top ticket in the Speedi-Beet HOYS grade C, winning with the home-bred Green Grass – a seven-year-old by Luidam out of the Grandeur mare Amira – a former ride of Paul’s.
A 12-fence track reduced the 55 starters to eight for the jump-off, the on-form Paul easing ahead in a hard-fought round two to take the win by just 0.06 sec. It marks the fourth HOYS ticket this consistent pair have claimed – they are also through to the Foxhunter, talentseekers and newcomer finals.
Gillian Anderson took the second qualifying place on the nine-year-old JJ’s Prince Chaccomo with Emma Crawford in third on the Caretino seven-year-old Dukes of Hazzard. James Smith jumped the steadiest of the double clears for fourth on HBF Delmar and just missed out on HOYS. Alister Hippisley-Gatherum beat the winning time with more than a second to spare but the rail on the first element of the penultimate double fell to drop G-Star to fifth.
Johnathan Dixon lifted the 1.40m Breakfast stakes in an 11-strong decider with 2.81 sec in hand on the Wittinger VDL/Darco 12-year-old Fireball. Millie rode Catara 4 into second with Douglas and Fan II in third. Mark added a little more money to his cache with fourth on Flying Tinker and Declan Irvine finished fifth with Dior V Overis Z.
Ailsa Black galloped into the top spot of the B and C championship with the Zurich/Dutch Falco eight-year-old Zara Zing, holding off all challenges in the nine-horse decider to win by 0.97 sec. Graham Babes steered Glencoe into second with Nicholas Roberts and ELO II in third. Emma Crawford clinched fourth spot on Dukes of Hazzard and Kayleigh Spadling finished fifth with Dolous.
Douglas Duffin landed the Andrew Hamilton novice final over a 1.30m track by the narrowest of margins, topping the nine-horse jump-off by just 0.06 sec on the eight-year-old Garthago (Mylord Carthago/Baloubet Du Rouet). Ailsa had to settle for second on Endyana EH Z and Alister guided Gerard Van Den Katten Eeck into third. Leo Lorimer claimed fourth on Cordocana and Lucy Guild was fifth with Master Calvaro.
Lucinda Stewart headed the 1.20m classic on her HOYS 2018 silver league champion Cancun II with 0.84 sec to spare. Chloe Templeton took second in the 12-strong decider on Vurelise with Morgan Henderson third on SS Leagh and Leo finished fourth aboard Hi Midnight Millie.
Sophie Wicks galloped to the top in a five-pony jump-off in the 128cm championship with Camizion, flying across the finish line to win by a handsome 3.38 sec. Michael McColm guided Greenbarrow Desert Rose into second ahead of Eleanor Archibald in third on Pondhead Dexter. Marnie McMyn took fourth on Tynebank Royal Jester and Chloe Johnson slotted Castlepark Giant into fifth.
Rachel Proudley triumphed in the 138cm championship with the feisty Buttons Two. Five ponies reached the jump-off but a clear could not be found. After hitting the first fence, Rachel speeded up and still claimed the top spot as the only four-faulter. Poppy Deakin was second on Astral Ruben, Lewis Lawson finished third on Mr J K, Aimie Mason was fourth with Marshways Perfect Puzzle and Tess McMyn took fifth aboard Triple Treat.
Ciara Miller was the only rider to leave all the fences standing in round one of the 16-strong 148cn championship, her only error being one time fault on Spot The Okehurst. But it was still enough to win the title. Four riders came home on four faults, Shaunie Greig the fastest for second on Casino Royal VII. Drew Ross finished third on Kengarth Sally Anne, Mya Roxburgh Caira was fourth aboard Chivaz and Fergal Holohan took fifth on Highlandy Rebel.
Shaunie went one better in the JC championship with her 2019 HOYS newcomer and Foxhunter finalist Teagan Arla Rose, winning the seven-pony jump-off with 1.42 sec in hand. Four provided double clears, Megan Morris took second on Norbet, Emma McCornick finished third with Castletown Lady Ricardo and Rachel Proudley was fourth and fifth on Icaris W and Jet III.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around