The invincible Shaunie Greig claims the Hickstead JC title for the second consecutive year
Shaunie Greig’s incredible record in ponies continued as the Scottish lass recorded victory in the Oakley Coachbuilders winter JC final on Alison McDonald’s Teagan Arla Rose for the second consecutive year.
Shaunie – who also won the leading pony showjumper of the year with Casino Royale in 2017 and 2018 at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show – is no stranger to Hickstead’s awe-inspiring arena having also won the 138cm final with Buttons Two in 2016.
“I knew she would win before she jumped,” said Shaunie, 16, on the nine-year-old mare after topping the seven-pony jump-off. “The course suited her, it’s open and galloping and she jumped class.”
Tatiane Mauree chased hard and was just 0.04 sec in arrears to take second on the nine-year-old Horseabout Zibu. Georgina Wareham posted the only other double clear to take third place on the 11-year-old mare Sharelle.
Others came home on eight with Olivia Sheppard in fourth on JAC Surprise Addition, Ella Quigley took fifth on Daisy De Chambord with Jake Myers in sixth on Macuta II while Tom Francis-Jones finished seventh with Billy Wish.
Izabella Rogers, 11, was another to claim victory for a second year running, topping the 128cm final in fine style with her 16-year-old 2018 winner Whinney Lass. Last year, she won it with the only clear round, dispensing the need of a jump-off.
This time, she had to go again in an eight-strong decider, but again came out on top.
"This year here were a few more people so it was a lot harder but I watched everyone round working out where to go and where to beat the time," said Izabella. "Going in, it was tense but she covers the ground a lot so I found it pretty easy."
It was tight as Izabella just edged ahead to win by only 0.09 sec although she doesn't consider herself a naturally fast rider.
"I like keeping my ponies contained and calm but if I have to, I'll put my foot down," she added.
She underscored her talent by taking third with second ride Essenar Jinja Ninja, sandwiching Sophie Wicks and Camizion into second.
Tabitha Kyle used her opening round to guide Coreys Princess into fourth and also picked up sixth on Living The Dream with the fastest time of the class but lowered a pole coming out of the double to drop down the order. Emily Irvine posted the steadiest of the double clears for fifth on Bunbury Conquest.
Tabitha left the best until last in the Hooper family 138cm, securing the title with more than a second to spare on Playboy Van De Zoetewei.
Tabitha, 12, has just returned from the children-on-horses European championships where she clinched team bronze with the lofty 17hh+ Grennanstown Sarco Luxhill, but effortlessly switched to her smaller ponies at Hickstead.
"I just try to think of it as another show and that usually works and as soon as I finish I can be happy and think that was great for this show," she said.
Eight of the 23 starters jumped first round clears to go forward to the jump-off with Tabitha in typical positive mode, flying to the win by 1.11 sec.
"Last year I came second with the same pony, this time I really wanted to win it," she said. "He came back to me in the double down the hill and really galloped to the last."
Elissa Hermann held a brief lead with Misty Bay II but had to settle for second place while Mimi Digby finished third with the standard setting and only other double clear on Kiltormer Dan. Lauren Caroline took fourth with four faults on The Jacaloupe, Aimee Jones clinched fifth with Its Bob On with Noora von Bulow in sixth aboard Tullineaskey Fear Deas and Owen Carpenter (Follow Jazzy Lady) and Olivia Sponer (Top Silvio Hastak) finished equal seventh.
Laura Kraut mounted a late challenge in the Champagne Cave winter B and C on Greatfull to take the title with a flourishing gallop.
Eleven reached the final jump-off with Jake Saywell and Michaela Webb claiming two rides apiece. And Jake posted an early lead from third draw with a flyer to the last on the eight-year-old Lukas Van De Kievitsdriesen.
Laura Mantel seriously challenged his lead with Sally Jobson-Scott’s Muna VD Bisschop despite losing a stirrup in the double, but their final gallop to the last proved a risk to far and it fell dropping them to an eventual seventh.
Jake was deposed in the penultimate draw as British-based American Laura Kraut gave a masterclass in jump-off riding, galloping across the arena but maintaining perfect control to fly over an oxer and take the next two verticals at the angle without missing a beat to wipe 1.30 sec off Jake’s time.
The German-bred eight-year-old Congress/Peking mare – who has been produced jointly by Laura and her stable jockey Julie Welles – is no stranger to this arena and won the seven and eight-year-old championship under Laura 12 months ago.
"She was actually better than last year which is always good to know, she's grown up a bit during that year - maybe next year she'll get to jump in the five star," said Laura. "When you ride a horse like that, it makes it easy - she doesn't want to knock the poles down and she's fast. She really loves out in that arena - you never know how they'll cope with a ring like that."
Harry Bateman netted third on Granby with last-to-go Derek Morton slotting KBS High Quality into fourth. Michaela Webb was fifth aboard Stellar Skylight and Olli Fletcher claimed sixth with the steadiest of the double clears on Hello William.
Harry jumped to the top in the SEIB winter novice championship with Teza Englefield’s Lex Lokoda. Nine came forward to the jump-off with Harry setting a sizzling standard from fourth draw on the relatively inexperienced 15.3hh Bellagio/Cruising eight-year-old to win by an impressive 2.33 sec.
"He's only little but he's such a huge character - a pocket rocket with an enormous stride," said Harry. "I found the first round very backwards - it's a little bit his nemesis because he's got such a big stride and quite a lot of blood so he loves to run. The jump-off suited him perfectly but the first round - well, you've got to jump clear to get to the next bit."
Teza had had her eye on the gelding from a young age - in fact she was at his breeder's yard on the day he was conceived and had broken in his sire many years earlier. She lost track of Lex for a time but jumped on the opportunity to purchase the horse when he came up for sale.
"I didn't know he's been sold but when I saw him advertised I recognised the breeding so I went in and beat everyone else to buying him," she said. "Basically, I bought him sight unseen and totally untried but he's been a little star."
Charlene Bastone came the closest from the penultimate draw to take second on Dorie Du Mozet with Shelley Harrison in third aboard Inglesias B. Jake rode Irmette Balia into fourth with the fastest four and Nick Edwards took fifth on Idodinus PP ahead of sixth-placed Jake Ward with Comano Z.
NB: Qualifications will be updated pending official grading of results.
Photos courtesy British Showjumping/Hickstead/Emily Gailey