Emily Ward outpaced all with the long gallop to the final vertical to take the Chepstow 2* grand prix in fine style on Millioninmind.
Nine of the 49 starters posted first round clears over Italian course-designer Andrea Colombo’s 13-fence track which tested with distance questions and cleverly placed square oxers.
Nigel Coupe Set a seemingly competitive standard with Golvers Hill but two horses later Emily sliced the time by three sec on the Irish-bred VDL Douglas 12-year-old Millioninmind and remained ahead despite several challenges.
Olli Fletcher came the closest but was 0.85 sec in arrears on Temple Rebus and Scarlett Charles slotted Lordanos Junior into third relegating Nigel to fourth. Harry Charles’ exciting round so nearly took the class as he beat Emily’s time by 0.83 sec but Vivaldi Du Dom’s stroke out the top pole of the last with his hind legs to drop to fifth.
“He’s [Millioninmind] fast and as long as I’m there or thereabouts he’ll try his hardest to clear the fences,” said Emily, who found the track “Tough enough but it was a good course with faults everywhere.”
Gemma Ellison claimed victory in the concluding gold tour 1.30m grand prix from the front in a four-way decider aboard Fernhill Off Chance, a Sligo Candy/White Clover seven-year-old bought in Ireland as a six-year-old.
“He loves pace and is very brave with pace and as he’s so careful I can trust him to jump the fences,” said Gemma.
Jess Botham beat the time with more than two sec to spare but the penultimate vertical fell to drop new ride Florentina to second. Chris Smith finished third on Hornet with Tom Dovkants in fourth aboard Roxy.
Milli Cornock netted her second grand prix title – she won the bronze grand prix with Boavista D’Elsendam Z – with the five-year-old title aboard Paul Connor’s Just Do It.
Fifteen of the 26 starters reached round two with 10 coming forward to the final jump-off, Milli winning with an inside turn to a midway vertical by 0.85 sec. The Harley VDL gelding joined Milli 12 months ago.
“He’s bit of a character and loves to play but he does jump the jumps,” said Milli.
Tom Dovkants guided Hamberlins Vistocor into second with Courtney Young aboard Olivia Van De Barlebuis in third. Zoe Smith took fourth on Jamaar ahead of Yazmin Davis in fifth on Jumeriah HX with the steadiest of the treble clears.
Milli also topped the silver 1.15m accumulator by more than two sec on the consistent Berlin 10-year-old Boavista.
“I’ve only had her seven weeks and I’m keeping her in her comfort zone, but she’s a winner and the quicker she goes, the better she is,” said Milli.
Ollie Tuff claimed second on Primo Royal with Steffi Riley’s Aschwin M in third and Suzanne Posnett guided Maxim Van Overis Z into fourth.
Tim Page triumphed in the six-year-old grand prix with Hillcoote Border Fox. Nine of the 33 starters reached the jump-off with Tim and the handsome Pacino/Cruising stallion taking the win by 0.74 sec. Nicole Pavitt slotted Idanibut W into second with Nigel Coupe’s Creevyquinn Alice in third. Ben Clark rode Campagne II Z into fourth with the steadiest of the double clears ahead of fifth placed Abbie Bevan and Ex Pembridge Venture.
Nicole Pavitt and the speedy forever-young 17-year-old Victor Blue raced to the top in the 32-strong small tour 1.30m speed to win by 0.66 sec. Keith Shore steered Djoel into second with Mark Edwards on Flying Tinker II in third. Poppy Stronge took fourth on Las Vegas 200 and Carmen Edwards claimed fifth on Magic Chanti.
Jake Saywell and the consistent and ultra-careful 15-year-old Touch Of Chilli headed the 18-horse medium tour accumulator with 1.80 sec to spare. James Smith slotted Simply Splendid into second ahead of Mark Edwards and Tinkers Tale. Lance Whitehouse took fourth aboard Alex H and Carmen Edwards was fifth with Geodina HS.
Ellie-Louise Francis jumped ahead in the bronze 1.05m speed with 2.74 sec in hand on Gatestown Girl. Emma Barrow eased PK Django into second in the 23-horse class with Carla Cranton taking third with Rambler VDL. Pieternella Barnard jumped into fourth on MHS Willows Empire and Alexandria Watson was fifth aboard Eldorado H.
Jodie Burchmore Eames lifted the gold 148cm grand prix with the sole clear round in the eight-pony class on the seven-year-old Mighty Mouse W Van De Dauwhoeve.
“She’s amazing, I have no words, it is all my dreams come true,” she said.
Tom Pritchard – a winner earlier in the week on My Annie – left all the fences intact but picked up two time faults to take second. Izzabella Rogers on Camus Cream and Elloise Smit with her double winner Newtown Samson returned on four faults each to take third and fourth.
Patrick Thurston captured the silver tour 148m grand prix with the only double clear aboard a new ride, the 12-year-old Hector Laenan Roshoeve, in a head-to-head with Atiya Bussey on Keelnacally Quilletto Robuck.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around