Annabel Shields landed the Bloomfields major grand prix and handsome £12,000 first prize with the super-quick Creevagh Carisma at Arena UK.
Course-designer Mark McGowan built a testing 13-fence track with distance, scope and obedience questions. Just six found all the right answers to access the jump-off while a further 12 touted hard-luck stories with just one mistake each to record four faults.
Jack Whitaker provided a foot-perfect opener on Elucar VE but three horses later Lauren Hough cut 0.60 sec off the time with Waterford. Her lead was short-lived. Annabel swept round the track with confidence and positive riding to cut almost four sec off the time.
“She’s lovely; bold, brave, careful and so quick across the ground – I hit every stride I wanted,” said Annabel, who has ridden the nine-year-old Carisma for the past 18 months.
Last-to-go Anthony Condon chased her with the Hales family’s SFS Aristio but the stallion was 1.42 sec in arrears for second place, relegating Lauren to third. Jack netted fourth with Yazmin Pinchen fifth on Van De Vivaldi and Lance Whitehouse finished sixth aboard Alex H.
Joss Williams landed an amazing hat-trick of wins with his feisty 19-year-old chestnut mare Culmore Prospect – going from speed horse to power jumper to win the BCP Caravans speed Derby at the gallop followed by the six-bar and an outright win in the Puissance.
“She’s a freak and doesn’t want to slow down, she wants to go as fast as she can and objects to being left at home if the lorry goes out without her,” said Joss, who allows the mare to spend plenty of the time in the field relaxing.
The pair claimed Wednesday night’s speed Derby by more than three sec over Adam Botham in second on Zidane VIII. Brian Thompson claimed third on Aredis De La Rose with Joe Trunkfield in fourth on Geronimo PC Z ahead of Paul Barker’s Happy Boy and Rachael Connor with Fantastic in fifth and sixth.
The incredible mare remained foot-perfect in the six-bar to share the honours with Annabel Shields on the Camiro De Haar Z nine-year-old Creevagh Carisma and went on to be the sole partnership to clear the 2.10m wall in the fifth and final round of the Puissance.
Only two of the 12 starters remained for the final round, Joss going head-to-head with Elliott Smith on the Cardento nine-year-old Flamboyant III. But when bricks fell for Elliott, it was down to a now nervous Joss to attempt to clear the big wall. The game mare – known as Princess Sox at home – didn’t let him down and cleared the wall to rousing cheers from the capacity crowd.
“She’ll be having a day in the field tomorrow,” said Joss.
Four shared third place after taking out bricks in the wall in round four at 2.05m – Geoff Billington’s Con Man JX in his first Puissance, Millie Dickinson on Cairo Z II, Robert Smith with Condor V and Liberty Bramwell aboard Balibu.
Lorna Madden topped a scarily fast but highly entertaining Knockout competition over a 1m course with Enesco. Paul Barker was a full second behind for second on Lux Fabulous and Katie Shaw claimed fourth on Fools Business.
Emily Ward lifted the seven-year-old title with the small but quick Tilla Flamenco in a six-horse decider. They beat Paul Barker and his home-bred Green Grass (Luidam/Amira) by 3.83 sec.
“She’s super-careful and naturally quick – she’s a joy every time I ride her and very handy to have around,” said Emily, on the Je Taime Flamenco/Hattrick mare.
Carmen Edwards guided Happy Valerie into third with he steadiest of the double clears. Annabel Shields finished fourth on Contender with Harry Bateman in fifth and sixth on Zuniek VD Tojopehoeve Z and Jaloubet K Z.
Daisy McKinlay topped the WH Management six-year-old grand prix by 0.68 sec with a deceptively quick round on Darjeeling Desir in a competitive 12-strong jump-off.
“He’s brave and has such a big stride he covers the ground,” said Daisy, 18, who purchased the Mozart Des Hayettes/Gabyscion selle Francais gelding in France three years ago.
A busy Shane O’Reilly had three in the jump-off and rode last-drawn Billy York (Cevin Z/Emilion) into second with Pippa Allen on Inovation (I’m Special De Muze/Asca Z) taking third. Carla Bowman guided Inspiratie W into fourth with Michael Fursedonn’s Newton III in fifth and Shane also picked up sixth with the last of the double clears on Billy Pablo.
Adam Taylor claimed the four-year-old title with the penultimate round of the nine-horse decider aboard OBOS Elite, an OBOS Quality 004/Cruising gelding bought out of Gorsebridge Sales as a three-year-old.
“This was his first time against the clock and he gave his all,” said Adam, who won with 0.47 sec to spare.
Caroline Barnes challenged from the final draw but had to settle for second on Bonusball (Beach Ball/Duca Di Busted) and Daniella Johnston finished third on Kalill (Quasimodo Z/Lupicor). Stevie Crosby guided Fizzy Tart into fourth with Caroline also taking fifth aboard Dunroe Quality and Tom Dovkants was sixth riding Diablo Z.
Paul claimed victory in the Star of the Future grand prix on Crispina Z, the Corofino/Bon Ami nine-year-old who will contend the HOYS grade C final. They took the win by 0.19 sec in the 14-strong jump-off.
Mark Turnbull guided Ashton Dakota into second with Jessica Botham’s Evita X in third. Murray McLeish slotted Just Call Me Archie into fourth with Reece Oliver’s Chacco Boy fifth and Carla Bowlam was sixth on Quality Street.
The final water tray oxer in the first round of the 34-strong Venture grand prix caused problems for several and just three came forward to the jump-off, Zoe Henshall emerging triumphant with Hosloma.
“The course was technical but I call her a cat, she always tries to jump for me,” said Zoe, who bought the Nabab De Reve/Tygo seven-year-old bought three years ago in Holland.
Mark Williams claimed second on Greenacres Diarada and Rachel Lees brought Croft Lassina into third.
Daniella Johnston landed the 1.25m grand prix with 10-year-old Elton John II, a Verdi/Heartbreaker 10-year-old she bought four years ago.
“This was a perfect pre-run indoors before the HOYS intermediate working hunter,” said Daniella, 20, who admitted the fences “were bigger than I expected but he is so brave.”
Nine contended the jump-off with odds-on favourite Paul Barker in contention until three fences from home when Happy Boy put in the most uncharacteristic and unexpected stop, unseating Paul.
Vicky Lovegrove provided the only other double clear to take second on Cento Love some six sec behind the winning time. Sophie Holliday produced the fastest time of the class with her opening round but a rail down on the way put Golden Power into third. Rachael Connor claimed fourth on Fantastic with Amy Kisby on Quh Doonaveeragh Elise in fifth and Elsi Jacques was sixth aboard Sir Nunn Diamond Lad.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around