Harriet Nuttall landed the International Stairway at the Royal County of Berkshire with Galway Bay Jed to pick up maximum points towards the 2020 league.
Sixteen initially contended the 13-fence 1.50m track designed by Matt Hoskins in the big grass arena and despite several questions asked and a combination to finish, nine posted a clean sheet to come back into the jump-off including two ridden by Harriet.
Only four clears were evident second time out with late-drawn Harriet flying into the top spot to secure the £2,500 first prize with 0.92 sec to spare. Big grass arenas obviously suit the Romanov/Lux 11-year-old Jed – the pair topped the All England grand prix at Hickstead three weeks earlier.
The Berkshire leg of the International Stairway is the first of the 2020 season and Harriet relegated 2019 Stairway League winner Helen Tredwell on Colin and Ann Garratt’s Sebastian VII into second spot. The Fletcher brothers produced the only other double clears, Will taking third on Persimmon with Olli in fourth aboard Temple Rebus. The penultimate fence fell for Joel Parkinson and he finished fifth on Emmet VDM with Harriet also taking sixth with A Touch Imperious.
Sammie Coffin came to the fore in the 26-strong area trial with Bellamy II. Only four found the right answers over this 13-fence 1.50m course and they were joined by the fastest round one four-faulter. Mark Edwards had two through, including the four-faulter and there was nothing to lose with Tinkers Tale and he set a quick time – some 2.71 sec faster than the winning time – but a midway fence fell and it dropped the pair to fifth.
In the event, only Sammie returned a double clear to win the £1,000 on the 13-year-old Cardento/Baloubet Du Rouet mare Bellamy. Mark was five sec faster on the nine-year-old Montreuxs Tale – son of Tinkers Tale – but the penultimate rail fell to put them into second. The same fence caught out Harriet to put A Touch Imperious third with Hayley Webster in fourth on LK Rocky.
Sammie doubled up in day two’s B and C handicap, underscoring her win with the top two places in a 19-horse single-phase class. Just 0.10 of a sec separated the two, the Sparticus/Padinus eight-year-old Georgina EB edging ahead of the seven-year-old Cabri Louvo. Ricky Haines finished third on Irco Pleasure with Mark fourth aboard Ede Peasy.
Will and Olli Fletcher dominated the two 1.30m classes, Will beating brother Olli on day one and Olli reversing the results on day two. Fifteen contended day one’s competition with Will gaining the upper hand by 0.18 sec on the Quartz II Adelheid Z 10-year-old Quidde Du Buisson Z. Olli slotted Evert into second with Mark on Flying Tinker II in third. Harriet claimed fourth with Carla X and Brian Facey was fifth aboard Quest S II.
Olli and the Canturano/Burggraaf 10-year-old Evert went quicker on day two to take the 12-horse 1.30m by 1.78 sec over Will on Tiger Bright. Nicola Frankland finished third with Convinced I Am ahead of William in fourth on Quidde and fifth-placed Helen Tredwell with Hannelina.
Angie Thompson scored a double on day one, winning the Foxhunter and B and C. New ride Bridge Town came to the fore in the 21-horse Foxhunter/grade C single-phase, the eight-year-old Calvaro Z/Diamond Lad mare claiming victory by 0.77 sec at their second show together. Hayley Webster netted second and third with Cachento and Cassilanda HS with Sammie in fourth aboard Cabri Louvo.
Angie also claimed the B and C from the grade C section on the Hors La Loi II 17-year-old Viedor R. Twenty tackled this single-phase track with Angie taking the win by 0.89 sec. Will was second on Drewmain Cedric ahead of Joel’s Groomie in third. Tracy Priest guided Iniesta II into fourth and Kirsty Hardstaff supplied the steadiest of the double clears for fifth on Remi Latiki.
Hayley eventually claimed a win, topping day two’s newcomers/1.10m with seasoned campaigner Trevoulter Lady Utah, the Utah Van Erpekom 16-year-old finishing ahead by 3.66 sec. But Hayley had to settle for second in the Foxhunter/1.20m as Stevie Jenkins jumped ahead on the Vleut/Furioso II 10-year-old Vivamunde Z to win with 2.05 sec in hand.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around/courtesy British Showjumping and Lottie Elizabeth Photography