Georgia Tame hit flying form to take the Stoneleigh Stakes with the super-fast super-careful Quintella as the International classes started in earnest at Horse of the Year Show.
Twenty-five tackled this speed track with first off Harriet Nuttall setting a good standard with Night of Glory OL that was seemingly unbeatable for the majority of the class. Late-drawn Anthony Condon – already a winner in the first International class – soon put that to rights with the Hales family’s Zira VH Kapelhof Z to take a 0.17 sec lead.
But his lead was brief, Georgia came in next and blasted round the course on the 11-year-old Sanvaro/Baloubet Du Rouet mare Quintella to wipe an incredible two sec off the time with a breath-taking approach to the final line.
“I’d seen Harriet take an inside line to the double and knew Anthony was fast but I trusted Quintella, it was a long five strides to the double and I made it longer but she tried for me,” said Georgia, who is based at Hickstead in Sussex with Shane Breen. “She is so careful, I’d have to mess up big time for her to have a fence down.”
Tactics have played a part with this mare.
“We dropped her back down to 1.30m recently to keep her sweet and happy. She’s a feisty in the stable as she is in the ring but I love her,” added Georgia, who was on her second visit to HOYS.
“I’ve only jumped here once before last year in the grade C final and it was a disaster. The atmosphere scared my novice horse Caretina and I gracefully retired as her reaction scared me too!”
Anthony finished second here with Harriet in third. France’s Geoffroy de Coligny finished fourth on Soan Du Landin with Simon Buckley on Delius F, Michael Whitaker with Strides Hilanasterne and Harry Charles aboard Valkiry De Zance filled fifth, sixth and seventh places.
British-based Irishman Anthony had already shown his form in the Welcome Stakes over a single-phase track, winning by 0.19 sec with Pat Hales’ home-bred SFS Vincomte from a late draw.
The Veni Vidi Vici/Magic Darco nine-year-old – another owned by the Hales family – is a fairly recent addition to Anthony’s Cheshire yard and came to him three months ago having previously competed with Laura Kraut.
“Laura has done a great job with ‘Scrunchie’. This was his first indoor show and he seems to like it,” said Anthony, who has high hopes. “I think he’s going to be a grand prix horse but I’m still getting to know him and we have to figure each other out. He’s a character and sharp, like all the good ones.”
Emma Stoker – who has recently relocated to Belgium riding for Axel Verlooy – clinched second spot on the Eldorado Van De Zeshoek nine-year-old Kontador VDM. Harriet again took third, this time riding A Touch Imperious and Louise Saywell filled fourth spot with Keeley Durham’s home-bred nine-year-old Arakan (Arko/Randi). First to go Angelie von Essen finished fifth on Cochella.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around