Tim Davies secured victory in the winter grand prix with Lionel Van De Markieslanden at Keysoe’s winter classic.
This show was hit with disappointingly low entries and just 18 initially contended the grand prix on Saturday night, but quality came through as they tackled course designer David Cole’s track and five accessed the jump-off.
Tim set the target with tight lines on Barrett Watson’s Falco/Apollo Van Het Lindebos nine-year-old and remained ahead as other challengers faulted. Morgan Shirley’s hopes with the Caretino Glory/Animo 13-year-old Glory B V faded at the final line and the pair crossed the finish line on four faults just outside the target time. And Phillip Miller was also in contention on Brendon Stud’s home-bred Warrior/Casantos 11-year-old Noble Warrior and a rub at the final fence also put them on four – and most unusually, they equalled Morgan’s time to finish equal second. Ben Walker rode Zirko Ni Um Z into fourth and Derek McCoppin claimed fifth on Hennessy S.
Tim almost made it a double but had to settle for second in the DDS Demolition 1.25m but Ben Walker had the upper hand all the way on Warriors Crème over the 24-strong single-phase track. Ben and the Warrior/Crème Van’t Steentje 10-year-old mare claimed a 1.51 sec advantage over Tim on the Eldorado Van De Zeshoek eight-year-old Holiday VD Hazelhof. Gemma Ellison guided Elrond into third with Nicole Gwynne in fourth on Cent Blue.
Gemma was a winner in the Blue Chip Karma performance with the Sligo Candy Boy/White Clover eight-year-old Fernhill Off Chance – also victor in the initial Foxhunter – flying ahead in the 11-strong jump-off to win by 0.83 sec. Phillip Miller jumped into second on Billy Cheerful and Derek took third with Jordan W. Nicole rode Cent Blue into fourth and Phillip was also fifth on Klent Kick On.
Allan Birch returned triumphant in the winter B and C to claim the top Royal International qualifying spot on the Irish-bred Parkmore Rowan.
Nine of the 23 starters accessed the jump-off with Allan and his 10-year-old dual-disciplined Rowan (Russel/Cruising) winning with 1.13 sec in hand. Ben Walker is also Hickstead-bound after slotting Emma Ziff’s Creevy Taylor into second place. Double clears from Stacey Cook aboard Ninola and Danielle Dickson on Samarai CS finished third and fourth just outside the qualifying places while Derek crossed the finish line as the fastest of the class by 0.90 sec but a midway rail dropped to put Hennessy S into fifth.
Dan Delsart is off to Hickstead after taking the top spot in the SEIB winter novice qualifier with Charlie Brown Z.
The 26 starters were reduced to 11 for the jump-off with Emma-Jo Slater making short work of the shortened track to take an early lead on a new ride of five weeks, Lindsay Wood’s Balou Du Rouet/Lord Z six-year-old Hazelwood Baloubelle. Dan found a slightly quicker route with the eight-year-old Charlie Brown (Canabis Z/Latano) to knock half a sec from the time and slip into first place.
Emma-Jo took the second qualifying spot and now has a double chance in the Royal International final – she qualified the scopey and talented Kimba Castello with a win at Arena UK before Christmas. Dan also brought his second ride Beaux Arts Batilly into third with the steadiest of the double clears 1.26 sec in arrears of Emma-Jo’s time and Jessica Baugh provided the fastest time of the class on RNH Vincent Junior but four faults dropped them down to fourth and Bryony Crippen also finished on a fast four with My King B Z for fifth.
Emma-Jo claimed victory in the concluding Blue B and C with Kimba Kasino, the Akoniente/Heartbreaker seven-year-old taking the win in the five-horse decider by just 0.11 sec. Emma Maguire rode Master Geronimo into second and Jassy Pyke provided the steadiest of the double clears on her Foxhunter winner Bon Amego for third.
Emma-Jo doubled up in the winter six-year-old with Kim Barzilay’s home-bred Kimba Castello (Castello Overcinge’s Z/Heartbreaker) – half brother to Kasino, sharing the same dam, former grade A Jessica Du Warchet). Thirteen of the original 16 starters tackled the jump-off with Emma-Jo winning with 1.52 sec to spare. Derek steered Jordan W into second with Anna Power on Solomon IV in third and Peggy Baker filling fourth aboard Jozie VD Zwinkhoeve.
Only seven contended the winter seven-year-old qualifier with four in the jump-off, Derek finding the shortest route on the Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve/Der Senaat 111 mare Wind In The Willows II to edge ahead by just 0.06 sec of second-placed Ciaran Flynn on Usher Van Overis Z. Anna Power slotted McQueen IV into third with a steadier double clear.
After heading the initial 1.20m on the Indoctro 15-year-old Andorra by more than three sec on Andorra, Olivia Poole went on to take the winter 1.35m on the first day of four with Quality (pictured). Nine of the original 16 reached the jump-off with Olivia taking the win on the 10-year-old Quirado daughter by 0.47 sec over Ben Walker in second on Fygo Von D’Ouwe Grint. Gemma Ellison netted third on Cynthia Flint with Tim and Lionel in fourth and Morgan aboard Glory B V providing the steadiest of the double clears for fifth.
Jonathan Egmore topped the 10-strong winter grade C qualifier with 0.54 sec in hand on the Cassilano/Lorentin I six-year-old Passilano, pushing Isaac Hall into second on the Canturo eight-year-old Corazon Van Paebroek Z. Double clears from Tim Davies on Nielson and Samantha Jimmison aboard Expert III finished third and fourth.
Harry Bateman scored a double with Balkano, the Balou Du Rouet 14-year-old heading day two’s 1.15m with 3.68 sec to spare over Izac Ketteridge on Lady Warrior and the later 1.20m by 1.26 sec with Tim and Holiday VD Hazelhof in second.
Henry Turrell was also a double winner on the Niagara/Numero Uno 14-year-old Barbados III, taking the penultimate day’s 1.15m by 0.57 sec and the concluding day’s 1.10m by just 0.06 sec over Izac and Brendon Stud’s Lady Warrior.
Ciaran Flynn netted third here on Brendon Stud’s Klaris Giddy Up and was another with a double victory to his name. Ciaran topped day one’s 1.15m on the For Pleasure/Diamant De Semilly 12-year-old stallion Fabrice Van Overis to deny Olivia another win on Chinook BH by 0.35 sec with Henry and Barbados in third. And Ciaran also claimed the following Foxhunter for Brendon Stud on the seven-year-old Untouchable/Ahorn stallion Usher Van Overis Z (pictured) with a 2.69 sec advantage over Phillip Miller and Billy Cheerful.
Text and Photos © Jumping Around & courtesy British Showjumping/Hoofprints