Tabitha Kyle retains her National title with Playboy Van De Zoetewei


Tabitha Kyle was a force to be reckoned at the British Showjumping National Championships and not only retained her National 138cm title, she also claimed second.

Tabitha, 13, has been in formidable form since returning to competition after lockdown and just 10 days ago claimed victory in four grands prix in Le Mans, France, in 148cm pony and children-on-horses. And her winning streak continued here.

Nine of the 25 starters accessed the jump-off with Tabitha setting out as favourite touting three rides. And it was first off the Belgian-bred nine-year-old Playboy Van De Zoetewei – who claimed every 138cm championship last year including HOYS, Royal International, Scope, Liverpool and the National Championships at Stoneleigh – set a sizzling standard under Tabitha’s skilful guidance to retain their 2019 title.

Never one to rest on her laurels, Tabitha brought the Irish 17-year-old Lissduff Royal into second, 1.50 sec separating the two. Noora von Bulow steered the 21-year-old Sonas Barney into third with Poppy Deakin providing the steadiest of the double clears for fourth on Astral Ruben. Two riders beat Tabitha’s winning time but incurred faults on the way; Olivia Sponer was 2.65 sec quicker on Top Silvio Hastak but a rail down dropped them to fifth and Eve McCoy produced similar results to take sixth on Misty Bay. Tabitha also picked up seventh on four with Mister Proper.

Tabitha’s strategy had paid off.

“As first in the jump-off I was hoping to go fast and clear and put the pressure on the others to have poles and it worked,” said Tabitha. “We had managed to get in a few shows before coming here but we were a bit rusty so I thought we wouldn’t go mad but Playboy was going really well so I let him go for it.”

Scotland’s Eleanor Archibald claimed her first championship title in the National 128cm with Pondhead Dexter. And it was by the narrowest of margins. The 18 starters were halved to nine for a hotly-contended jump-off but a determined Eleanor, 11, from Dumfries, cut every corner on the 15-year-old Dexter to wrench the title by just 0.01 sec from Thomas Hogan, 12, and the 14-year-old Little Miss Millie.

“I just thought I’d go for it and hope for the best. I knew he [Dexter] would be fast but I didn’t know he could turn like that! It felt amazing in the arena and it’s such a good experience,” said Eleanor.

Lara Boman rode My Little Liesel into third and Rosie Campbell jumped the only other clear for fourth on Toorboy Tommy. Ella Spencer beat the winning time with almost a second to spare but a pole on the floor put Murphy Spartacus down to fifth.

Cleveland’s Eva Harriman made it a day to remember as she secured the National 1m restricted rider title with Where’s My Colour.

Six of the original 30 starters made it to the jump-off and just two managed to jump clear again, Eva, 13, claiming an impressive 5.60 sec advantage on Where’s My Colour, a 13-year-old she has competed since December.

“I went in with a plan to go clear, believe in myself and make the turns I felt I could and my pony jumped his heart out for me,” said Eva.

Kate Davies produced a steady double clear for second on the 18-year-old Champion Owens. Laila Caroline returned the fastest time of the class by 2.74 sec but a rail fell to drop Airflow to third. Poppy Bladon claimed fourth on Glenagross Footprint with Leah Notman taking fifth on A Second Chance and Gabriel Ball finished in sixth aboard Rescue.

Just six came forward for the restricted rider 1.10m championship with two producing initial clears to return for the jump-off.

Leicestershire’s Joss Phillipps, 13, drew the short straw but ensured the opening round counted and was the sole rider to jump clear again, taking the top spot on the nine-year-old Rockmount Casper. Olivia Mae Davison came home on four faults for second with the 10-year-old Sir Fancy Pants.

Only four from 37 starters made their way into the jump-off of the novice pony final over a 90cm track, but they all jumped clear again to make it all about the clock. Vicky Messent was the fastest to take the top spot on the 12-year-old mare Lucky Lou. Anna Drury guided Kylebrack Star into second 1.72 sec in arrears. Rebecca Raine claimed third on Carrownulaur Johnny and Grace Shudall-Hughes slotted Orchids Jargo into fourth.

Thirty-five contended the 1m pony accumulator and nine came home with a maximum score, Bethany Tabenor taking victory on the 22-year-old My Last Roll III with 0.86 sec in hand. Ryan Perrett steered Newtown Samson into second with Connie Mensley third aboard Banner Girl. Sophie Evans finished fourth riding Gleann Mor Windys Paula ahead of Lauren Caroline in fifth on Alenas Ennistymon and sixth-placed Elysia Heagren-Bond and Attyrory Golden Lady.

Text © Jumping Around/Photos courtesy British Showjumping/1st Class Images

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