Louise Saywell lands the grand prix to be crowned National champion


Louise Saywell was crowned National Champion after taking the feature grand prix with a calculated and speedy round on Michael Elvin’s PLS Halo Diamond.

Seventeen of the 64 starters reached the jump-off over course-designer Raf Suarez’s track with leading lady rider Holly Smith setting out as favourite claiming three of the rides. Holly set a competitive standard as first out on Flipper Darco UK Z but she was immediately relegated as locally-based Keith Shore wiped away more than a second on Djoel.

And Keith hung on grimly to his lead despite several challenges, including Holly who was in contention on Claddagh Iroko until two late verticals fell while Denver XI tapped out the front rail of an early oxer to see Holly’s chances fade away.

Drawn in an advantageous late draw with just two left behind her, Louise took care over the first two fences and then upped the pace on the Irish-bred Halo Diamond, making use of his ground-eating stride down the distances but still executing the tight turns on offer. And it paid off, she blazed through the finish with 0.64 sec in hand to secure the title.

The win was all the more distinctive as this was Louise's first show back since lockdown with Halo.

"He went back to his owner Mike Elvin during lockdown and Flora Young - an eventer who is based with Mike - kept him ticking over and jumped him in a couple of 1.20m classes and a 1.30m. He was only dropped back to me on Monday," said Retford, Nottinghamshire-based Louise.

"He felt really good; fresh and up for it. I could open him up as he's careful, he prefers moving forward to tight turns."

World Class Performance manager Di Lampard was impressed with their efforts.

“It was a strong field and the course was up-to-height and asked all the right questions. Louise was exceptional today and is a worthy National champion,” she said.

Keith had to settle for second on the Hamlet/Landeur 12-year-old Djoel while Canada’s Kara Chad clinched third on the Quality 10-year-old Quidamo. Carron Nicol rode a good round on the 10-year-old Singapore 10-year-old Finnegan D to slot into fourth ahead of William Funnell’s Billy Take That in fifth and Holly finished in sixth on Flipper Darco. Three more double clears were realised, Joe Stockdale taking seventh on Cacharel, Ava Vernon was eighth with Jolie Fleur Van De Noordheuvel and Lucy Townley rode Billy Alpen into ninth.

Ava Vernon claimed the National 1.30m championship with the tightest of margins with Here I Am Be in a hotly contended jump-off.

Nine of the 47 starters reached the jump-off with Ava, 17, flying into the top spot on the Nassau/Elton eight-year-old to win by just 0.01 sec. Angie Thompson had to settle for second on the bouncy Numero Uno 14-year-old Bayard IV and newly-crowned National winter 1.35m champions Faye Adams and Demograaf secured third spot with the only other jump-off clear. Four faults for Chloe Reynolds on Grenadier Volo and Tony Pearson aboard Captain Morgan III finished fourth and fifth.

Jessica Botham lifted the National four-year-old title for the third year in a row at these championships. On this occasion she rode Uptons Quickess to win by a clear six points from a field of 49.

Twenty-one of the initial competitors returned for round two to be judged by International 5* Nations Cup riders Angelie von Essen and Billy Twomey under style and performance rules and they chose Jessica’s smooth rounds on the Centino/Quick Star mare as their champion.

It was only the second outing for Jessica and the German-bred Quickess after the pair had jumped at Weston Lawns the week before.

“My niece Georgina Marshall has done all the work with her, I just got the leg-up for this class and the 3.30am start was definitely worth it,” said Jessica, on the mare bred by Jake Saywell but is registered with a German studbook. “She’s not the biggest but she’s super-sweet with a great attitude and very scopey.”

Danielle Ryder claimed second on the Fly/Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve mare La Promesse with Nicole Pavitt on the For Pleasure stallion Q-Pleasure Van Seven Oaks finishing equal third with Chloe Reynolds’ Casitelle (Casiro I/Kalaska De Semilly) 4.5 points in arrears. Paul Sims (Ashdale Allstar) and Danny Dunne (Alice-D’Eygendom Z) finished equal fifth half a point behind.

Jonathan Egmore held on to his long-time lead in a 40-strong jump-off – yielded from 78 starters – to take the National five-year-old title on Kartina Van Het Maaskantje (Cidane/Cardento), winning by 0.39 sec.

Jessica Hewitt finished second on Colibria II Z (Clinton II/Calvaro Z) with Angel Tough in third on Big M (Urico/Aloubet Z). Derek Morton claimed fourth and seventh on Science Supplements BP Ko Jak (Elvis Ter Putte/Iroko) and Hereabouts (Silvano/Puissance) with Yazmin Davis on Kate Natasja (Namelus R/Zambesi) and Chris Smith aboard Sovereign Equestrian’s Ustinov/Clinton stallion Knock Out in fifth and sixth.

Twelve months ago Chantelle Duggan broke her neck, fracturing C6 and C7 vertebrae, but following an operation she was back in the saddle by Christmas. That is now behind her and she rode the round of her life on the scopey Linton De La Chapelle to take the winter grade C final.

Ten of 21 contended the jump-off and the lead changed several times but Chantelle took advantage of the carefulness of the L’Arc De Triomphe/Clinton seven-year-old Linton, taking an ultra-tight turn to the penultimate vertical and galloping to the last to score victory by 1.57 sec.

“I’ve had him since a four-year-old and I always know he’s going through the finish – that means a lot to me,” said Chantelle.

James Shore’s lead was short-lived and he had to settle for second on the Inshallah De Muze/Indorado eight-year-old Manzana De Rigo with Ben Bick in third aboard the Belgian-bred eight-year-old mare Marieke. Paul Sims collected fourth on Dream Roller with Lorraine Lock and her newly-crowned winter seven-year-old champion Artisan I in fifth. Last to go Will Fletcher steered KBIS G III into sixth and Harry Wood’s standard setting clear on Amelia’s Boy finished seventh.

Devon Grimes topped the 87-strong National 1.10m series final on the Rebelara 15-year-old Miss Silver Dollar with 0.14 sec advantage. Milli Cornock eased the 11-year-old Boavista Delsendam into second with Madieson Blakesley in third aboard Daniek. Glain Watkin Jones claimed fourth on Grand Cru 1 ahead of Elah Conway’s Acapella II and Amanda Routledge with Caloundra Van Koekoek in fifth and sixth.

David Harland forged ahead in the 69-horse National 1.20m series final over a two-phase track for victory by 1.27 sec on the eight-year-old JJS Sure To Fly. Lucinda Stewart rode her 2018 HOYS silver league champion Cancun II into second ahead of Carmen Edwards and Magic Chanti in third. Gemma Hallett was fourth on Billy Jive with David also taking fifth on second ride He’s Our Harley and Emma-Jo Slater guided Freule TN into sixth.

Clea Phillipps claimed two rides in the seven-horse decider of the National senior rider championship - open to riders aged 45 years plus - over a 1.20m track and commanded the win on the Chicago Z 11-year-old Night Tide II. David Brown was 1.36 sec in arrears for second on the Al Pacino 11-year-old Americo and Jassy Pyke slotted the nine-year-old Bon Amego into third. Six provided double clears with James Loffet in fourth on Gaudi, Margo King filled fifth spot aboard Lenny B and Mia Palles-Clark took sixth on Hamantha Fortuna. Four faults dropped Clea’s second ride Paskall from a possible second to seventh.

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

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