Douglas Duffin lands the UNIBED – High Performance Equine Bedding Winter B and C at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Douglas Duffin lands the UNIBED – High Performance Equine Bedding Winter B and C at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre

Douglas Duffin was on form to take victory in the UNIBED – High Performance Equine Bedding at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre in Cheshire, recording the second win in this winter series with Millfield Chacolatte.

The consistent pair had already secured qualification for the Agria Royal International Horse Show Final with a win at Northcote Stud’s Winter Classic and underscored their talent here.

Twenty-seven competitors came forward but many encountered problems as faults occurred everywhere on course-designer Sue Barratt’s 11-fence 1.35m track, with 14 making only one error each to finish on four faults. Only three riders answered every question to make their way into the jump-off and, as Scotland’s Douglas had already qualified, the result proved academic with the other two gaining the coveted finalist places at Hickstead.

“I’d already qualified at Northcote but these tracks are always up to height and technical, so it was good practise for Chacolatte. It’s a big arena and the course-builder could afford to build some bigger fences on flowing lines and used slightly smaller fences on the technical lines – it was a well-built, nice course, well done to the course-designer,” said Douglas. “There was an option to share first prize [as everyone had already qualified] and we would have done if there were three rugs, but there was only one and the girls wanted to jump-off for the rug – and I won it!”

It was all about the clock as all three posted double clears. Fellow Scottish competitor Kelly Connor – who trains with Douglas – got the ball rolling with a competitive clear on the 13-year-old Glamour Boy H (Toulon x Concorde) to set the target. Abbie Bevan followed with the Indorado x Empire nine-year-old Klaudius but dropped 0.75 seconds behind. 

There appeared no doubt as last-to-go Douglas assessed the course on entering the ring.  He was tighter and quicker everywhere and the only rider to negotiate two crucial inside turns, smoothly guiding the eager Chacolatte into victory by a handsome 3.57 seconds.

The eight-year-old Chacoon Blue x Lordanos mare – bred in Yorkshire by Millfield Stud and described by Douglas as “ticking all the boxes,” – was purchased with Katie Sawers almost 12 months ago to jump 1.20m amateur classes with Douglas continuing the mare’s education as Katie was busy with her children and ponies.

“I got an inside turn to a midway vertical and the last but even so, she is naturally quick and it doesn’t feel like you have to push her against the clock,” added Douglas.

Kelly, who made a last-minute decision to travel down from Fife to Cheshire to contend this class, has ridden Glamour Boy for three years and owned him for last two. 

“He’s got better with age and is much more settled and consistent now.  The course rode tougher than it walked; it’s a lovely arena and a good surface and for a long time I was the only clear,” said Kelly.  “’Harry’ has been knocking on the door for a while and deserved to qualify – we just missed out at Aintree with the fastest time but the last fence fell.”

Kelly will aim Harry for the HOYS Talentseekers Final again this year – “He qualified last year but there are so few shows in Scotland in the winter months, he was still Grade B in January.  He’s quite a quirky guy, the quirkiest I’ve ever sat on, it takes three when I get on, one to hold him, another to feed him and me to get aboard, but in the ring, all he thinks of is getting over the other side of the fence – it’s why we put up with all his quirks.”

Kelsall Hill Winter Classic – Tuesday, 16 January 2024
UNIBED – High Performance Equine Bedding Winter B and C qualifier

1st Douglas Duffin & Millfield Chacolatte – 0/0 - 37.42 seconds
2nd Kelly Connor & Glamour Boy H – 0/0 - 40.99 seconds
3rd Abbie Bevan & Klaudius – 0/0 41.74 - seconds

NB: Results pending official grading.

Image: KT Equine Photography

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With welfare, efficiency and providing 5* customer service at the core of what they do, UNIBED is committed to providing their customers with the high quality, chopped and dust extracted straw bedding solutions all whilst offering a fair price.

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