Ronnie Jones powers to Grand Prix victory with Kaleche at Wellington Riding

Monday 20 May 2024

Ronnie Jones powers to Grand Prix victory with Kaleche at Wellington Riding

Ronnie Jones lifted the feature world ranking Grand Prix in a hot, intense jump-off with Ruth Dowie’s Kaleche at Wellington Riding CSI two-star in Hampshire.

“She’s just coming into her own, she has the confidence now and makes it feel like clockwork,” said Ronnie.

Course-designer Raf Suarez set a 13-fence 1.45m track for the 41 riders forward and it appeared clears would be scarce as the first riders out of the starting gate struggled with the time allowed.  However, later competitors set their pace accordingly and 11 came home without penalty to access an exciting jump-off with the lead constantly changing.

“There were more clears in the jump-off than I expected, the first few went well and were unlucky to just have a pole.  Going late was an advantage, I could keep an eye on the class,” said Ronnie.

Alfie Bradstock set the standard in fifth draw on Courege Du Gibet but his lead was immediately cut short, at first by France’s Gaspard Maksud by almost four seconds while Jude Burgess found a slightly shorter route on Oilina.  But Jude’s lead was short-lived as Joe Clayton immediately wiped a further half a second away on Gentlemen VH Veldhof and looked to have done enough. 

Ronnie Jones had other ideas. He set off in hot pursuit in the penultimate draw with Kaleche, the nine-year-old F One USA x Nassau mare answering every call to jump into victory by 0.30 seconds.

“She wasn’t the fastest in the field, but she is so good at turning and has a big heart.  I was tight and smooth to the two verticals in the middle and I stayed committed to do eight strides to the last, and it just caught Joe,” said Ronnie, who has produced Kaleche from a three-year-old.

“She’s taken time; she’s careful and not very blood but at the end of last year and the beginning of this year it’s all come together. She won the Winter Grand Prix at Kelsall Hill, jumped fantastic at Royal Windsor and finished second in Chard’s Area Trial last week – now she has confidence and will do anything I ask,” said Ronnie, whose dream is to be selected for a Nations Cup team.

“I’m going to try my hardest to add to our world ranking points and compete in the International Stairway series on the county circuit this year – hopefully, we’ll be noticed.”

Hickstead-based Irishman Shane Breen proved the quickest in the 2* 1.45m speed on Be Golden. Sixty-eight competitors faced the 12-fence track with Shane maximising on his final draw aboard the Golden Hawk x Namelus R nine-year-old to edge ahead of Gaspard Maksud on Ballypatrick Tiberius by 0.22 seconds. Britain’s Sally Goding slipped Spring Willow into third.

James Wilson topped the initial 2* 1.40m with Jorisco, Gaspard and Tiberius again having to settle for second place as James stole the win from the latter stages. The entry of 58 faced a 13-fence two-phase track, James and Heather Larson’s Arezzo VDL x C Indoctro10-year-old nipping in front by 0.19 seconds. Joe Clayton was only fractionally in arrears for third riding Hucalinde DV.

Joe and Hucalinde narrowly missed out on a win as the penultimate day’s 2* 1.40m two-phase fell to the United Arab Emirates. Humaid Abdulla Khalifa Al Muhairi guided the 11-year-old mare Leestone Mylord Trumps into the winning spot, beating Joe’s longtime lead by 0.74 seconds.  

Lauren Caroline seized victory in the Seven-year-old Final over a 1.35m track on Be Cuick One, the Cuick Star Kervec x Golden Hawk mare topping the five-horse jump-off with 1.86 seconds in hand over William Whitaker’s Martini – the only other double clear.

Jude Burgess outpaced his five jump-off rivals to take the Six-year-old 1.25m Final on Leestone Nicolas (H&M Chilli Willi x Heartbreaker) with 1.86 seconds to spare.  Rachel Proudley guided Cicerdora into second with Lara Whiteway filling third on Cinnamon.

A delighted James Emblen scored a hat-trick of one-star wins.  The Asca Z 16-year-old Ascon Z hit immediate form to top the initial Nirvana Spa 1.20m two-phase for James in the 38-strong class, claiming a 1.15 second advantage over Henry Squibb in second on Alothain De Blondel.  The consistent pair went on to head the 1* big tour final over a 1.25m track, beating their eight round-two rivals by 0.95 seconds.

James had started the show with a win, claiming a 0.13 second victory in the 20-strong 1.10m two-phase on the Action-Breaker nine-year-old Action Hannes.

Husband and wife team John and Bryony Crippen landed a win apiece. John triumphed in the 2* Silver Tour 1.35m Final at only his third show with Molly Davies’s Granada S.  Nine of the original 36 contended the second round against the clock, John and the Singapore x Numero Uno 13-year-old easing ahead with 0.81 seconds in hand. 

“I’ve only been riding him for a couple of weeks and it was a fast jump-off, but he tried really hard,” said John.

Tight turns and trusting the eight-year-old mare Catyana to run and jump earned Bryony a win in the 40-entry 2* Silver Tour 1.30m speed, pushing day one winner Taisie de Gruchy and Comme Ci Comme Ca into second by 0.95 seconds.

 
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