The British Showjumping Spring Championships promises two days of exciting sport

Friday 22 March 2024

The British Showjumping Spring Championships promises two days of exciting sport

It’s hotting up for a great British Showjumping Spring Championships at Arena UK in Grantham, Lincolnshire, now in its second year at this popular venue.  The Championship Indoor Arena, swathed in Great Britain’s red, white and blue colours of the Union Jack for the occasion, has witnessed riders bid for last-minute qualification and aim for peak form for the weekend’s exciting final two Championship days.  Who will be crowned the Champions of 2024?

The odds were dramatically shortened if your name was Jessica in the first of the Winter 1.35m qualifiers as Jessica Howard and Jessica Hewitt secured the top two places. 

Twenty-five competitors faced course-designer Nigel Jess’ 12-fence track with seven finding the key to go forward into the jump-off.  Jessica Howard proved the fastest, trusting the 13-year-old Manderville Crescendo (Zinneday x Donnersong) to cut corners at speed, galloping through the finish with a flourish to score a win by 1.66 seconds. 

“He found it tight to come back indoors as he’s just returned from jumping outdoors in Spain,” said Jessica, who claimed two second places in 3* 1.35m classes on the Valencia tour.  “The course was technical but he adapted well – he’s on form and feeling well in himself.”

Jessica Hewitt slotted the 12-year-old Arbitrage into second with Keith Shore on Fabuleux De Riverland and Lucy Struthers with History equalling on time to share third place.

Jessica Howard also jumped clear in day two’s 28-entry Winter 1.35m but opted to save ‘Archie’ for Saturday’s Final, leaving Ronnie Jones and Michael Fursedonn to go head-to-head in the jump-off.  First off Ronnie set a competitive clear on Ruth Dowie’s nine-year-old mare Kaleche (F One USA x Nassau) and took the win when Michael’s Cevin Z 11-year-old Thanks A Million II tapped out a rail at the first fence. 

Charlotte Walker topped the Winter Grade C qualifier with the Action Breaker eight-year-old Easy Go W in a six-horse decider with 1.02 seconds in hand.  Henry Stott slipped Diamant De Rouge into second and Chaise Purcell produced the only other double clear for third aboard James Bond III.

Tony Pearson outpaced all to take the Winter Seven-year-old with Kerry Grimster’s Dalgary JL Z.  Twenty from the start list of 37 conjured up all the answers to the 12-fence 1.20m track with the lead changing several times as riders found shorter routes.  Tony proved the fastest just two from the end of the draw, smashing the 30 second barrier on the Dominator Z x Eldorado Van De Zeshoek mare to score a 0.90 second win.  Charlotte Walker steered Uncle Braun DK Z (Ultimo Van Ter Moude x Eldorado Van De Zeshoek) into second just 0.05 seconds ahead of Charlote Penny in third on Landown Cruise On Air.

Claiming the top two places in the major part of the class, Joe Trunkfield had to settle for first and third in the Six-year-old qualifier but fired a warning shot across the bows for the Final.  Twenty-seven from a field of 50 qualified for the jump-off with Joe filling the top spot riding Jack Markham’s Nomthago M (Comthago x Indoctro) with 2.35 seconds to spare.  He picked up third on Neil Fiddes’ Nozem (Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve x Zavall), sandwiching Joe Davies and Glebelands Rue De Miel into second place.  

Thomas Pritchard showed early form and dominated the first of the Five-year-old qualifiers, claiming two of the top three places.  Twenty-nine competitors came forward over a 12-fence 1.05m single-phase track with Thomas commanding victory aboard Roland Wallace’s Calcourt Princess – by Eldorado Van De Zeshoek and out of the Caretino daughter Countess II, a former ride of Joe Fernyhough and Sharon Quigley – with a handsome 4.54 seconds in hand.  Thomas also slotted Otto’s BB (Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve x Cavalier) into third, sandwiching Jake Elliott riding Karen Overton’s Orryana 21 (Comthago x Baltic VDL) into third. 

Claudia Rees claimed more than two seconds in hand in the final Five-year-old qualifier, outpacing her 25 rivals on Oh My Girl WS (Casago x Indoctro) by 2.25 seconds.  Ronnie Jones eased SLH Fantastico (Fantaland x Landeur) into second with Chloe Gunning’s Ottolein HL in third.

The saying ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ sprang to mind in the Winter Children on Horses Direct qualifier as Rosie Smith stepped into her mother Holly’s shoes to claim the top two places with Holly’s usual rides.  Rosie claimed an early lead on the 10-year-old Azolette (Commisaris x Concorde) over the 11-fence 1.20m single-phase track.  She followed up by maximising on her final draw to slip TJ Hall’s eye-catching 14-year-old Zambesi x Karandasj stallion Fruselli into second, only 0.13 seconds separating the two.  

Lucinda Stewart and her long-term partner, her HOYS 2018 winner Cancun II, is out for another title to add to their tally after heading the NAF Five Star Winter Silver Direct qualifier.  Sixty-seven competitors vied for the top spot over the 1.15m course with Lucinda and her Caretino x Contender 15-year-old edging ahead by 0.29 seconds.  Ellie May Payne slotted Caen Du Rouet into second with Georgia Sims easing Rosgan Gizmo into third.

Cassie Ann Chapman beat all her 84 rivals by 0.44 seconds to post her intentions for the NAF Five Star Winter Bronze League Final in the last Direct qualifier with her 17-year-old O T T Alfie.  Emily Hobson jumped Mackenzie H into second and Lauren Caley claimed third aboard A-Lemonade Z. 

Photo Credit ATG Photography, Arena UK

 
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