Arena UK Small Pony Premier - Round Up
Monday 06 March 2017
All roads led to Arena UK for the final small pony premier of the season – and the last chance to qualify for the Royal International Horse Show and ride in the fabulous Hickstead arena.
Emelia Mitchell dismissed any pressure as first to go in Sunday’s hot, competitive Winter 138cm Second Round to win by a decisive 1.56 seconds on Shaman Sundance.
It was the last possible chance to qualify for Hickstead and forty-three ponies were aimed at David Cole’s 12-fence course, with sixteen accessing the second round and a final thirteen going forward to the third and final round.
But Emelia, 13, who is a boarder at Bishops Stortford College in the week and only rides at weekends, had victory sewn up in the opening round. The 11-year-old Appaloosa Shaman Sundance proved as enthusiastic as his rider to take every turn option at the gallop, setting an unassailable lead.
“He’s so easy to ride and naturally quick,” said Emelia.
Jake Myers guided the ultra-consistent 24-year-old The Agent into second to register his first visit to Hickstead.
“He’s amazing, we’ve gelled really quickly and it’s thanks to my trainer Bernice Stronge,” said Jake.
Tabitha Kyle, third the previous day on Lissduff Royal, again picked up third here with Iwan Carpenter in fourth on Little Boy De Carmen.
Ella Derbyshire held her cool in a hotly-contended 11-pony jump-off to claim victory in Saturday’s Winter 138cm Second Round with her sister Amanda Derbyshire’s Thelma’s Gift.
Forty-seven bid for the three tickets on offer with eighteen providing initial clears, these further whittled down to eleven over course-designer David Cole’s raised and shortened track. But clears were harder to come by in the final round as the final double caught pressurised riders time and again.
Mid-drawn Ella, however, proved foot-perfect on the 19-year-old mare Thelma’s Gift to take the lead and victory by 2.15 seconds.
“She’s very speedy and can do all the turns,” said Ella, who celebrates her 14th birthday later this month.
Tom Francis-Jones, 12, claimed second on Kiltormer Hero, an Irish-bred 13-year-old he started competing in December.
Only three treble clears were produced, with Tabitha guiding the Irish-bred 14-year-old Lissduff Royal into third, 5.60 seconds adrift.
After his older brother Iwan headed the Graham Heath 128/138cm handicap on Follow Jazzy Lady, Owen Carpenter was not to be outdone. He landed victory in Sunday’s 128cm in fine style on the big-striding Brookhall Glimpse with a treble clear.
Only fifteen started, but six jumped round one clears and a further two were lost in the second round to provide a jump-off of four. And second-drawn Owen, 11, took immediate charge to again prove penalty-free and take the lead.
“She’s 22 years old now and knows her job, we don’t jump her at home and only very lightly in the warm-up,” said Owen.
Tabitha Kyle followed on her mother Tanya’s 7-year-old Borderhill William, and although she chased hard, could only come within 0.93 seconds to take second place.
Henry Squibb was out to win in the final draw but the final fence fell to drop Pussy Cat Doll to third. However, the result gained him a coveted pass to the final at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead.
Henry’s cousin Eloise took fourth spot on new ride of five days Bradmore Mystique, winner of the Hickstead final in 2016 with Rosie Collins.
Ollie Fry used his final draw to maximum effect in Saturday’s winter 128cm second round, seizing victory on his father Jamie Fry’s 10-year-old Colliyers Pal Joey, a new ride of two months.
“He’s the best pony ever, not spooky, just nice and easy and careful,” said 11-year-old Ollie.
The field of twenty-three were initially whittled down to nine with five contending the jump-off. However, a third clear could not be found, and the pressure fell squarely on Ollie’s shoulders as last to go. An early fence fell, but Ollie remained calm and collected to jump every other fence clear and take the win – the only four-faulter out of the five final competitors.
Tabitha made two mistakes on Borderhill William in the penultimate draw, but their eight faults proved sufficient for second.
Olivia Banks’ opener returned on a similar score on Emma Banks’ 13-year-old gelding Remington Steal to take third. Rachel Proudley and Painted Lady took fourth with Tia Squibb in fifth on Gorm And Ban.
Paige Newton claimed a double, topping Sunday’s pony British novice on Conans Delight and also heading Saturday’s British Showjumping 128/138cm handicap special on Shawnee Newton’s Lizs Pride.
Paige, 14, and the Irish gelding Lizs Pride, also 14-years-old, took the top qualifying spot for the 128/138cm special to qualify for the South View final. They have been together for almost three years with success in Graham Heath 128/138cm classes and the silver league final.
“We’ve built up a relationship and he trusts me,” said Paige, who took the win by 0.26 seconds.
Red Morgan took second on Didy Morgan’s 14-year-old Ballyhannon Celtic Grey with Toby Fry in third on Jamie Fry’s 19-year-old gelding Bubble Pop Electric.
Claudia Harding headed Sunday’s British Showjumping handicap special with the 16-year-old Cheeky Chap, winning by 0.60 seconds. Grace Shuddall Hughes eased Solcum Donatella into second with Noora von Bu Low taking third on new ride Peppino Il Grande.
Connie Lane posted a double victory on Saturday, winning both the pony British novice and pony discovery classes on Ray Lane’s 10-year-old dun mare Princess Rogaire and taking second in the British novice on Creagh Mol.