Monday 26 November 2018

With smooth, deceptively quick lines that cut corners to the quick, Holly Smith claimed a stylish victory in Keysoe International’s feature world ranking 2* grand prix with Claddagh Iroko.

An initial forty-four riders tackled course-designer Kelvin Bywater’s track but only ten provided first round clears, the jump-off reduced to nine as Ireland’s Anthony Condon elected not to jump again. 

The rounds got progressively faster as riders risked tighter and tighter turns, but no-one could match Holly and Jason Nunn’s Iroko x Cruising 11-year-old Claddagh Iroko, and the pair claimed the win by 1.03 seconds.

“He’s been very well produced, first by Clem McMahon in Ireland then Alex Thompson and Danielle Farnsworth – they’ve done all the hard work,” said Holly, who took on the ride in April.  “He’s a very competitive horse and jumping at 5* level with Hearts Destiny has upped his game and gained valuable experience – he doesn’t need to keep jumping now and he’s only had one local run out since Barcelona [in September].”

Everything went to plan at this three-day show.

“I popped him round on the first day, gave him a day off on the middle day and jumped the grand prix,” explained Holly.  “He has a nice technique but he’s got a very active brain and sometimes he gets ahead of himself, but he finds technicalities in courses very easy.”

John Crippen quickly got to grips with brand new ride Happydam to take second place.  Formerly ridden by Sam Hutton at top Nations Cup level, the Quidam De Revel x Narcos II 11-year-old stallion was ridden for the first time by John just a few days earlier and this was their first show. 

Ladies dominated day two’s 1.45m with two Irish-bred horses in an exciting fifty-five-strong two-phase competition.  Annabel Shields just gained the edge on the Hermes De Reve x Burggraaf 10-year-old Carnoneybridge Challenger to win by 0.01 seconds over Emily Ward in second on the ARD VDL Douglas 11-year-old Millioninmind.

Yazmin Davis headed the 1.40m with seasoned campaigner Zilverster II in a seventy-two-entry speed class, the 14-year-old Guidam mare winning with 0.71 sec in hand over second-placed Joe Stockdale and Gunner.  And consistency over the following two days – fifth in day two’s 1.45m and sixth in the grand prix – earned the pair the wildcard entry to the Theraplate Liverpool International Horse Show at the end of the year.    

Simon Crippen outpaced all forty-nine rivals in day two’s 1.35m speed with Judy Ross’ Atlanta VIII, taking victory by 0.59 seconds over Faye Adams on Demograaf.

Faye and the Quasimodo Z 10-year-old Demograaf claimed the upper hand in the concluding 1.35m.  Thirty-two contended this two-phase class with Faye finding a burst of speed to win by 0.79 seconds over Mark Edwards in second on Tinkers Tale.

Mark claimed victory in the middle day’s 1.25m with the 10-year-old Its Business Class, forging ahead to take the win by 2.56 seconds in the fourteen-horse decider.

Louise Whitaker guided Brendon Stud’s home-bred Special Warrior to the top in the initial fifty-five-entry 1.30m two-phase, the 8-year-old Warrior x Caretino Glory mare claiming a 1.25 sec advantage over Yazmin Davis on Zanbowa Z.

Harriet Nuttall raced to victory in the final day’s 1.25m with the Irish-bred 13-year-old speed specialist Silver Lift, holding off the strong challenge of Paul Barker and Happy Boy to win by just 0.11 seconds in a fifty-three-horse speed class.

Beth Smart heeded trainer Paul Barker’s jump-off instructions to take the 1.15m grand prix with the 13-year-old Sandors Legacy with 0.32 sec in hand over Nina Emery and her day one 1.20m winner Piana in an eleven-strong jump-off.

Polly Shaw notched up a double of wins with the consistent 10-year-old Guidam x Heritage Fortunas mare Golden Grove AIT A.  The pair headed day one’s 1.10m two-phase in fine style with 1.06 seconds to spare and stepped up to the 32-horse 1.15m speed on day two to win with an impressive 2.28 seconds to spare over Nina and Piana.

Chloe Coward jumped to the top in the 6-year-old grand prix with H Blokx.  Thirteen of the thirty-two starters accessed the jump-off but Chloe and the Der Senaat 111 x Placido grey gelding had the win sewn up with tight turns, winning by 0.47 sec over Michaela Webb’s Amarillo FSH.

Sixteen of the twenty-five starters reached the jump-off in the 5-year-old grand prix, Michaela ensured of victory on this occasion with 1.62 sec to spare on the El Salvador x Vaillant stallion Infinity.

For full results visit

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