Graham Babes claims victory in the SEIB Winter Novice at Kelsall Hill

Thursday 18 January 2024

Graham Babes claims victory in the SEIB Winter Novice at Kelsall Hill

Graham Babes emerged triumphant in a hard-fought jump-off to take the top Agria Royal International Horse Show spot in the SEIB Winter Novice Championship qualifier at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre with Nanieta P.

It was won and lost at the final vertical in an exciting second round against the clock as 29 of the original 55 starters over a course which started at 1.10m returned initial clears.  Several riders claimed two chances apiece, including Graham, and there were a couple of heart-breaking rounds as the last fence hit the floor for riders well in contention.

His first ride came home on four faults, but Graham had insider knowledge of the jump-off track with his second horse late in the draw, and skilfully guided the consistent Nanieta P – winner of the Winter Six-year-old on day one – into a win. Graham set off with grit and determination, risking an angled turn into the two-stride double breath-takingly close to the left-hand wing and speedily straightening Nanieta to the second element.  Executing another tight line to the penultimate oxer and running down to the final vertical secured the win.

Graham’s father George bought Nanieta P – a Dutch-bred six-year-old with Harley VDL x Diarado bloodlines – as a foal.

“He’s a lovely horse, I love him, he’s very competitive, I have all the faith in him on turnbacks and galloping to a fence – he’s as eager to win as I am and I’m very excited for the future,” said Kilmarnock, Ayrshire-based Graham.  “He’s what I call a show horse, he wants to get to a show and perform, he’s a winner and nothing fazes him.  Nonetheless, he has a lot of character, you don’t want to be asleep on him but he’s keen to do his job.” 

Molly Bennett, who had led from mid-draw, held on to take the second qualifying Hickstead place on the 15-year-old gelding PSH Convivial, a former 4* eventer with China’s Alex Hua Tian.   

Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre – Wednesday, 17 January 2024
SEIB Winter Novice qualifier

1st Graham Babes & Nanieta P – 0/0 33.17 seconds
2nd Molly Bennett & PSH Convivial – 0/0 34.98 seconds
3rd Will Edwards & No Strings Attached – 0/0 35.21 seconds

NB: Results pending official grading.

Image: courtesy KT Equine Photography

SEIB Insurance Brokers provides specialist equestrian insurance throughout the UK and internationally. With over 50 years of experience, SEIB offers a range of equestrian insurance from horses to horseboxes, trailers, stables, cars, home, farriers and other specialist equestrian trades plus riding schools and livery yards. The SEIB Winter Novice Championship is a popular series made up of ten national qualifying rounds which are held ahead of the Championship Final, which will once again be run during the prestigious Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead (24 - 18 July 2024). For more details, visit hickstead.co.uk

 
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