Irish rider Mikey Pender lands the feature Grand Prix at Chard Equestrian

Monday 22 April 2024

Irish rider Mikey Pender lands the feature Grand Prix at Chard Equestrian

Mikey Pender claimed the Longines Ranking 2* 1.45m Grand Prix from the front at Chard Equestrian Centre, Somerset, with the scopey HHS Cornetta.

“She’s a very talented mare who wants to do the job as much as I do,” said Mikey, who was on his first visit to Chard Equestrian.  “What a lovely place, good facilities, a great schedule and lovely helpful people – I’ll definitely be back.”

Sixty competitors faced a 13-fence 1.45m Grand Prix track designed by Ben Townley on the main arena sand surface and, while there were a few hard-luck stories, including Michaela Scott on the big-jumping Eddie G Z on only one time fault, nine posted initial clears to access the jump-off. 

“It was a brilliant track, not too big but technical and light and it showed with a perfect number of clears for the jump-off with some good quality 8 – 10-year-old future Grand Prix horses,” assessed Mikey.

It was a truly international field with riders from Ireland, France and Portugal pitted against four British riders in the jump-off, but Ireland won out from the front with a blistering target.

Mikey, who rides for Marion Hughes and Miguel Bravo of Hughes Horse Stud, supplied a smooth, deceptively fast round on HHS Cornetta to set a sizzling time which remained unbeatable despite several challenges.

Second drawn William Whitaker came the closest on Old Lodge’s 11-year-old stallion Chacco’s Lando (Chacco-Blue x Lando), crossing the finish line only 0.29 seconds in arrears for second place. Last to go, Gaspard Maksud chased hard in an exciting round to take third on Ballypatrick Tiberius.

The nine-year-old HHS Cornetta – with Cornet Obolensky x Acorado bloodlines and bred in Ireland by Marion Hughes – has been produced by Mikey all the way through.

“She has a massive stride, I took out strides down every line. This is a big arena with a lot of ground to cover but I was holding on seven strides to the last vertical,” said Mikey, who also won Saturday’s 2* 1.35m with this mare’s full brother, HHS Cyprus.

Fresh from their Welsh Masters Grand Prix success at the David Broome Event Centre the week before, Mark Edwards and the aptly-named home-bred Flying Tinker II were again in flying form to pick up world ranking points in the 2* 1.45m. 

A total of 58 competitors came forward over the 12-fence track with Mark again proving he is the Master of Faster, hitting the turbo button on Marlene’ Edwards’ Tinkers Tale 13-year-old to leave his challengers trailing in his wake. Joe Davison came the closest to take second with Iggy Pop 4.39 seconds adrift.

Mark and his father Martyn’s breeding programme also came to fruition in the Seven-year-old classes.  Mark claimed the 1.30m speed as Tinkers Touch (Tornesch x Tinkas Boy) secured a 0.14 second victory and went on to take the Seven-year-old Final.

Fourteen of the 24 starters made their way into the jump-off and it appeared another Irish win was on the cards in the form of Mikey and Patrick Hickey. But Mark’s late round clinched the win by 0.44 seconds to push Patrick into second on Madgeslane Louis.

Joe Davison hit top speed to take day one’s 2* 1.40m two-phase with Iggy Pop, the 11-year-old Dallas VDL x Labor’s VDL Indorado stallion surging ahead of their 62 rivals to win by 0.61 seconds.  Sammie-Jo Coffin slipped Chaccomo Blue into second with Laura Renwick filling third on Cottee.

It was Laura’s turn 48 hours later as the home-bred 10-year-old Cottee (Asterix E Z x Couleur Rubin) stepped up the pace to win the 2* 1.40m speed with 1.98 seconds to spare. Sammie-Jo, on this occasion riding the 11-year-old Elsalvador Van’t Schaaphof Z, again had to settle for second place with Gemma Stevens in third aboard RSH Monbeg Marshall.   

Laura also topped the initial Six-year-old with another home-bred as NFS Top Gun (Top Dollar VI x Heartbreaker) eased ahead over the 1.30m track to win by 0.35 seconds.

Winner of day one’s 2* 1.30m with 0.30 seconds in hand, Helen Rees left it until the final day to score another win in the 2* 1.30m Accumulator with Joker with Bart VI.  She made it a flying one, maximising on her penultimate draw to snatch victory by 1.05 seconds with Joker on the Lord Z x Levantos 18-year-old Bart, now firmly back to winning form following a nine-month break last year.

Ben Bick left the best until last in the concluding 2* 1.35m two-phase, using his final draw to slot the Dominator 2000 Z x Chicago I Z eight-year-old Diamonds Diabolo Z into the top spot by a tiny margin.  They relegated long-time leader Harry Wainwright and Pinheiro Beech by only 0.05 seconds.

Oliver Tuff enjoyed a successful show, scoring four wins.  The 10-year-old mare Jelly Bean W (Big Star x Diamant De Semilly) notched up a 1* 1.30m hat-trick, winning the initial 1* 1.30m single-phase by 0.30 seconds, outpacing their 16 rivals in day two’s speed 2.21 seconds to spare and heading the final day’s five-horse decider by almost two seconds.  Oliver’s fourth win was recorded by Miss Moneypenny (Vagabond De La Pomme x Sam R) winning a seven-year-old 1.30m single-phase by 0.71 seconds.

Adam Ellery landed a double on day three, galloping to beat his 25 rivals in a 2* 1.30m on the speedy 14-year-old mare F Kwanah IS (Zavall VDL x Quite Easy 958) by 0.61 seconds.  The Il Est Balou x Dynamo seven-year-old Marino stepped forward to head the 1* 1.20m for Adam with 3.33 seconds in hand.

British-based Gaspard Maksud, riding for France, was another to mark a double win.  He returned triumphant in a 2* 1.30m nine-horse decider on the Dutch-bred eight-year-old La-Carla-H with 2.42 seconds to spare.  Gaspard made it two with a six-year-old 1.20m win on the Malito De Reves daughter Our Foxglove, relegating Laura Renwick’s NFS Top Gun into second by 0.67 seconds.

Lauren Roach clinched a double of wins on the nine-year-old Stakkato daughter Salut, taking a 1* 1.10m single-phase with a 0.26 second advantage over Tony Pearson’s Berlin and a 1* 1.20m single-phase with almost two seconds to spare.

Louise McDonald doubled up in the Amateur 1.05m classes on the consistent 14-year-old Fanta-Astic, claiming a two second advantage on day one and registering a 0.74 second win 48 hours later.

Raphaela Dawson and Ella Kay dominated the pony classes, often pushing the other into second place.  Raphaela claimed four classes, winning the initial 1.20m and the final 1.10m on Maifield Another Sunrise while Invisible E Van Het Juxschot topped day two’s 1.10m and Raphaela jumped the only clear rounds in the final 1.20m to finish equal first on Invisible E and Kryptonite Van Orchids. 

Ella Kay claimed a hat-trick with a 1.10m victory double on Magic Cornflakes and a 1.20m win aboard Little Flexible. Barnabas Siddle lifted the top two places in the other Pony 1.20m speed on Grange Rock Sparrow and The Earl of Penure II.

 

 
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