British breeding on top at Hickstead
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British breeding won the final day of the small tour competition at the Hickstead CDIO3* as the Inter I freestyle was claimed by Alice Oppenheimer with her homebred Headmore Devina to make it a hat-trick of wins for British bred horses. Thursday’s Prix St Georges was claimed by Hannah Biggs with Don Caledonia, bred in Scotland by Reay Campbell while yesterday it was Nicola Buchanan who won the Inter I with Half Moon Dark Magic, bred in Dorset by Julie Deverill. A great achievement for our home grown stars of the future.
Alice was thrilled with her Dimaggio young star bred by mum Sarah at the family's Headmore Stud, the youngest in the class to be exact at just eight, having surpassed all expectations on her international small tour debut. A second place in the PSG on Thursday was a delight despite playing it safe in the heat, then it was fourth on Friday in the Inter I despite a bit of stage fright and then a victory in the freestyle. “She was amazing today!” beamed Alice. “That was by far her best test of the week. I didn’t push her on day one and yesterday she didn’t have a very happy warm up as it was so busy early in the morning and she went very introverted on me. She’s a real thinker so came out much happier having had the night to think on it. I was a bit emotional coming out of my test as she was with me 100% and felt amazing.”
With just three Inter I classes behind her, it was Davina’s first Inter I Freestyle and that meant brand new music cleverly put together by Sara Green with a touch of Fleetwood Mac in the canter section. Alice was quick to praise the work done by Dannie Morgan with Davina when she was a youngster; “She’s never been what you’d call naughty but just got frightened. She’d bolt and I couldn’t hold her so he took her on and built her confidence; she simply wouldn’t be the horse she is without Dannie.” She also praised her farrier Richard Lovejoy who has a soft spot for the mare but added; “Richard, I’ve won the bet!” What that bet was remains firmly between the two of them!
In the CDIO it was Special day and it was Louise Bell, still flying high after yesterday’s Grand Prix performance with Into the Blue and Fiona Bigwood who had been put forward. Sadly, Fiona was forced to withdraw after a pre-existing injury was aggravated during her test antics yesterday so it was down to Louise to fly the flag. She answered the call in true Bell style with a 69.61% to help the team with a third place. It could have been more but for a few power propelled moments when the wind caught ‘Dynamo’ from behind.
It was two almost matching Iberian-bred greys who topped the class. First was Portugal’s Vasco Mira Godhinho with Bariloche on 71.51% and his half passes were sublime – Vasco proudly pointed out that he’d earned nines yesterday for the movement. “He went very well yesterday, one of the best tests I’ve done with him. Today he was more relaxed but also a little tired but he was still very good. It’s only our second year in at Grand Prix and I know I can get more from him. He’s naturally talented and quite special to me, we have great respect for each other.” Second went to Anne Sophie Serre for France with Vistoso de Massa with 70.46%. The final FEI Nations Cup of 2018 comes to an exciting climax tomorrow with the Freestyle. Hayley Watson-Greave and Vicky Thompson Winfield will be in action for the home side.
The CDI3* Grand Prix Special accolade won’t be travelling to a galaxy far far away but over the Channel to France for rider Bertrand Liegard and his horse Star Wars. They were the sole duo to break 70% with 70.34% despite the windy conditions while British based Dane Ulrik Molgaard finished second with his 17 year old Michellino sired Michigan, owned by Claus Munkedal. “I don’t care what mark I get, it’s the best Special he’s ever done!” beamed Ulrik as he left the arena. Well, the score was 68.76% which wasn’t quite a new PB but it was enough for second. Third and best Brit went to Gareth Hughes and his latest star to emerge from his Warwickshire base, KK Woodstock, owned by the Krolls. In his first ever Grand Prix Special, the elegant, leggy bay was slightly unnerved by the blustery conditions but showed a great deal of promise. The wind got behind him to spoil both lines of one time changes and, quick thinking as ever, Gareth did his best to fit them in post-spook but the damage had been done to give 68.76%.
It was a first taste of action in the CDIu25 ranks and Dutch-based Brit Claire Gallimore made a rare trip home from where she’s based with Tristian Tucker a profitable one with victory in the Inter II with her own Annette Ballerina. Their test was forward and full of energy with only a mistake in one of the canter pirouettes when the British national anthem boomed out over the tannoy in the next door arena. The win with 70.46% is a great boost for the duo ahead of the impending FEI u25 European Championships in Exloo, 13 – 17 August.
“I’m really pleased with her today, she kept it under control despite the windy conditions,” said Claire. “It’s really special to be back home!” she added. And the great news is that Claire will be returning to British shores permanently in October when she sets up her own base in East Sussex.
Having finished fourth on Thursday in the Inter A test, Gloucestershire rider Sara Gallop went up a gear to top the final class of the medium tour, the Inter B. Riding her own Sandreo sired Bandreo, Sara posted an international personal best score at any level with Sandreo, who has competed at Big Tour internationally already.
“I’m really pleased with him today as he can get quite hot in the arena and it was so windy but he held it together. We’ve spent the year trying to build his confidence in the arena and at this show he’s gone from strength to strength which is perfect,” Sara said. The duo now have Saumur CDI in their sights in early September.
The CDIP came to a close with the Freestyle and the honours went to Olivia Whitelaw riding her own Brouwershaven’s Vicerory with a new international personal best of 70.85%, over four marks up on their previous tally. Close behind was Sophie Williams with Ella on 70.77% with Holly James and Classic’s Charmeur third with 70%.