First overseas wins for Myles Graham in Le Mans
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British Junior, Myles Graham prospered at Le Mans CDI3*/CDIJ/P in France (09 – 12 February 2023) with a double win aboard Nibeley Union Hit. Senior rider Lisa Marriott presented two assured rides in the CDI3* Big Tour classes with Valucio DH Z, and Pony rider Demi Howard-Cartwright finished just outside the podium all three days.
The 2022 FEI Junior European Championship team bronze medal combination of Myles Graham and Nibeley Union Hit (pictured at the 2022 Junior European Championships) set their 2023 campaign in motion with a double win at the popular French CDI.
Getting underway with Friday’s Junior Team Test, the British pairing posted a super new PB of 71.162%. Sweden’s Laura Laustsen and Fairy Tale put up a good challenge, their score at 71.111%, but it was the 15-year-old from Wiltshire and Caroline Bell’s British-bred mare who had the winning advantage to seal the second international victory of their career together. The Swiss combination of Layla Schmid and Freek d’Arx took third place on the podium after laying down a score of 70.202%.
Saturday’s Individual Test saw a repeat of the previous day’s podium, with Myles and ‘Una’, as Nibeley Union Hit is known at home, riding a well-presented test to take the top spot and raise the Union Flag once again. Another confident round scoring just short of 72% earned the British duo the win, with Laustsen and Fairy Tale runners-up (70.735%), and Schmid with Freek d’Arx third (69.804%).
“I was just over the moon because I wasn’t expecting a win let alone a double win. For my second and third [international] wins to be abroad was amazing,” commented Myles, who trains with his mum Caron Roberts and has formed a consistently successful partnership with Nibeley Union Hit since making their competition debut together in August 2021. “We’ve been working hard at home on the correctness and the harmony in the way of going, and it’s great that the judges are rewarding that."
The Junior competition concluded with a thrilling Freestyle on Sunday, won by the home nation’s Ines de Koninck and Feuerdorn VB (74.583%). Myles and Una rounded off their week with a polished and expressive freestyle, riding to an updated version of the F1-themed programme they performed at the Europeans, to achieve another PB (73.567%) and the runner-up position in front of third-placed Schmid (72.225%).
“Una is one in a million and I’m so grateful to Caroline and Rebecca Bell for giving me this opportunity,” continued Myles. “She will always have a special place in my heart. She took me to my first Europeans and is an incredible mare.”
Contesting the CDI3* classes, Lancashire-based rider Lisa Marriott and her delightful gelding, Valucio DH Z (Va-Vite x Bollvorm’s Libero H) acquitted themselves well. A Grand Prix earning 66.978% placing them 16th in a competitive field of 33, they later concluded their show with a creditable 71.340% for 13th place in the Freestyle.
Great Britain was represented by three talented Pony riders in the CDIP classes, in the form of Sofia Games with Janet Oliver and Katie Oliver-Games’ Steendieks Cadillac, Myles Graham with Caron Roberts’ Dresscode Cocktail and Demi Howard-Cartwright with her own Fin C WE (Famos x Eiger III).
The Pôle Européan du Cheval in Le Mans is a familiar stage for Demi, 15, and 20-year-old Fin C WE, as it was outdoors here last April that they were part of the second-placed British team in the Pony Nations Cup, along with Sofia. On their return to the venue for this February CDI, they earned the accolade of highest-placed British combination across all three classes, achieving fourth place in the Team Test (70.00%), fifth in the Individual (68.739%) and fourth in the Freestyle (71.434%).
Results: top three and British placings
CDI3* Grand Prix
1. Anna Kasprzak and Addict de Massa, 73.065% (DEN)
2. Marlies van Baalen and Habibi DVB, 72.935% (NED)
3. Larissa Pauluis and Flambeau, 71.870% (BEL)
16. Lisa Marriott and Valucio DH Z, 66.978% (GBR)
CDI3* Grand Prix Freestyle
1. Larissa Pauluis and Flambeau, 77.670% (BEL)
2. Marlies van Baalen and Habibi DVB, 76.925% (NED)
3. Kathleen Kröncke and San Royal 3, 76.195% (GER)
13. Lisa Marriott and Valucio DH Z, 71.340% (GBR)
CDI3* Grand Prix Special
1. Anna Kasprzak and Addict de Massa, 72.872% (DEN)
2. Anne Marie Hosbond and Scarlett 712, 70.149% (DEN)
3. Mikaela Soratie and Hot Casanova, 67.574% (FIN)
CDIJ Junior Team Test
1. Myles Graham and Nibeley Union Hit, 71.162% (GBR)
2. Laura Laustsen and Fairy Tale, 71.111% (SWE)
3. Layla Schmid and Freek D’Arx, 70.202% (SUI)
CDIJ Junior Individual Test
1. Myles Graham and Nibeley Union Hit, 71.961% (GBR)
2. Laura Laustsen and Fairy Tale, 70.735% (SWE)
3. Layla Schmid and Freek D’Arx, 69.804% (SUI)
CDIJ Junior Freestyle
1. Ines de Koninck and Feuerdorn VB, 74.583% (FRA)
2. Myles Graham and Nibeley Union Hit, 73.567% (GBR)
3. Layla Schmid and Freek D’Arx, 72.225% (SUI)
CDIP Pony Team Test
1. Bridget Lock and Nespresso, 73.238% (NED)
2. Franziska Roth and Daily Pleasure WE, 71.238% (GER)
3. Sissi Gijsen and New Star 8, 70.952% (NED)
4. Demi Howard-Cartwright and Fin C WE, 70.000% (GBR)
7. Sofia Games and Steendieks Cadillac, 67.381% (GBR)
11. Myles Graham and Dresscode Cocktail, 61.572% (GBR)
CDIP Pony Individual Test
1. Bridget Lock and Nespresso, 73.829% (NED)
2. Sissi Gijsen and New Star 8, 73.378% (NED)
3. Franziska Roth and Daily Pleasure WE, 70.405% (GER)
5. Demi Howard-Cartwright and Fin C WE, 68.739% (GBR)
7. Myles Graham and Dresscode Cocktail, 67.162% (GBR)
11. Sofia Games and Steendieks Cadillac, 65.585% (GBR)
CDIP Pony Freestyle
1. Sissi Gijsen and New Star 8, 74.992% (NED)
2. Franziska Roth and Daily Pleasure WE, 74.342% (GER)
3. Bridget Lock and Nespresso, 74.109% (NED)
4. Demi Howard-Cartwright and Fin C WE, 71.434% (GBR)
6. Sofia Games and Steendieks Cadillac, 70.625% (GBR)
9. Myles Graham and Dresscode Cocktail, 69.659% (GBR)
Photo © Kevin Sparrow