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Day Two - Espayo National Championships

last updated on September 15, 2012 14:23

Day Two - Espayo National Championships

Day two of this year’s Espayo National Championships featured a landmark victory for dressage-icon Carl Hester, a winner who did it the hard way, a great one-two in the Dressage Deluxe Medium Restricted Championship and perhaps we’ve found our next Olympic star.

Dressage International Intermediate I
New day, same winner! Carl Hester claimed his 60th National title when storming the Dressage International Intermediate I with Aram Gregory’s Dances with Wolves.  A score of 73.34% put the combination on top ahead of Isobel Wessels and the elegant Chagall who were just behind on 72.53% with Spencer Wilton third on Super Nova.
Yesterday’s Winergy Prix St Georges champions were first to go but that never puts Carl off his stride and he went in and rode a virtually mistake free test, only spoiling it with a break to canter in the final extended trot. “I had a clear plan today after he was quite hot yesterday and that plan came off. We lunged him and did some relaxation work early and today he was a pleasure to ride. It was a completely different picture; yesterday we had the power, today we had the harmony. It’s so exciting to get that feeling from him. Gorgeous Golly - he’s my new challenge!” 
Carl didn’t have it all his own way in the class as he had to retire a ‘wild’ Douglas IV, also owned by Aram Gregory. But he was clearly looking to the future when asked about how it felt to win 60 titles. “Well, I suppose I have to think about getting to 100 now!”
Dodson & Horrell Novice Restricted Championships
Heather Jeffers from Cirencester lead from start to finish to claim the Dodson & Horrell Novice Restricted title with her own talented seven year old, Consult Ramiro. First to go, Helen wowed the judges to score 67.36%, despite a mid-test interruption when the arena boards took flight in the windy conditions and no one could match her. A partnership for three years, Heather and ‘Curtis’ are trained by Jo Bates whom Helen says; “Has made a massive difference to this horse and without her help, we wouldn’t have got here – she’s like my surrogate mother!”
A relieved Heather continued; “It’s been a nail biting day for us! I have to admit I was dreading going first but I decided to ride to impress and then what will be will be. I was proud of him when the boards blew over as he kept his concentration and was with me all the way. I’ve struggled with him a bit this year as he’s perfect in the warm up but when we go into the white boards he ‘drops’ me through nerves.” 
By Consulting, Consult Ramiro has struggled with confidence; “He’s a thoroughly nervous person! But today it all came together and his confidence was there. I bought him down here on Wednesday to take in the people, flags, banners and atmosphere and it really helped.
“My aim was to come here and make sure he enjoys it so he’s not put off by the big occasion. I’ve had him for three years and it’s taken that long to get to know him but today we nailed it! He’s a private character and loves a routine but everyone that meets him, loves him,” said Heather
The combination is aiming for the Elementary Championship and Novice Freestyle at next year’s Winter Championships.
Dressage Deluxe Medium Restricted

Worcestershire dressage rider Calum Whitworth (24) posted an impressive 1-2 today in the Dressage Deluxe Medium Restricted.

Riding Ramazotti III, an eight-year-old Rubin Royal-sired gelding, he posted 69.89% to win the class of 21 as well as taking runner-up spot with his second ride, Vanessa Knight’s nine-year-old Breitling stallion, Balistro.

Calum, who has ridden Ramazotti since a five-year-old, said: “I’m very happy with him today. He was consistent and his trot work felt great. He’s a strong character and can be a little tricky but he was really good in the arena. He’s a horse who thinks he knows what he’s doing, and wants to do it his way, though it’s only because he tries so hard.”

His second place with Balistro showed the versatility of the German-bred stallion as he also filled runner-up spot in the earlier Grade IV KBIS Para Dressage Championship when ridden by owner Vanessa Knight. “Vanessa keeps the horse at Peter’s and we share the ride. He’s a lovely horse – the quietest stallion ever. It was not ideal me and Vanessa being on the same day but it worked out!

Calum who has specialised in dressage since the age of 18 is now stable jockey for international rider Peter Storr at his yard in Broadway. “It’s fantastic to have Peter’s help all the time,” he said.

Calum will not be heading home quite yet. He goes on to compete in Sunday’s Stretch & Flex Elementary Restricted riding Peter Storr’s seven-year-old Stedinger gelding, Sirius Black.


 Dodson & Horrell Novice Open Championships
In the Dodson & Horrell Novice Open Championship, it looks as though another potential Olympic star has been found. Our winning horse, Corchapin, ridden by Jo Hamilton, is half-brother to double Olympic gold medallist, Valegro as they share the same sire, Negro. Ironically, it’s nearly five years to the day that Valegro also won this championship so the future looks bright for the chestnut. Owned by Lady Hope and Jo, Corchapin, or ‘Colin’ to his friends, is just five and is British bred by Sarah Tyler Evans. Jo spotted him on a trip to Carl Hester’s yard and was categorically told he wasn’t for sale. But when a new horse caught Carl’s eye, Jo was ‘allowed’ to by him. He was “sold, vetted and paid for before I even sat on him as I knew I wanted him but I think Carl regrets it now,” said Jo.
Jo commented; “I’m thrilled. In Scotland we just don’t compete outdoors anymore so it was very frightening for him with the flags and banners however at home, we only have an outdoor school so the wind wasn’t an issue! He’s still very green and looks to me for support but we’re good friends and have a great rapport – where I go, he follows.   He’s genuinely just a clown; a young kid at heart!   The more I ask him, the more he gives so I’m careful not to push him as he’s so special.”
The combination had an eight hour journey from Kirknewton in West Lothian and this is the first of three classes for them. Tomorrow they’ll try to qualify for the five year old final of the Shearwater Potential International Dressage Final while on Sunday they’ll move up a level to the Stretch & Flex Elementary Open Championship.
For full result - click here.
Listen to interviews with the winners - click here
Full pdf of the day's results - click here
Pictures from Kevin Sparrow and Jon Stroud.