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Teenage kicks on Magic night

last updated on April 09, 2016 14:16

Teenage kicks on Magic night

Young Rider, 19-year-old Becky Edwards took top trumps in the Magic Prix St. Georges Freestyle Championship, the first of the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships gala nights. Atop of Leigh Edwards’ 12-year-old Dimaggio-sired gelding Don Archie, Becky scored an impressive 72.33%, just one of two to break the 70% barrier.

Leicestershire-based Ann Staines kicked proceedings off in sublime style with a test matched by beautiful orchestral music highlighted with emotional string sections. Although Ann’s ride, her own 13-year-old German-bred gelding, Royal Standard found the intense atmosphere at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire intimidating, she did well to recover and ease the tension to earn a strong score of 66.04%.

18-year-old Erin Williams pulled out all the stops for her freestyle with partner, Clare Williams’ 10-year-old Sandro Hit-sired gelding Bolsan B. With pirouettes on the centre line and tempi-changes on a 20 metre circle, tonight’s compere, Paul Hayler commented the Junior rider rode a ‘good and brave test’. Her boldness paid off, as the duo secured themselves a mark of 68.71% putting them into the lead before the first break.

Similar to many this evening, Elder Klatzko’s 15-year-old son of Longchomp Woodlander Little Richard was overcome by the atmosphere at Hartpury arena, showing resistance before the bell. However a calm and composed Elder proved to be unfazed as she rode for gold, starting with a pirouette on the centre line and closely followed by tempi-changes towards Swedish judge, Lars Andersson at C. Paul Hayler commended her courage and level of difficulty the canter work contained, however noted the gelding’s ‘spookiness and tension, which was a big shame as Elder couldn’t show his full potential’. The mark from the judges echoed these sentiments with a solid score of 67.13%.

Maria Eilberg and Sarotti 57, Farah Al Khojai’s nine-year-old Sir Donnerhall gelding, showed fantastic potential with some lovely moments, however the electric arena proved too much for the German-bred gelding and Maria made the sensible – yet unfortunate – decision to retire. The combination has been together less than a year, however we’re sure once their partnership has grown in confidence they’ll definitely be one to watch for the future.

Other than a couple of missed changes in her tempis, was next competitor Tahley Reeve-Smith, who produced a mistake-free and relaxed round. Piloting her own 13-year-old gelding, Special – sired by Sandro Hit – she rode to a medley of orchestral Beatles songs, producing beautiful extended trots and powerful canters, gaining a score of 69.92%, putting her into eventual third.

Riding to delicate piano tones contrasted by heavy string sections was Nathalie Kayal and her own DHI Bravo. A clean round, Nathalie and the ten-year-old Dutch gelding only made the move to PSG in November and, although he occasionally sought to Nathalie for confidence, the quality was great and the promise for the future was very much evident, with Paul Hayler commenting that it was a ‘super and mistake-free test’ earning a score of 70.58% for second.

Eventual winners, Becky Edwards and Don Archie, former ride of Charlotte Dujardin, were drawn third last. With fantastic forward and expressive changes and good clean pirouettes, the pair dually earned their 72.33% mark and first placing. Jo Barry and Corchapin followed them but showed some nerves on the big stage and couldn’t match Becky’s mark. The final rider Claire Moir with her own and Anne Haydon’s Davonport Bewes gave it a good go and came oh so close but 69.13% left them just off a podium finish.

So victory went to the teenager; “I’m so pleased!” exclaimed Becky. “It’s a new floorplan which I’ve ridden once at home and for the second time tonight; guess I’m ‘living on the edge’! I played safe for the regionals but knew I’d need to up my game here. I guess I could have put more technicality into it but we’re still getting to know each other.”

This evening’s compere, Paul Hayler expressed that the test was of ‘fantastic quality with super flying changes and pirouettes. The trot programme was also very strong’.

Becky continued; “There were a few mistakes but he was really relaxed and I can feel there’s lots more to come. Early in our partnership, he’d take charge and treat me like a passenger but we’ve put the work in at home instead of competing and tonight that paid off.”

Becky has the chance to do the small tour double here at the NAF Five Star Winter Championships as she partners Dr Margaret Cox’s Ufano in the Superflex Inter I under they Hartpury lights tomorrow night.

Full results - click here