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Superflex title for Super Blue and Charlie

last updated on April 09, 2016 23:47

Superflex title for Super Blue and Charlie

Tonight's second gala evening of this year’s NAF Five Star Winter Championships, the crowds gathered once again for top dressage action. The atmosphere didn’t disappoint as stand out performances from numerous combinations entertained a full house creating an electric mood in Hartpury Arena for the Superflex Inter I Freestyle. It was a win for the crowd favourite, Charlie Hutton on Judy Peploe’s 17hh gelding Super Blue (pictured), who excelled with relaxed and correct two time changes and an expressive extended trot to an instrumental version of the hit ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ from a score produced by Gary Wood of Equitunes. Not only favoured by the crowd, Charlie scored highly with the judges to take the title with 72.46%.

First to go was the preceding night’s gala evening winner, 19-year-old Becky Edwards, this time aboard Dr Margaret Cox’s Portuguese stallion, Ufano II. They made a bold and confident start to the evening’s competition presenting obedient work in all three paces. British Dressage training director and compere for the evening, Paul Hayler, commented on the ‘super trot work’ suggesting another high score for the teenager. Rewarded with another seventy-plus score of 71.03% and a big pat, the talented Ufano and his rider left the arena on a high.

One for the music fans was Richard Barrett riding Mark Philpott’s Walid 4. Dancing to music from the popular musical Les Miserables and boasting an exciting floorplan that stood out from the field. The canter work on a serpentine was a highlight with brave canter pirouettes on the centre line showing off the combination’s technical ability. They moved into the lead with a score of 71.42%.

Popular with Paul Hayler, was Mount St John’s Emma Blundell and Keystone Diaz who entered to bold and menacing music. Paul spoke of their ‘well matched partnership’ which was displayed in an obedient and technical test giving them a solid score of 70.08% - a personal best for the combination at this level.

Next in was the striking British-bred mare Hawtins Floriana ridden effectively by Bryony Goodwin. The horse’s big extended trot stood out in a busy floorplan with constant turns demonstrating technical elements keeping the horse attentive. Well suited to the horse’s paces, the music was loud and bold appealing to the judges to give them an equal leading score of 71.42%, only to be pushed back into second once split by the artistic mark.

Upping the technical difficulty, Louise Bell’s own ride, Into the Blue looked on top form finishing boldly with a canter half pass to a flying change to a one and a half canter pirouette straight on to the halt and salute. They also broke the seventy percent barrier with 70.71% to lie in fifth place for the final break of competition.

The closing competitors impressed to end the competition on a high. Lucy Cartwright and her own Waterloo performed to emotive music, very well matched to the horse’s paces. ‘A super horse, the test had both highs and lows but it was well ridden’ said Paul Hayler. With a green mistake in the three-time changes they scored 69.17%. Next in was last night’s runner-up, Nathalie Kayal riding DHI Homerun to stirring piano music, they produced exuberant canter pirouettes in front of the judges on the centre line finishing seventh on 70.79%.

The penultimate combination, Maria Griffin on Adrian Baker’s DJ, demonstrated active changes across the diagonal in a mistake-free test to a dramatic musical finish. Maria gave a whinnying DJ a huge pat as they left the arena visibly beaming.

Finishing proceedings was Maya Goldberg, she rode Ferdi Eilberg’s Dutch gelding Torino into the arena causing silence as the crowd awaited an exciting conclusion. Maya’s varied floorplan was put to Paolo Nutini’s ‘New Shoes’, well-matched to the horse’s even, expressive extended trot across the diagonal. They upped the degree of difficulty with tempi changes down the long side.

So victory belonged to Charlie Hutton and behind the scenes ahead of the prize giving it was a quick change as he was performing a ‘Hero’ pas de deux with wife Abi. So it was off with the gaucho costume and on with the top hat and tails to hop on to ‘Pepe’ for the lap of honour.

Afterwards Charlie told BD; “He gave me everything and I’m so pleased. Going up the final centre line, I felt quite emotional because he tried so hard; rides like that you want to remember. He’s a real trier, not a mega mover or world beater but he proves that you don’t need Valegro to win a championship. Time after time, I felt like giving up on him as I didn’t think he could do it but he’s always answered said ‘yes I can!’. He’s proof you should never give up. Tonight, Pepe and I brought our A game.”


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