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Summer Regional Championships: Somerford Park

last updated on July 20, 2016 11:58

Summer Regional Championships: Somerford Park

It was Cheshire’s Somerford Park which hosted the first of this year’s eight Summer Regional Championships (16 – 18 July 2016) and the first Championship to be held under the new competition structure.

Maria Eilberg had much to celebrate over the weekend, collecting two out of the 12 titles on offer over the weekend. Aboard Farah Al Khojai’s Sir Donnerhall-sired nine-year-old gelding, Sarotti 57, Maria claimed her first ticket to September’s LeMieux National Championships, scoring 70.70% in the Fairfax Saddles PSG Gold Regional Championship to top the leaderboard. Her second ride of the competition, Julia McGowan’s ten-year-old Dutch-bred gelding, TJ Benjamin, impressed judges Caroline Tupling (H), Sarah Rodgers (C) and Patricia Watts (M) in the Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold to win the class and achieve a personal best with a score of 71.97% - three percent above second placed Martin Schleicher with Megan Daley’s son of Proset, Diamond Life Woodman, who also secured their qualification ticket to the Nationals with their mark of 68.90%.

After placing 13th at last year’s National Championships in the BackinAction Prelim, 18-year-old Lauren Sweetland (pictured with Childéric Managing Director, Tricia Bracegirdle) and her partner, Westhills Wravall impressed once again in the Childéric Saddles Elementary Silver Regional Championship (section A). Riding for gold, Lauren and her seven-year-old British-bred gelding produced a personal best score of 70.94%, earning their place at this year’s Nationals. Section B of the Childéric Saddles Elementary Silver went to Sarah Higgins and Peter Storr’s eight-year-old Westpoint stallion, Davidoff with a score of 73.13%.

The highest score of the competition was awarded in the BackinAction Prelim Silver Regional Championship. Split into two sections, Derbyshire’s Mandy Denley was crowned the winner of section A with her seven-year-old partner, KWPN gelding Eyes On Me. The pair, who has only been together a year after a trip with trainer Rhett Bird to Holland, scored a whopping 76.59% to claim the win and a personal best.

“I’m so happy, I haven’t stopped smiling since the test!” announced an ecstatic Mandy. “I went feeling that prep had gone well but had no expectations, it’s such a big class and I had no idea of what the standard would be like as I only had chance to watch a couple of tests.

“At the end of the test, I felt he couldn’t have gone better, I’d like to think that the placing wouldn’t have mattered as I was just so pleased he stayed with me for the entire time, this is his first big show. He’s never seen three sets of judges, yet he behaved perfectly and really concentrated. Somerford Park put on a beautiful show and it felt very special.”

Mandy almost didn’t make it to the Championships, as on Friday evening she watched as her 16.3hh gelding threw a shoe in the field. Not one to be defeated, Mandy and her husband drove an hour to meet the farrier at another yard before making the three hour trek to Somerford Park.

And, bizarrely she wasn’t alone, Rebecca Hughes had to make an emergency call to her farrier as Classic Goldstrike twisted his shoe before loading for the journey to Cheshire. After a quick callout, the five-year-old Dutch gelding – owned by Rebecca, Gareth Hughes and Julia Hornig – was on the lorry and, piloted by Rebecca, posted a winning score of 75.77% in the Dodson & Horrell Novice Gold. A victory for the whole family, husband Gareth Hughes celebrated in the TopSpec Medium Gold with his six-year-old Sandro Hit gelding, Sintano Van Hof Olympia. Scoring 73.38%, the bay gelding adds another ticket to his roster after qualifying for the LeMieux National Championships when winning the six-year-old section of the Shearwater Young Horse Semi-Finals at Hartpury last week.


Class 1a: BackinAction Prelim Silver
Mandy Denley with Eyes on Me, 76.59%

Class 1b: BackinAction Prelim Silver
Alison Croft with Tantoni Dallaglio, 72.20%

Class 2a: Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver
Chloe Vell with Humus Von Singing, 71.67%

Class 2b: Dodson & Horrell Novice Silver
Noah Brook with Gabana HFD, 72.82%

Class 3: Dodson & Horrell Novice Gold
Rebecca Hughes with Classic Goldstrike, 75.77%

Class 4a: Childeric Saddles Elementary Silver
Lauren Sweetland with Westhills Wravall, 70.94%

Class 4b: Childeric Saddles Elementary Silver
Sarah Higgins with Davidoff, 73.13%

Class 5: Childeric Saddles Elementary Gold
Claire Dutton with Azzaro II, 72.14%

Class 6: TopSpec Medium Silver
Sarah Kingwells with The Contact People Destiny D, 70.96%

Class 7: TopSpec Medium Gold
Gareth Hughes with Sintano Van Hof Olympia, 73.38%

Class 8: Equine Construction Advanced Medium Silver
Gemma Abram with Spitfire, 69.82%

Class 9: Equine Construction Advanced Medium Gold
Maria Eilberg with TJ Benjamin, 71.97%

Class 10: Fairfax Saddles PSG Gold
Maria Eilberg with Sarotti 57, 70.70%

Class 11: Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I Gold
Francesca Bradley with Baldovino, 67.59%