Somerford showcases premier talent

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Wed, 29 May 2019 10:50 GMT

Four days of Premier League dressage at Somerford Park proved a resounding success with strong entries across all classes over the bank holiday weekend (24 -27 May 2019).

Sophie Wells, both a leading light in para dressage and prolific competitor on the able bodied circuit, was unbeatable in the Small Tour classes she contested. Aboard C Fatal Attraction (pictured), with whom she’s reigning Grade V Individual and Freestyle World Champion, Sophie set the standard in Saturday’s 39-strong Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges. She scored 74.21% to take victory ahead of talented young rider Dylan Deutrom (21) with William Deans’ San Marco, though twenty four hours on it was Dylan’s turn to taste victory, winning Sunday’s PSG on 74.08%, with the new combination of Charlotte Dujardin and Mount St John Valencia on their coat tails with 73.03%

On Saturday, Sophie said, “I’m thrilled with the win today, he’s not done a straight able bodied test since April last year. We were concentrating on WEG last year and this year wanted to get in the arena to do some changes as he gets quite excited. His general way of going is so much better and the quality is really coming.”

Sophie and ‘Jorge’, as the 12 year old Fidertanz son is known, also won Sunday’s Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I with another cracking score of 73.33%, with Michael Eilberg and Sarotti 57 and Carl Hester with Brioso II completing the top three. Sophie also earned fourth in both the Cavalor Inter II and LeMieux Grand Prix with her up-and-coming Grand Prix mare, Diadeem.

“Wow wow wow what a weekend at Somerford Premier League. I am bursting with pride for both of them…” is how Sophie began her concluding comment on Sophie Wells MBE Dressage Facebook.

The combination of Katie Bailey and Eagle Nouvelle landed a win in Saturday’s Saracen Horse Feeds Inter I, continuing their run of good form with a score of 71.84% for owner Hannah Dovey. “He felt quite ‘go-ey’ today so I had to rein him in a little bit,” said Katie who trains with Charlotte Dujardin. “But it was a clean test and I was pleased with the changes and my left canter pirouette was very good. He was very consistent and I was really happy with him.”

A seven and a half hour trip from the Devon and Cornwall border proved successful for Holly Kerslake with Carl Trock’s 10 year old Welsh Cob stallion Valhallas Zorro who clinched Saturday's Pony Team Test. The pair, who were double winners at Keysoe CDI earlier this year, were awarded a score of 71.54%. “I was really happy with the test. We’ve been working on some stuff at home which came off in the arena so he was a really good boy,” said Holly. “My major goal for this year is the Europeans.”

English student Rebecca Bell took a short trip out from Oxford University to claim the Young Rider Team Test on a score of 69.74%. The 2015 Pony European team gold medallist said, “I’ve been campaigning for European selection, and I’ve got to prove consistency so I’m really pleased with today’s result.”

Sunday’s LeMieux Grand Prix hosted a healthy field of twenty. An on-form Tom Goode and Dior III (Gribaldi x Goodtimes) registered a score of 70.34% to finish second, with Carl Hester and Hawtins Delicato (Diamond Hit x Regazzoni) repeating their 2018 victory to take the class by a plus three percent margin. Fresh from Compiègne CDIO where they were part of the winning British team in the FEI Nations Cup™, Carl and ‘Del’ delivered a high quality if not error-free performance to lead the class with a score 73.72% from the judging panel of Norway’s Trond Asmyr (E), Stephen Clarke (H), Clive Halsall (M), France’s Jean-Michel Roudier (B) and Peter Storr (C).

“Hawtins Delicato wins the Grand Prix today at Somerford. Not perfect yet - you get some bits better, then compromise on others, but always fun to ride!” said Carl on Facebook.

Megan Ingham, riding her mother Coral Ingham’s 18 years young Wanadoo (by Wolkenstein II), claimed the U25 Grand Prix with a promising score of 68.84%. Megan and Wanadoo have been together for two years and have only ridden two Inter IIs so Megan was thrilled with the win in their first U25 Grand Prix. “He’s an absolute superstar,” she said. “He’s always been a challenge but he’s a dream to ride and he is the best team mate in the world.

“This is a new personal best and I’m absolutely amazed, it’s the hardest test I’ve ever done so I’m over the moon,” she added. Looking towards the rest of the season? “A couple more Inter IIs are on the cards this season and I’m hoping to go abroad with the U25s and possibly a couple more Grands Prix by the end of the year.”

Sarah Higgins proved a prolific winner throughout the weekend taking Saturday's Cavalor Inter II and Monday’s Inter I, sponsored by Saracen Horse Feeds. “I’ve had a great weekend, I’ve had quite a few horses here and feel quite weary!” said Sarah. “My best result to date was my win in the Inter II on Saturday on Sarah Rao’s Alfranco. I was terrified as it’s a very new level to me and only my second time I’ve ridden at that level, although ‘Alfie’ is super experienced and just awesome. He held my hand the whole way through.”

Another Monday winner was Cara Shardlow from North Yorkshire with Detonator II, her 13 year old son of Demonstrator. Cara was over the moon with her win particularly as they’ve only made a recent return to competition following injury. “It means so much to come here and win today and is just the motivation I need,” said Cara. “[I’m] looking forward to competing the rest of the season and hoping to do some more Premier Leagues.”

Winner of Monday's Pony Team Test was Steffi Tomlinson with Tracy Tomlinson’s Vivassa, a 12 year old chestnut daughter of Vivaldi – a combination long listed for the Pony European Championships in August. “We had a few mistakes but [I’m] still really pleased,” said Steffi. “Her canter work is always her best work, but her trot work did improve in the test.”

British Dressage thanks all the class sponsors and the team at Somerford Park for putting on a fantastic event. Congratulations to all the winners listed below and to all those who took part.

The winners:

Friday 24 May
Class 1: Shearwater Young Horse 4YO Qualifier
Tom Goode with Special Diva

Class 2: Shearwater Young Horse 5YO Qualifier
Darcas Lever with Sandrovski

Class 3: Shearwater Young Horse 6YO Qualifier
Melissa Chapman with Inocencio DHI

Class 4: Medium 73
Ryan Todd with Mount St John Di Romantica, 71.03%

Class 5: Equine Construction Advanced Medium 96 
Tom Goode with Sakira, 70.39%

Saturday 25 May
Class 6: Hickstead British Young Horse National 5YO Qualifier
Charlie Hutton with Active Scalini, 7.88

Class 7: Hickstead British Young Horse National 6YO Qualifier
Michael Eilberg with MSJ Dante VX, 8.02

Class 8: Hickstead British Young Horse FEI 5YO Qualifier
Lucinda Elliott with Hawtins Lirica, 8.22

Class 9: Hickstead British Young Horse FEI 6YO Qualifier
Michael Eilberg with MSJ Dante VX, 8.14

Class 10: Cavalor Intermediate II
Sarah Higgins with Alfranco, 68.55%

Class 11: Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I
Katie Bailey with Eagle Nouvelle, 71.84%

Class 12: Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges
Sophie Wells with C Fatal Attraction, 74.21%

Class 13: FEI 7 YO Preliminary Test
Tom Goode with Feine Schufro, 72.08%

Class 14: Prix St Georges Freestyle
Eilidh Grant with Eranda Retto, 71.96%

Class 15a: Pony Team Test
Holly Kerslake with Valhallas Zorro, 71.54%

Class 15b: Junior Team Test
Clare Hole with Winnetou GEP, 67.64%

Class 15c: Young Rider Team Test
Rebecca Bell with Nibeley Union Hit, 69.74%

Sunday 26 May
Class 16: Equine Construction Advanced Medium
Jessie Kirby with Bell Amie I, 68.60%

Class 17: U25 Grand Prix
Megan Ingham with Wanadoo, 68.84%

Class 18: LeMieux Grand Prix
Carl Hester with Hawtins Delicato, 73.72%

Class 19: Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I
Sophie Wells with C Fatal Attraction, 73.33%

Class 20: Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges
Dylan Deutrom with San Marco, 74.08%

Class 21: Pony Individual Test
Emilia Nelson with WFS Top Red, 68.41%

Monday 27 May
Class 22: Pony Team Test
Steffi Tomlinson with Vivassa, 68.97%

Class 23: Fairfax Saddles Prix St Georges
Cara Shardlow with Detonator II, 68.68%

Class 24: Equine Construction Advanced Medium
Charlotte Dujardin with Mount St John Valencia, 75.57%

Class 25: Saracen Horse Feeds Intermediate I|
Sarah Higgins with Waldessarini, 71.10%

Class 26: Grand Prix Special
Ryan Todd with Charlex Eskebjerg, 68.46%