Samp­son’s Fox­hunter fo­cus hits the tar­get

Ebolen­sky de­liv­ers the goods for Matt Samp­son, Ni­cole Pavitt adds to her HOYS new­com­ers tally and Jumper makes his mark in the pony classes

Horse & Hound - - Show Jumping -

THE Equitop My­oplast Fox­hunter fi­nal has been Matt Samp­son’s fo­cus with Ebolen­sky for the past 12 months, and he duly signed, sealed and de­liv­ered his bid for this most pres­ti­gious of na­tional ti­tles with 2.43 sec­onds to spare.

“Noth­ing else re­ally mat­tered,” said Matt, who took over the ride on the Clin­ton eight-year-old at the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber. “Since her own­ers bought her as a foal it’s what they had in mind for her.”

Kelvin By­wa­ter’s first-round track had demon­strated its jumpa­bil­ity when first-to-go Rachel Con­nor and Fan­tas­tic pro­duced a clear, but the course­builders had an anx­ious wait as the next 16 com­bi­na­tions faulted.

For­tu­nately, there was some class bunched at the end of the 23-strong field and a fur­ther three clears came from the last six to jump.

Rachel once again de­liv­ered a strong opener in the sec­ond phase, set­ting the sec­ond fastest time on the seven-year-old mare but drop­ping the Abbey Road fence when a bold an­gle didn’t pay.

The first dou­ble clear — 2.4 sec­onds slower — was then laid down by Jamie Win­grove and Heart­string, a former five-yearold na­tional cham­pion who has re­mained con­sis­tent through

‘I’ve never sat on a more in­tel­li­gent horse; she just adapts’

MATT SAMP­SON ON FOX­HUNTER WIN­NER EBOLEN­SKY

the grades. They were fol­lowed by Louise Say­well and Hash­tag, who clocked a four-fault ef­fort a smidgen off Jamie’s lead time.

Last in, Matt rode a de­ter­mined round from the start with the big-en­gined grey, open­ing up thrillingly over the fi­nal line to stop the clock with an easy ad­van­tage.

“She’s one of the best horses I’ve ever had. You can never be sure of the re­sult but I was con­fi­dent in the horse — she’s never had a bad round,” he said.

“It was a jump-off that suited her, although ev­ery­thing suits her. I’ve never sat on a more in­tel­li­gent horse in my life — she just seems to adapt.”

A pre­vi­ous win­ner of the se­nior new­com­ers and young rider cham­pi­onships at HOYS — as well as the new­com­ers, Fox­hunter and 138cm on ponies — Matt has continued to tick off a bucket list of prized na­tional classes this year, also claim­ing the speed derby at Hick­stead on Topflight True Carlo.

“We’ve had a good year, we’ve got some good horses and own­ers and ev­ery­thing seems to be com­ing to­gether,” Matt said. “There’s al­ways an­other pres­ti­gious class to try and aim to win but there’s not many like the Fox­hunter that has so much his­tory be­hind it.”

FORMER EVEN­TER KEEPS STEP­PING UP

THERE had been a tense mo­ment the pre­vi­ous evening when Matt and Ebolen­sky — again in last draw — had been the only com­bi­na­tion stand­ing between Chloe Winch­ester, Matt’s girl­friend, and vic­tory

in the Tal­ent Seek­ers fi­nal.

The pathfinder in the jumpoff, Chloe had led the six-strong field from the start with Jo West’s nippy former even­ter Sports­field Our Clare, and re­tained her ad­van­tage when Matt tipped the third fence.

“The plan with Matt’s horse was al­ways the Fox­hunter, so he was go­ing to save her for that,” said Chloe. “Be­fore I went in he told me to go out there and show them what I was made of.”

Pony-like but with a mas­sive stride, the seven-year-old Sports­field Our Clare, by the Hanove­rian stal­lion New­mar­ket Ven­ture, has ex­ceeded all ex­pec­ta­tions this year.

“We started out at 1.20m with her and we said, ‘If she aims up to 1.30m that would be amaz­ing’ but she has just stepped up and up,” added Chloe. “She tries so hard and al­ways gives that lit­tle bit more. She has found scope at ev­ery level.”

The only other dou­ble clear in the Tal­ent Seek­ers came from Louise Say­well, who took the £1,000 bonus for best-placed seven-year-old with the Old Lodge’s Mac Uwe, who was bought at auc­tion in Ger­many.

PAVITT STRIKES AGAIN

THE Con­nolly’s Red Mills new­com­ers cham­pi­onship ended in the third vic­tory for Ni­cole Pavitt since 2012, mak­ing her the most pro­lific win­ner of this ti­tle for the past 30 years.

In an un­com­mon con­clu­sion to such a com­pet­i­tive class,

just two com­bi­na­tions had pro­gressed to the sec­ond round, with Ni­cole pro­duc­ing the sole dou­ble clear from first draw on the clean-jump­ing seven-year-old HC Cor­net, owned by Ta­mara Czarto­ryska of HC Sport Horses.

The only other clean sheet came from Adam Botham and Jerome Du Luot, who had some luck on their side in the first phase, rat­tling sev­eral poles but leav­ing them all in their cups.

But their for­tune didn’t hold for the jump-off, in which the eight-year-old Cicero geld­ing pro­duced a strong round 1.32 sec­onds up on the clock, only to lower the fi­nal fence.

“The two times I’ve won it pre­vi­ously I was first to go in the jump-off as well, so it must be my lucky spot,” said Ni­cole, who was mak­ing a pit stop at HOYS for this one class be­fore set­ting off for Bel­gium early the next morn­ing.

“This [new­com­ers fi­nal] was prob­a­bly the most stress­ful of the ones I’ve won as there were just the two of us in it. He’s a green horse, so there was only so much I could ask him to do.”

Ni­cole picked up the ride on the Coles­tus geld­ing at the be­gin­ning of the year while on tour in Por­tu­gal — where his owner is based — and of her two qual­i­fied rides he was not the one she ex­pected to win.

“He has the tal­ent but he’s done noth­ing,” she said. “When I took him over he’d only jumped a cou­ple of 1.10m classes.

“It’s hard to qual­ify for these fi­nals but I like to do them be­cause I know if I’m go­ing to have a good horse from the way they cope with the oc­ca­sion. They have to have a good head — he’ll make a grand prix horse for sure. “

‘UNEQUIVOCAL VIC­TORY’

KATHRYN EL­LI­SON may have con­sid­ered her­self the un­der­dog in the Speedi-Beet grade C fi­nal, but the Dorset rider still pi­loted her boss Jabeena Maslin’s home­bred mare Chero­kee Bay to an unequivocal vic­tory.

She jumped the quick­est of two dou­ble clears to take “the big­gest win of her ca­reer” over Joe Clayton (Eye Catcher); while Will Fletcher col­lected third with a fast four-fault round on the former three-star even­ter Persimmon.

The nine-year-old Chero­kee Bay — by the stal­lion Otis, who was lost as a six-year-old — was on her first out­ing in­doors for two years.

“Noth­ing has ever fazed her,” said Kathryn. “I felt that no one was ex­pect­ing any­thing from me, so I should make the most of it and go for it.”

Seven­teen-year-old Abbi Jack­son made a bold de­but in the Horse­ware bronze league fi­nal, forg­ing a hefty 3.81-sec­ond win­ning mar­gin from first draw on 12-year-old Christo­pher Robbin IV.

“He goes fast all the time, we can’t change him, we’ve tried,” said Bed­ford­shire-based

‘He goes fast all the time, we can’t change him — we’ve tried. He’s such a show-off that he loved it’

BRONZE LEAGUE CHAM­PION ABBI JACK­SON (CHRISTO­PHER ROBBIN IV)

Abbi, who “col­lected” the bay “ac­ci­den­tally” four years ago, as other rid­ers found it dif­fi­cult to get on with him.

“Jump­ing 1.10m is a real step up for him, es­pe­cially some­where like this, as he usu­ally jumps 1m tracks. He’s such a showoff though that he loved the at­mos­phere.”

Horse­ware sil­ver league win­ner Fools Busi­ness is be­com­ing a leg­end at this level, tak­ing two wins, a sec­ond and a third place in the last four edi­tions of this cham­pi­onship.

The 16-year-old, 15.2hh home-bred by It’s The Busi­ness out of a JA pony mare won in

2015 with Katie Shaw, this time pro­duc­ing the fastest of four dou­ble clears with her sis­ter Emma Sargeant.

“He’s not the big­gest but at this level he’s un­beat­able. He’d never make a 1.40m or 1.50m horse, but he can win all day over these tracks,” said Emma.

Sports­field Our Clare (Chloe Winch­ester) claims the Tal­ent Seek­ers

‘She’s never had a bad round’: Matt Samp­son ful­fils Ebolen­sky’s life­long tar­get in win­ning the Fox­hunter cham­pi­onship

Sole dou­ble clear: Ni­cole Pavitt (HC Cor­net), new­com­ers cham­pion

A leg­end at his level: Fools Busi­ness, 16, tops the sil­ver league fi­nal un­der Emma Sargeant — his sec­ond win in this cham­pi­onship

Abbi Jack­son and Christo­pher Robbin IV, bronze league cham­pi­ons

Ca­reer high: Kathryn El­li­son and Chero­kee Bay land the grade C fi­nal

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