PONY CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS

Horse & Hound - - Show Jumping -

“THERE are def­i­nitely big things to come from him,” said Tah­nia Jor­dan-Jones, as her phe­nom­e­nal part-bred Welsh Jumper be­came the first pony for 15 years to take twin vic­to­ries in the new­com­ers and Fox­hunter fi­nals.

The 11-year-old pony launched his HOYS blitz by lead­ing an 18-strong jump-off from first draw in the new­com­ers, be­fore snatch­ing a thrilling Fox­hunter as the last to go.

The part­ner­ship also came within an ex­cru­ci­at­ing pole of a treble vic­tory — set­tling for fourth in the lead­ing pony showjumper when they set the fastest time but just tapped the fi­nal fence be­hind.

“I knew he was tal­ented but it was his ex­pe­ri­ence I was wor­ried about. I thought some­where like this that he might not per­form as well but it didn’t faze him at all,” said 15-year-old Tah­nia, who started the sen­si­tive grey out qui­etly at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son, and ended it just miss­ing out on a Euro­pean team slot.

“We’ve built a re­la­tion­ship with each other; I put my trust in him and he per­forms each time,” she said. “Since I was in 128cm I’ve been com­ing here and I’ve been wait­ing for the right time — this pony is the spe­cial one.”

First draw can some­times be an ad­van­tage, as a quick open­ing jump-off per­for­mance can force oth­ers to fault, but no one came close to sur­mount­ing Tah­nia’s pathfind­ing round in the new­com­ers.

While Ni­cole Lock­head An­der­son trumped her time by 0.14 of a sec­ond on Gang­nam

Style II, the next quick­est clear — from Madi­son Jami­son and Flavia — was 3.77 sec­onds slower. There were seven dou­ble clears, with Court­ney Young and Zu­can V tak­ing third a fur­ther 1.35 sec­onds off the win­ning pace.

“He has a mas­sive stride and it was nice to have a track with long gal­lops to fences — you don’t get that very of­ten as there are a lot of twisty cour­ses. He’s a pony that loves to re­ally move on,” Tah­nia com­mented.

JOR­DAN-JONES LEARNS FROM EX­PE­RI­ENCE

FOX­HUNTER vic­tory was harder-won but gen­er­ated one of the most en­thralling jumpoffs of the show, grip­ping the Satur­day-af­ter­noon crowd.

Third to go Lily Free­man Attwood and Ca­pa­bil­ity Brown es­tab­lished the first clear in a very com­pet­i­tive 37.73 sec­onds, which held the lead un­til a fast and smooth round from Al­lana Clut­ter­buck and Atomic Du Bary in penul­ti­mate draw slashed 0.75 of a sec­ond.

It looked like there was lit­tle room for ma­noeu­vre but Tah­nia and the su­per-scopey grey still snipped 0.3 of a sec­ond from the tar­get.

“I didn’t see Al­lana go but ev­ery­one said I needed to re­ally move on. I know their part­ner­ship is great, it’s a re­ally good pony and they were very close to us in the new­com­ers fi­nal as well,” she said.

It was Tah­nia’s mis­take at the last in the lead­ing pony showjumper that helped cre­ate her vic­tory, as she had to nav­i­gate a sim­i­lar fi­nal line.

“It was quite a short four in the [lead­ing pony showjumper] jump-off and I held too much and he didn’t have time to get off the floor. In the Fox­hunter I held and then al­lowed him to make a shape and it paid off,” she said.

GREIG REL­ISHES HER CHANG­ING FOR­TUNES

SCOT­LAND’S Shau­nie Greig fi­nally put aside a run of bad luck at the NEC to take the lead­ing pony showjumper ti­tle, pi­lot­ing her grand­mother Anne’s 14-yearold Casino Royale VIII.

A 10-strong jump-off field en­sured a quick and qual­ity sec­ond phase that in­cluded last year’s win­ner Tixylix (this time rid­den by Eleanor Hall-McA­teer) as well as pony Euro­pean team squad mem­bers Al­lana Clut­ter­buck (Sultan Du Bary) and Lily Free­man Attwood (Valmy De Treille).

There were only three even­tual dou­ble clears, the first of which came from Han­nah Barker and Am­man­val­ley Santino; who were then un­der­cut by a dra­matic

9.63 sec­onds by Al­lana and her ex­pe­ri­enced selle Français geld­ing.

Three from last, Shau­nie opened the throt­tle with her Ir­ish pony, sur­viv­ing a hairy mo­ment when they got very close to the sec­ond part of the dou­ble, to land the win by 1.56 sec­onds.

“It was a dif­fi­cult line from the post­box ver­ti­cal to the dou­ble and we had a bit of luck there, he nearly un­seated me on the way out,” Shau­nie ex­plained. “I’ve won at Hick­stead twice but I’ve

‘He was awk­ward when I first got him and used to crash into fences. I never thought he’d jump this big’

SHAU­NIE GREIG ON LEAD­ING PONY SHOWJUMPER CASINO ROYALE VIII

never done well here so it was def­i­nitely one I wanted.”

The 14-year-old has rid­den the geld­ing for two years, pro­duc­ing him from 1.10m level.

“He was re­ally awk­ward to ride when I first got him and he used to crash into fences and rush. I never thought he’d jump any­thing as big as this,” she added.

Sonas Bar­ney claimed

The Sta­ble Com­pany 138cm cham­pi­onship for the sec­ond time in three years, this time part­nered by Madi­son Heath.

The 20-year-old geld­ing pro­duced the fastest of two dou­ble clears from five jump-off starters, ax­ing 1.88 sec­onds off Jake My­ers and The Agent’s early lead.

This part­ner­ship al­ready had wins at Bolesworth and the na­tional cham­pi­onships on their card this sea­son, but the HOYS ti­tle has been very much in the 12-year-old rider’s sights.

“I was so de­ter­mined to win it and I’m so happy to have fi­nally done it. Now Dad [Graham] doesn’t have to keep say­ing,

‘You have to win HOYS!’” joked Madi­son, who had pre­vi­ously taken the run­ner-up spot in the 128cm cham­pi­onship in 2015 on Red Alert.

The 128cm cham­pi­onship is al­ways a ro­bust chal­lenge and this year was no ex­cep­tion, with just two rid­ers mak­ing it through to the sec­ond round.

Although faults were scat­tered, a plank oxer at fence three was the big­gest bo­gey, elic­it­ing a raft of refusals and knock­downs.

It was Aimee Jones and the re­li­able 18-year-old Koda — who hasn’t been out­side of the top three in this cham­pi­onship for the past three years — who was drawn first in the two-way jumpoff, pro­duc­ing a clear round in 50.14 sec­onds.

Their time around the long, gal­lop­ing jump-off track was how­ever swiftly usurped by Scot­land’s Amy Mor­ris and the 14-year-old Madonna.

They stopped the clock clear in 45.8 sec­onds to seize the ti­tle.

“I have al­ways wanted to jump here but to win on my first time is un­be­liev­able,” Amy said, who also qual­i­fied last year but didn’t com­pete as the pony “wasn’t quite right”.

“A lot of the other kids had a lot of poles down, so I didn’t think I’d even jump clear,” she added. “She jumps most things, so I was con­fi­dent, but we did nearly have the post­box fence down. Some­times she helps me out a lot.”

‘I was so de­ter­mined to win it and I’m so happy to have done it’ 138CM CHAM­PION MADI­SON

HEATH (SONAS BAR­NEY)

‘There are big things to come from him’: Jumper scores a rare twin tri­umph in the new­com­ers and Fox­hunter fi­nals, rid­den by Tah­nia Jor­dan-Jones

Casino Royale VIII takes the lead­ing pony showjumper ti­tle with Shau­nie Greig

Sonas Bar­ney claims the 138cm cham­pi­onship for the sec­ond time in three years, rid­den by Madi­son Heath

HOYS debu­tant Amy Mor­ris wins the 128cm ti­tle rid­ing Madonna

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