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Georgie Crumley makes it a hat-trick, while young guns go for it in the winter novice and a ‘trusty old boy’ jumps out of his skin to win the amateur qualifier
IT was a fruitful weekend for Georgie Crumley and the Old Lodge Stud, as she piloted Haifa OL to wins in the two biggest classes of the show, as well as claiming the winter grade C qualifier with Khaled OL.
Course-builder Matt Hoskins ensured the prize fund had to be earned in Saturday’s feature event, the £995-to-the-winner 1.35m open. The popular class attracted 47 starters, but only five progressed to the second phase.
All the jump-off contenders finished on four faults, with an opening bid from Will Fletcher and Glory Rose setting an early standard. They clipped the triple bar in 39.84 seconds, good enough to leave the others chasing.
Sally Goding and Tiger Millie
II , the first of her two rides through, trailed by over three seconds while Nicki Bates and Warren Miss Contendro opted for a steady round in 49.68 seconds. Sally’s second horse, Wizardlea HFS, then came within 0.1 of a second of the target, falling just short of an elusive clear when they knocked the vertical at the last.
In final draw, all eyes were on Georgie Crumley and the 10-year-old mare Haifa OL — as well as winning the preceding day’s 1.30m open, they had also delivered a standout scopey round in the first phase. But their hopes of a clean sheet went out the window when the big chestnut caught the oxer going into the double at the second fence, and the Guildford rider had to kick on.
Keeping up a bold pace on the classic triple-bar-to-vertical question on the final line, they stopped the clock in a decisive 38.98 seconds.
“I was lucky to have had an early fence down [so she knew to go quickly] but the quicker you go with her, the easier she is to ride, so I always planned to start with a good pace,” said Georgie, who took over the ride on the daughter of Dulf Van Den Bisschop in April.
“I could trust her on the final line — I don’t have to protect her and she’s unlucky if she has one down. If she does, it’s normally because she’s tried a bit too hard.”
Course-builder Matt often aims for technical tracks in the qualifers, ensuring that winners can meet the standard required by the final, and the opening day’s winter grade C was no exception.
There were four double clears from five jump-off starters, and Georgie and the six-year-old stallion Khaled OL claimed the top ticket. They breezed to a two-second win over Georgia Taylor-Jones (Cascade Van Het Driekooienhof ) with Tracy Priest and Foxhunter/1.20m open winner Diamants Aurora in third, another four seconds behind.
The stallion — who is by
Super Trooper De Ness out of Old Lodge’s mare Hussah ( jumped by Nicole Pavitt) — was on his first outing since finishing eighth in the newcomers final at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
“He’s only six so I wasn’t going to go galloping, but when you ask him to go faster he stays smooth and is easy to turn,” said Georgie, who took over the ride from Max Routledge in January. “Even if the tracks are technical, when you’re riding a nice one, it feels fine. I thought that was a nice class for him after HOYS, which was strong.”
HONEST TO THE END
WITH 40-plus entries, Saturday’s 1.25m speed stakes was always going to be competitive — and for many it turned out to be hit or miss, with a mixed bag of on-themoney rounds, high-faulters and a few fallers and eliminations.
No one exemplified this trend better than victor Leesa Long, who took a dramatic tumble
from her first ride — who jumped between the gap in the wings of a water tray oxer, landing her in front of the saddle and then broncing her off — before coming back to secure the win with Saber.
“I landed on my feet and I had a similar fall from Saber two years ago where I badly broke my ankle and had to have a year off, so I was worried for a second I might do it again,” said former jockey Leesa. “The distance came up long [down the related distance to the water tray] where I’d cut inside to the fence before. Some people went on five and I went to go on four. Coming back in on Saber, though, we made it on the four — he has such a big stride I was able to take out one.”
Leesa has been riding the big 13-year-old chestnut for five years, having taken him over from his previous owner who didn’t get on with him.
“He was quite a hard ride at first but he’s turned into a really good horse for me,” said Leesa,
“He wouldn’t usually be my type.”
The pair missed a chunk of this season when the gelding had to have 10 weeks off after breaking some blood vessels at Pyecombe.
“He won the class and was coming out of the ring down the chute and he started coughing and spluttering,” Leesa said. “Then it happened again at Bicton. The vet said that while racehorses can run again after doing it, with big horses you have to give the vessels time to heal, so we did.”
The SEIB winter novice had the biggest support of the qualifiers, with 60 entries coming forward including some impressive young horse talent.
Fourteen survived to round two, with Michaela Webb, Ryan O’Sullivan and Ben Clark all bringing through more than one ride.
Jumping from third draw, Michaela and Nikki Savage and Adrian Jenks’ eight-year-old Stellar Skylight produced the quickest of five double clears; with Laura Mantel producing a well-judged round on Lady Caretino to claim the remaining ticket 0.6 of a second behind.
Michaela’s win was the more impressive as the pair nearly tipped up after a bad stumble on landing after the first fence.
“I lost my reins but he’s so straight he just keeps going — he was really honest,” said Michaela, who had just a few strides to reorganise before a decent oxer.
“After the stumble, I didn’t have the best distance round to the next oxer for the inside route I was planning to take. I knew I had to speed up to gain some time back so I ran him down the last line [triple bar to vertical]. I can trust him as he’s so careful — it was quite a long run but he’s really good with questions like that.”
Michaela sourced the gelding, who was bred at the Schockemöhle stud, at the end of last year, which is when he began his jumping career. Although green, he is already knocking on the door at 1.40m level and is expected to contest his first grand prix at Addington Premier Show this week (2-5 November).
“We’ve just spent this year moving him up and getting miles on the clock,” Michaela added.
‘OLD BOY’ ON TOP
FLORENCE BELLM pulled out her “trusty old boy” Southbound for the winter amateur qualifier. He jumped the fastest of two double clears (the other was delivered by Ben Clark and Calista III) in a nine-strong jump-off.
“He’s 15 now and I only bring him out for special occasions but he’s not a horse you can save too much,” said Florence. “I gave him four weeks off and at our first show last week he was terrible — he was bunny hopping in front of each jump and we had to retire. He loves his job but can’t do the 1.30m classes as much any more, though he’s a master at 1.20m.”
Their decent winning margin was all the more accomplished as Florence arrived without the horse’s tack.
“The day started off badly — I brought him the wrong saddle and bridle,” she said. “I hate trying something new at a show and I couldn’t get the girth done up!”
As Southbound has been a family favourite since he arrived as a seven-year-old, Florence is hoping she might be able to have a foal by the same stallion, Calvaro.
“I don’t think there are many straws left so I’m looking at doing an embryo transfer with my fiveyear-old mare,” she said.
‘It started off badly — I brought him the wrong saddle and bridle’ FLORENCE BELLM TURNS HER DAY AROUND WITH SOUTHBOUND
Georgie Crumley and Haifa OL (by Dulf Van Den Bisschop) win the top two classes, the grand prix and the 1.30m open
Leesa Long wins the dramatic 1.25m speed stakes riding Saber
Michaela Webb and Stellar Skylight land the SEIB winter novice
Southbound (Florence Bellm) secures the winter amateur qualifier