Greys lead the way

Two promis­ing grey geld­ings take it right to the wire

Horse & Hound - - Show Jumping - By MAR­GARET SHAW

South View EC, Cheshire

IT was a snowy Tues­day at South View and a grey day for win­ning rid­ers Claire Shep­herd and John Gar­ton-Pope, who rode their grey geld­ings Mill­field Kaiser and El­do­rado Vel­vet to vic­tory in the Blue Chip Karma and Dy­namic B&C qual­i­fiers.

Pa­tience and pro­duc­ing Kaiser slowly has paid off for Claire af­ter buy­ing the Kan­nan seven-year-old as a six-week-old foal.

“We had him home at six

months, but as he had so much grow­ing to do, we gave him plenty of time and only kicked on from last June,” said Claire. “He’s big, so to make sure his size wouldn’t be­come an is­sue, I con­cen­trated on his flat­work and he is very balanced and re­spon­sive.”

Claire is Hick­stead-bound for the win­ter novice fi­nal with Kaiser af­ter they picked up their ticket at North­cote last Septem­ber.

Nine com­bi­na­tions came through to the jump-off and, af­ter the last fence fell for the first two rid­ers, Liam Fitzger­ald pro­duced the first dou­ble clear rid­ing Pa­tri­cia Mor­ris’ High

Of­fley Su­na­gra B.

How­ever, he was quickly over­taken by next-drawn and se­cond-placed Ge­off Billing­ton, who pulled off a par­tic­u­larly tight turn­back through the dou­ble with Corvette Van Overis Z in 35.95sec.

Ge­off ’s wife Sarah bought the Ce­lano seven-year-old from Gemma Plum­ley three years ago and pro­duced him slowly over the first two years of his ca­reer.

“He was spooky at first and we let him grow up and have a quiet six-year-old year, but he is more ma­ture now and he feels ready to step up,” said Ge­off. “The last two fences were tricky, but he has plenty of jump and we are very ex­cited about him.”

With a cou­ple of tight turns prov­ing tempt­ing over Gil­lian Milner’s track, Claire Shep­herd took the short­est routes all the way and, de­spite his size, Kaiser curled his mas­sive 172cm frame around the wings with­out break­ing his stride to post the win­ning time, half a se­cond faster.

“He is the full pack­age and

I’m look­ing for­ward to try­ing him over some big­ger tracks now,” con­cluded Claire.

The Dy­namic B&C qual­i­fier also went to the wire, with John Gar­ton-Pope, the last drawn of seven pairs, head­ing a blan­ket fin­ish with El­do­rado Vel­vet.

John bought his In­do­rado Vel­vet nine-year-old five years ago and, af­ter pro­duc­ing him through the age classes, stepped him up to two-star shows last sea­son.

“He’s brave and care­ful and noth­ing fazes him,” said John, who is a Bri­tish Showjump­ing ac­cred­ited coach. “I’ve been work­ing to­wards a higher level and hope to com­pete more on the county cir­cuit this sum­mer, with a view to try­ing some shows in Europe.”

Blue Chip Karma win­ners Claire Shep­herd and Mill­field Kaiser

John Gar­ton-Pope and El­do­rado Vel­vet snatch the Dy­namic B&C

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