Greys lead the way
Two promising grey geldings take it right to the wire
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