Moret fells her rivals
A schoolgirl secures her passage to HOYS with the newcomers’ only treble clear, despite high winds and torrential rain, while a stallion wins the Foxhunter
ANJA MORET’S classmates at Great Baddow High School in Essex are probably already booking their tickets to Birmingham after the 15-yearold jumped the sole treble clear to take the top ticket to the
Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) newcomers final.
The 70 starters faced appalling weather. Torrential rain made the going testing and the high winds flattened fences at regular intervals, but course-designer Dave Conway and the Keysoe team worked their socks off to get through the class.
The first-round track looked deceptively easy, but fences fell all around the course, with an early double and the combination proving particularly problematic. Twenty-nine good pairs reached round two, where the constant rain played even more of a part. Despite plenty of harrowing, the water got into the surface, which became deep, and just seven chased the two HOYS tickets and five places at the national championships against the clock.
It was a tense finale that was all about jumping. Adam Botham had an early pole on the big chestnut Jerome Du Luot and upped the pace to set a decent time. When Anja came in from penultimate draw on Fell Capone, Adam was still in the lead, with Bryony Ward in second spot with a slightly slower four faults on Figaro VII, a horse many would have loved to take home.
This may have been Anja’s first try at such a prestigious qualifier and the biggest course she and her seven-year-old mount had ever faced, but no one watching would have realised. She rode beautifully, they met every fence on a perfect stride and they received a big cheer from their rivals when they cleared the last to confirm their HOYS place.
The final rider was Claire Robertson on Cillfhiachrach Trend. This little chestnut tried his heart out, but rolled a late pole to finish fifth, just behind Rosie Gunn and Jagerbomb.
“My face is hurting from smiling so much,” said Anja, who could not really believe what she had achieved.
“Cappa” was started as a four-year-old by John Steels and produced to Foxhunter level by Hollie Lansdowne before Anja took over at the end of last year. The Dutch-bred son of Levantos I is kept with the Lansdownes and Anja has lessons with John Steels, spending long weekends at his yard in Melton Mowbray.
“Anja is a terrific pupil to teach because she wants to learn and tries so hard,” said John.
Anja added: “Cappa’s a brilliant horse and he’s so kind and gentle. I’ve always dreamed of jumping at HOYS and now my dream has come true.”
Adam Botham was equally delighted with his day’s work on Pip Lyons’ eight-year-old Jerome Du Luot.
“He has a brilliant brain and massive scope, but he’s fairly inexperienced,” Adam explained. “Pip’s daughter Emily had been riding him, but he’s a big horse and she’s quite little, so Pip asked me to take him on and see what he could do.”
NICOL’S ASTOUNDING RECOVERY
WATER of a different type played its part in the next day’s Foxhunter second round. The sun came out, but the water jump put paid to the hopes of 17 of the 52 starters in the opening round. However, the cream rose to the top and any one of the 10 who reached round three would have been a worthy qualifier.
Carron Nicol, Jay Halim and Helen Tredwell had two rides
‘My face is hurting from smiling so much. I’ve always dreamed of riding at HOYS’
ANJA MORET, NEWCOMERS WINNER ON FELL CAPONE
each and it was Jay who set the early standard from third draw on Jaque Mate. They jumped a great round and it looked as though a short turn inside to a big oxer had come off, but to everyone’s surprise a pole rolled backwards out of the cups to leave Jay on a desperately unlucky four faults, albeit in a quick time. Dale Burnham then looked odds-on for the first clear on Mark Williams’ Dome Van Overis Z, but the seven-year-old hit the last fence to finish eventual fourth.
This was the biggest test to date for Carron Nicol’s six-yearold Diamond De Semilly stallion Galerius and despite there being two more rivals to come, Carron opted to go for a clear. It was the perfect decision. Galerius gave everything a foot and finished ears pricked with the sole treble clear.
Helen Tredwell, already lying third with Galtur, was last to go on her new ride, New Priory Stud’s Funnycan. But the little mare lowered a pole at the first part of the double and finished fifth, to give Helen two chances to qualify in the masters class at the national championships.
This was an incredibly brave performance from Carron Nicol, who was in hospital four days before the show undergoing a neurosurgical procedure on her back.
“It’s basically been denerved in six different places,” she explained. “I’ve had trouble for a long time since breaking my back and everything else they tried didn’t work. I was told not to lift or bend when I left hospital — but they didn’t tell me not to ride!”
Like the previous day’s newcomers winner, Galerius was started by John Steels and Carron bought him last year.
“I love him because he’s so cheeky,” she said. “He’s probably the most intelligent horse I’ve ever owned, but I never expected this. It was the biggest first-round track I’ve seen in one of these qualifiers and I only brought him today to keep my other horse company. He’d never even seen a water jump before.”
Second-placed Jay Halim could not have been more pleased with the eight-year-old Jaque Mate, who has given the Oxfordshire-based rider his first ever HOYS Foxhunter ride. The Belgian-bred gelding arrived at Jay’s yard a year ago to be sold.
“My groom fell in love with him and told me she would never speak to me again if he went, so I ended up buying him in partnership with Jean Nunn,” said Jay. “He’s the easiest, loveliest horse in the world and has now become the yard pet.”
Anja Moret, 15, jumps three faultless rounds on seven-year-old Fell Capone to win the newcomers
Carron Nicol’s Foxhunter winner Galerius is unfazed by the water