Dior steals the show
Tom Goode and an energetic stallion go one better than 2017 to win this year’s grand prix, while Olympic eventer Alex Hua Tian’s yard has a fruitful outing
THE fierce combination of Tom Goode and star stallion Dior
III proved unstoppable with a runaway grand prix victory.
The pair finished second in the grand prix here in 2017 and returned to go one better and take the win by a margin of over 3%.
The bright chestnut, owned by Emile Faurie and Sam
Geddes, looked to be relishing the movements, showing smart changes, impressive extensions and confident piaffe and passage.
Tom, who works as head rider for Emile, was full of praise for the 10-year-old Gribaldi son whom he has produced from a youngster.
“He just loves it and was so energetic throughout,” said Tom, adding the stallion has “more to give. I know him so well that when I get on him I know what he is thinking, how he feels and how he is going to react to things.
“We have such a good bond and trust in each other and he is always so willing.”
In second were Georgia Stokes and Talented Mr Ripley, who looked perfectly in tune with each other, with just a mistake in the one-time changes in an otherwise effortlessly elegant test.
Vale View also proved a happy hunting ground for Emile, who won the hot inter II on the first day aboard his exciting young mare Café’s Caletta.
The nine-year-old former showjumper scored 73.9% to win, with Georgia and Talented Mr Ripley again in second on 70.13%.
Sarah Rao claimed inter I and prix st georges (PSG) wins and a host of placings in a successful weekend for her yard.
The 20-year-old beat a huge field of established names to win Friday’s inter I aboard Waldessarini, known as “Foxy”.
The pair produced a smooth test, featuring clean changes and floaty extensions, and were rewarded with 71.58%. This followed their win in Thursday’s PSG, in which they also broke the 70% barrier, with 70.39%.
“I’ve recently got the hang of Foxy and have been able to make him a bit sharper, whereas before I wasn’t really able to influence anything,” said Sarah, adding she has been working on using transitions and leg-yielding at home to get him in front of her leg.
“Then in the inter I he was very forward, very responsive and it was the first time I’ve had a test where I haven’t been working so hard. I felt like I could trust him.”
Sarah is based with Olympic eventer Alex Hua Tian and Alex’s partner, dressage trainer and rider Sarah Higgins. Her show wasn’t all plain sailing, however — she took a tumble on the Saturday morning, though was happily unscathed.
Sarah Higgins won the special prize for the best horse and rider combination across the PSG classes aboard one of Sarah Rao’s exciting new horses, Alfranco, who arrived five days previously.
“He hasn’t been to a show for a while, so rather than leave him at home, we thought we would bring him along and get to know him,” she explained. “It would have taken us a month at home to learn what we have in three days here.”
Alex took the yard’s class win tally to five, with three victories aboard his Rio 2016 Olympic eventer Don Geniro.
“He is very special and he probably should be trying to do a PSG if he wasn’t also an event horse,” said Alex, who won a medium and two advanced medium sections.
The 11-year-old gelding has had a quieter time recently while Alex has focused on the Asian Games, where he won individual bronze with PSH Convivial, and the World Equestrian Games, but will be out eventing next season.
“Sarah has had to do a lot of training with my horses — I’m lucky in that my horses improve while I’m away,” he laughed.
‘POWER AND BALANCE’
NIKKI BARKER and the superconsistent Dutch stallion Durable added another inter I victory to their record.
“He is a huge mover and the challenge with him isn’t the exercises, it is him being able to control all the power and balance himself through a test,” said Nikki, adding the horse has the most wonderful temperament.
“It is like having a Labrador puppy around; he is never spooky or challenging, he does his best for you all the time.”
The 17.2hh 10-year-old (by Spielberg) is co-owned by Viv Gleeve, who found him in Holland as a two-year-old, and combines competition with some light breeding duties.
“He gets to keep his balls because he knows how to behave with them,” laughed Nicky.
Durable will now head to Keysoe’s High Profile show followed by the inter I freestyle at Liverpool International between Christmas and New Year.
Julia Giner continued her successful 2018 campaign with a PSG win aboard the “gentle giant” Carbo.
The big-moving bay took exception to the patio heaters warming the judges in Thursday’s inter I, but decided they were not so frightening in the PSG the following day and won by a clear margin on 71.58%.
“He was quite hot in the warmup, so I wasn’t expecting too much and I was quite surprised with how we did,” she said.
Rebecca Swain and Bon
Jovi also improved their results day-on-day. After retiring in Thursday’s PSG due to “silly mistakes”, they won the silver section and finished eighth overall in Friday’s inter I, and then beat the gold riders to finish overall winners of Saturday’s PSG.
“He was with me and listening throughout the test and really off my leg,” said Rebecca.
Emile Faurie’s head rider TomGoode partners the Gribaldi son Dior III to grand prix victoryby a margin of more than 3%
Sarah Rao and Waldessarini beat a host of established names to take inter I andPSG victory
‘Huge mover’ Durable collects another inter I win with Nikki Barker
Julia Giner’s Carbo overcomes a hot warm-up — and an aversion to the judge-warming patio heaters — to finish top of Friday’s PSG