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

Horse & Hound - - Dressage - By LUCY EL­DER

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

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