EVENT REPORTS – Keysoe (2)

Event reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners

Laura Phipps reports…

Keysoe were hosting their second event of the season with classes ranging from BE80 to Open Novice.

We’ve all heard the saying ‘you wait ages for a bus and then three come along at once’. Similar sentiments apply to BE90 Section N winner Catherine Shine – but in this instance they are not buses but rosettes, 5 to be exact. “ I haven’t won a rosette in a long time but in the last two weeks I have won 5 and had a win, which is so exciting” exclaimed Catherine. This proverbial purple patch has been made ‘all the more special’ as it is courtesy of 3 homebred mares, whom Catherine has produced herself. Her mount here was Saffron Mill, a 6yo mare by the revered Mill Law; Catherine also has a full sister, Opium Mill and a half sister Fleur De Lis, all out of a French TB mare she evented to Novice, at home and hopes to run them at Little Downham at 100 level next. Keysoe was ‘Saffy’s’ 3rd BE outing and the pair produced their best dressage score of 30.3 and sealed the win with a double clear to complete ahead of Edie Campbell and Filemon on 30.8. Saffy revels in making Catherine work hard for her ‘corn’ or more appropriately, the win as she commented “Saffy has a super bold attitude but can be very sharp and likes to keep my on my toes. I feel she is ready for 100s now.”

A rider was winning BE for the first time since 2012. Lest us we be fools in assuming this was a lucky win, as the gap in between is chock full of achievements any rider would be proud of. Annie Ho and Baxo ‘go back’. They were racking up numerous placings up to CCI* level and won a team bronze medal at the 2014 Asian Games. However, there it appeared the pages ceased to be written and their book closed as Annie explains “I had Baxo for a number of years but then the owner moved him to another rider and I only got him back last year. He then got an injury which meant he had most of last year off.” In 2017 their choppy ride found smooth sailing; a 2nd place in CIC* at Chatsworth preludes their win here in Open Novice Section D. But they like to write drama. “I’ve been 2nd on several occasions this season and I thought it was going to happen again here as I had the last fence down SJ” said Annie. Helen Witchell played heroine in the story as her 1.6TF XC handed Annie the win on a score of 30.8. Annie, who was born in Hong Kong and moved to the UK aged 5, is sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and is part of the programme that receives coaching by Nick Burton and Corinne Bracken. Annie used Keysoe as a prep run for Brightling next week, where the pair will continue to write their story by competing in their first 2*.

The international roll of honour was added to by Claire Giraudmaillet, winner of Novice Section N. Claire, a French National, has been in the UK since September 2016 and juggles eventing with studying a double degree in Aerospace Materials. Her mount responsible for sending her orbiting to 1st place was Very Queen, an 8yo mare by Figaro De Baugy, whom Claire purchased from her trainers in France at the end of her 5yo year. “We had technical issues though” remarks Claire, alluding to the fact she has been moving around due to her studies. Claire has now settled in Milton Keynes with Lucinda Huzzey, thanks to landing a 2 year graduate scheme with Nissan. Claire speaks of Lucinda in glowing terms commenting “Lucy’s help is precious to me. She has an outstanding professional eye and I have definitely progressed a lot since i arrived.” Reflecting on her win here, which came courtesy of a 28.3 double clear, Claire said “I am so happy for my win, especially as I completed inside the time XC – this is one of the most difficult things for Queenie; I have to focus a lot on her canter work but she is progressing and feels so much more confident.” Many riders shut up shop and set up camp in the UK to tour the circuit and it appears Claire has very much got a taste of why as she exclaims “I have to say that events in the UK are amazing – always really well organised and prepared with a lot of care. It is luxurious for both horses and riders!”

Imogen Gloag, not content with just a win, also filled the runner up spot in BE100 Open Section I. She led from the outset aboard Kalico closely pushed all the way by Woodend Scooter. Imogen describes both horses as ‘exciting new rides this season.’ Certainly, Imogen’s aims for the pair reflect this; “I’ve spent the Spring getting to know them and they’ll both move up a level in the next couple of runs with the aim of a 3 day in the Autumn” commented Imogen. Kalico, a 9yo by Calico, was gaining his first BE win in his first season. A 28.3 dressage mark saw them top the leaderboard throughout. Woodend Scooter, a 10yo by Kings Master, has a lot more experience, having been competing BE since 2013 and here he produced a 29.8 dressage and only added 1.2 XCT.  The pairs comparative experience is contrasting and it seems they are also contrasting rides as Imogen told Eventing Worldwide “they’re very different to ride – Kalico is a very talented, big, rangy horse and Scooter is a little horse with loads of ability and a huge character. I’m really grateful to their owners for letting me ride them and am really looking forward to both their futures.”

Another rider who mopped up the spoils was Owen Cooper who won BE100 Section K and had 4 other mounts in the top ten in their respective classes. His winner was Pembrooke II, a 5yo by Dick Z owned by Mary Gopsill. Owen, who is based at Swalcliffe and has a competition yard of event and dressage horses told Eventing Worldwide “we found him in the winter and instantly knew we had to have him! I love riding him. We will do some BYEH and 5yo BE100’s, then he will have a rest and come out next year to do some Novices when he is stronger.”

From one rider who had previously had the feeling of a win, to one who was experiencing that feeling for the first time. Emily Cariad Nichol achieved the feat in Novice Section C aboard Annaghmore Boomlander, a 9yo by Annaghmore Boomerang; they led the section from flag fall on a dressage mark of 26.5, which even afforded a fence down and still win by over 2 penalties. Emily commented on her Facebook page: ‘We started the day with a beautiful dressage test – the judge’s exact words were ‘super test, lovely partnership and a pleasure to watch’ – we even gained our first 9! Showjumping – Lander was a bit lazy coming out of one of the doubles to have the second part but apart from that it was a great round. Onto XC – lots of people were saying that the course was much harder than it has ever been with many walking home. Lander felt the best he has ever felt though for a fantastic clear. Words cant describe how proud I was of him as he felt incredible all day.” It feels right to leave the last comment to praising the event – “A big thanks to Keysoe for aerating the XC course and adding a layer of wood chipping over the ground which was very good’ said Emily. 

Other winners:


Section Q: Helena Vardag-Walters & Noble Nuteller

Section R: Samantha Gray & Homeleigh Wildchild


Section E: Frances Berry & Fast Forward II

Section F : Paul Gaff & Chacco Boom

Section O: Alyson Parker & Jollie II

BE90 Open Section P: Virginia Turnbull & Hallowberry Hi Fi


Section G: Paul Gaff & Gift O The Gab

Section H: Hayley Crofts & Ard Killua II

Section J: Caroline Powell & Shannondale Inca

Section L: Georgina Clarke & Carrick Honey Queen

BE100 Open Section M: Natasha Goody & Jakke Van Het Bergeneinde

Novice Section B: Harriet Beaumont & Annaghmore Bonita

Photographs courtesy of Sally wright 

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