Sarah Wells-Gaston reports…

Keysoe’s third BE fixture of the season offered up a bumper three days of eventing action, with more than 700 entries and classes for all levels of competitor.

Carrie Skelton and Rammesses B topped BE100 Open Section l, in what was only their second event as a partnership. Cairo, as he is known at home, is owned by the Lancer Stud. The pair finished on their dressage score of 24.5.

Carrie told Eventing Worldwide: “I started riding full time for the stud in April, and compete several lovely horses for them as well as starting the homebred youngsters. It was my first time at Keysoe and I thought it was a fantastic event with great tracks for all levels. I was a little worried about how Cairo would find the ground after all the rain we’ve had, but he flew round with no issues – typical Irish horse, happy in the mud. It’s a real treat to ride an experienced horse like him as I spend so much time on young horses and I’m looking forward to hopefully stepping up to Novice with him by the end of the season.”

Young rider Daisy Proctor has taken over the ride on Quarry Man, who previously competed at Burghley with Lizzie Baugh. The pairing has gotten their partnership off to a cracking start, including a win in Open Novice Section N at Keysoe, finishing on their dressage score of 28.5.

Daisy told Eventing Worldwide: “I was lucky enough to bring Brad home at the end of July, and since then we have competed three times, Keyose being my third run. We have had a second in the Open Novice at Norton, second in the Open Novice Under 18 at Aston. Then to win at Keysoe was so special. We are just planning to see where things go but he is an amazing horse who always gives his all so fingers crossed for an exciting future together.”

North Astor Rossco and Joanne Brett were the winners inBE90 Open Section S on what was a fun event for her older horse. Joanne added just 1.2 time faults from the cross country to her dressage score to finish on 26.7. It was a good day for Joanne who also finished third in BE90 Section Q with her homebred North Astor Cooter.

She told Eventing Worldwide: “I had a great time at Keysoe. I went alone as a friend was going to join me there but unfortunately, she overslept so the day hadn’t started well. I evented previously and really enjoyed it but haven’t done very much in the last few years. I found Rossco as a three-year-old; we have done so much together – he is now 18 and had retired from eventing but he feels so good that I thought we should go out again and have some fun. I’m taking him to Weston Park to compete in the team challenge all being well so I had booked a few runs to see how he felt. We went to Little Downham where he did a 28 and a lovely double clear but I took it steady being his first run, but at Keysoe he was quite keen so I let him run, with his fab dressage of 25.5 and clear show jumping it secured a win. It was fantastic to see he had won we had such a great time. He is a very special horse that owes me nothing and I just want him to have some fun days out now.”

Victoria Newitt and General Tiberius were the victors in BE80(T) Section W. Victoria has owned Buddy, as he is known at home, for four years having bought him out of a point to point yard with the idea of team chasing. However, once she started working with him she realised he had a talent for dressage as well as having the jump needed for eventing.

Victoria told Eventing Worldwide: “We would have been a bit further along with our eventing career but Buddy has been plagued with numerous veterinary issues over the years and also undergoing surgery for kissing spines – the vets joke that he has a lifetime loyalty card with them. Keysoe was only our second run of the season after a ninth place finish at Solihull the week before. Buddy produced a beautiful dressage test scoring the highest mark in Section W and a new personal best of 26! He then jumped a brilliant clear showjumping and I remember going down to the cross country stunned that I would be jumping out of the start box on a score of 26 – the stuff of dreams! My long term goal is to try and qualify for Burghley grassroots next year and I knew a top six finish would mean a regional final place. I had messed up in the cross country at Solihull the weekend before by going too fast and picking up time penalties which dropped us from third to ninth and I was determined not to make the same mistake again. So I set off at what I thought was an 80 pace to realise at fence 11 that I was actually down on the clock. Buddy has a lot of pace being a full thoroughbred, but even he struggled in the ground to make up the time and we finished with time penalties. I was absolutely gutted thinking that I had messed up again only to realise that no-one was getting the time and we won the section with 5.4 penalties in hand. I still can’t quite believe it! Buddy really deserved this result after everything he has been through and I am so so proud of him. I will never find a horse like him again, he is one in a million.”

Angus Smales had a successful weekend with two victories to his name – Open Novice Section D with Mount Corbitt Storm and Open Intermediate Section G with A Bit Much. New Zealand’s Caroline Powell had the lowest winning score of the weekend, finishing on her dressage score of 19.8 with Fire Fox to top BE100 Open Section H.

Competitors will be back at Keysoe at the end of September for the venue’s fourth BE fixture, when it hosts international competition in the form of CCI2*-S and CCI3*-S classes.

Other section results: Novice Section A Piggy March, Flemingtown Ruby; Novice Section B Andrew James, Holywell Cavaliere Classic; Novice Section C Alice Hallows, Quizical Z: Intermediate Section E Helen Wirchell, MCS Maverick; Intermediate Section F Ben Way, Hullabaloo I; BE100 Section I Alexandra McAlpine, Inus PH; BE100 Section J Rebecca Jessett, Percivals Rebel; BE100 Section K Susie Berry, Jesmond Spirit; BE100 Open Under 18 Section M Charlotte Cooke, Liscannor Tulra; Novice Section O Lauren West, Valentino 46; Novice Section P Anthony Clark, Swell Touchdun; BE90 Section Q Martha Sparrow, Aubane Sheila; BE90 Section R Emily Bradshaw, Cape Cruiser; BE90 Open Under 18 Section T Lily Hill, Auld Flame; BE80(T) Section U Lily Myers, Malin Spike; BE80(T) Section V Maddy Waterman.

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