Sarah Carless reports….
The competition also boasted an array of British Eventing classes which took place in superb sunshine with competitors set a true challenge over Janet Plant’s impressively designed cross country courses.
Charles Owen National Pony Championship Round up
Fifteen year old Saffron Cresswell took the 2016 title with her own 14.1hh Irish-bred gelding Cuffesgrange Little Ric. Saffron led the field from the start of the competition and finished the event on her dressage score of [emember_protected custom_msg=’This content is only available to Members, to read more of this article please Join HERE or if you are a member please LOGIN‘]36.5. Even with eight show jumping penalties, she was able to finish with a 19.9 penalty margin. Saffron and Little Ric were the only combination to complete the cross country phase clear and inside the optimum time. Saffron was a part of the British gold medal winning team at the 2015 FEI Pony European Championships, where she finished in fifth place individually, and has put herself in a good position for selection for the 2016 Europeans which will be held in Denmark.
Her season so far in 2016 has been very strong, with five top six placings including two Charles Owen Pony Trial wins.
Saffron commented: “I came to Brand Hall with the hope of winning, but to lead from the dressage phase made it quite nerve-wracking. I hadn’t made my mind up completely on the second day which route I would take through the water across country but when I got closer to the fence he was feeling so good that that I took the direct route, which I think that helped us get inside the optimum time. I really wanted to show jump clear even though I knew I had some fences in hand, so when I heard a pole go my heart sank. I am absolutely over the moon to have won and hope the next step for us will be the European Championships again.”
Eloise Bartlett finished in second with Killacoran Blue with Lauren Booth rounding out the top three with Holiday Chase.
Racesafe Equestrian Junior National Championship
Seventeen year old Chelsea Round rode her own British-bred Hanoverian gelding Fleetwood Mac V, to victory in the Racesafe Equestrian Junior Championship. Her success will have caught the British Junior Selectors’ eyes in the run up to the 2016 European Championships in Italy in September.
Chelsea looked set to take the title from the dressage phase and added no penalties to her score after jumping clear rounds in both the cross country and show jumping phases. The win at Brand Hall is the second of her wins this year in a season which has boasted four top 15 finishes.
Chelsea said: “I came here with no real expectations, so to win is a complete surprise. My main aim was to come to get experience and I wanted to get a good dressage mark since he can be inconsistent in that phase, but he felt great. To lead throughout was incredible and I’m glad all my training with Caroline Moore and the British Junior Programme has paid off. I started eventing with British Eventing at BE80(T) level with my last pony, and at that time I had no idea about the BE youth programmes. I would definitely encourage others to give it a go, I have met so many people through eventing – it’s like a family.”
Richard Coney and Kananaksis took the runner up spot with Bubby Upton finishing third with Fernhill Rock Star and fourth on Eros DHI.
Lucas Poole took victory in the CIC* WITH Bazaar Chief. The combination scored 44.5 in the dressage and added just 5.2 time penalties from the cross country, with none of the riders coming home under the optimum time to finish on 49.7. The pair are on great form having already finished tenth in the CIC* at Chatsworth International last month. Richard long took second with Versatile Des Rois with Corinne Molyneux in third – the fastest cross country with just 0.8 time penalties – in third on Tipsy Laird.
The win in the Novice regional final went to Louise Harwood and Omard Mickey Two, qualifying them for the Novice Championships which will be held at the Festival of British Eventing in August.
Other results: Novice Section D Loretta Joynson, PSH Overture; Novice Section E Andrew Heffernan, Casta Diva; Novice Section F Loretta Joynson, PSH Lawbreaker; Open Novice Section G Catherine Taylor, Lorelei; BE90 Section I Oliver Lofthouse, Amicitia; BE90 Section J Heidi Llewllyn, Duke V; BE90 Section K Lucy Robinson, Comets Cross; BE90 Section L Giovanni Mereu, Darby Day Dancer; BE90 Section M Rosie Alcorn, Finn XIII; BE90 – Section N Lynsey Chalmers, Swancote Countryman.
Photographs courtesy of Vincent Whitehead