The five-year-old YH1* class kicked off proceedings, with the strong field jumping a 1.15m course and 18 combinations posting double clears. In the six-year-old class, set at 1.25m, just eleven managed the same feat, with Nicole Pavitt producing double clears on both Goldstar and Gianni HC.
The old adage ‘once a bridesmaid, never a bride’ proved unfounded for Polly Shaw, who won the 1.15m CSI2* class with Golden Grove AIT A after narrowly missing the win in the 1.10m class yesterday. Polly and the nine-year-old Irish mare have enjoyed success in CSIAm classes in France, winning a 1.20m class in Fontainebleu this year and a 1.25m class in Le Touqet last year.
Nici Wilson and Naomi 55 repeated their success in yesterday’s 1.20m class, winning the 1.25m CSI2*. With just Naomi to focus on this weekend, eventer Nici is enjoying her successful streak.
“She’s having a fun little holiday,” she said. “I got her to produce as a junior horse, and she evented up to Novice, but she didn’t really like it, because she was too careful. I started jumping her and she just had so much that I thought we ought to carry on! She goes hunting, too, and at home, anyone can go for a hack on her – she’s just so chilled.”
Nici and Naomi 55 will contest this class again tomorrow: can they make it a hat-trick?
The 1.35m CSI2* was ably won by Matt Sampson and new ride Renkum Centre Star, who took calculated risks to set a blistering pace in the well-subscribed class.
“He’s a good horse – he wins quite a lot of speed classes,” said Matt, who is based near Hickstead in West Sussex. “I’ve not had him long – about three months – and he’s done really well in the big classes, but you can drop him down and have fun on him, too.”
The eleven-year-old gelding was previously competed by Georgie Crumley, who produced him to CSI5* before asking Matt to take over the ride so that the horse could continue to go to competitions abroad. Since taking the reins in early September, Matt has piloted Renkum Centre Star to wins in 1.40m CSI2* classes at Oliva. They will next contest the Hartpury Showjumping Spectacular in December.
The final class of the day was the 1.45m CSI2*, which was won by Ireland’s Billy Twomey and the experienced ISH stallion Ardcolum Duke, with whom Billy has enjoyed three CSI5* wins this year, at Zurich and Antwerpen.
“He’s a really good horse for me, and wins at most shows he goes to,” explained Billy. “It all worked out really well for me in there: he was fast, careful, and looking for the win. They built the course decent enough, because there wasn’t so many double clears at the end, so it wasn’t all about speed – there was still something to jump.”
Sunday’s competition features the exciting CSI2* Grand Prix, which will showcase some of the top names in the sport of show jumping, and some of the most exciting horses in the country, too. Admission is free for spectators and the on-site café and boutique will be open throughout the day’s competition.
TOP SIX: 1.15M CSI2*
1st: Golden Grove AIT A – Polly Shaw
2nd: Mooi Merrie LS – Stephanie Gunn
3rd: Cruise King – Corinne Collins
4th: The Maharanee – Tagatha Payne
5th: Dutsy Van Het Hek – Ruby Pointer
6th: Capitol Star – Elizabeth Gray
TOP SIX: 1.25M CSI2*
1st: Naomi 55 – Nicola Wilson
2nd: Little Luidam – Chloe Winchester
3rd: Chipie B F Z – Florence Bellm
4th: Capriool – Carla Bolam
5th: Colette – Jodie Hall McAteer
6th: Billy Macbeth – Rebecca Ravilious
TOP SIX: 1.35M CSI2*
1st: Renkum Centre Star – Matt Sampson
TOP SIX: 1.45M CSI2*
1st: Ardcolum Duke – Billy Twomey
2nd: Zilverster II – Yazmin Davis
3rd: Balou Star – Millie Allen
4th: Udget du Rozel – Louise Whitaker
5th: Ruby VIII – Louise Whitaker
6th: Sussex Caretino – Phillip Miller