The penultimate day of the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show got underway with the 1.15m Amateur B Jump-Off class sponsored by Gatehouse where 17 combinations made it through to the deciding round.
Having enjoyed success in the Two Phase class on Friday morning, it was no surprise to see Stacey Willsone and Steady the Helm take an early lead in the Jump-Off, setting a time to beat of 38.43 seconds. Winners of the class 12 months ago, Julie Slade and Billy Go Go appeared to have done enough to take the honours once again when shaving over half a second from the target time but the final result came down to the wire. Last in to the ring, Tony Pearson and Amadeus M stopped the clock at 36.76 seconds to add a second win to his Bolesworth tally.
Bringing the curtain down on Saturday’s action in the International Arena, the Bolesworth crowds came alive to cheer on the eight pairs who came forward for the Invitational Knockout, sponsored by Mumm Champagne.
The format entails two riders and horses racing against each other in head-to-head battles over identical courses, with a coin toss determining whether riders would have the backing of the public grandstands or the ‘VIPs.’
The latter proved more successful in the first round but the second round saw all of the ‘Public’ backed riders advance to the semi final where Chloe Aston came home quicker than Joanne McGlory and a brake malfunction saw Jessica Mendoza give way to Aoife Dooley. Defending champion Aston proved her brilliance once again even though both herself and Aoife took out the Mumm’s Champagne upright in dramatic fashion.
‘I was unlucky not to win the CSI4* class this afternoon when I had the last fence down,’ said Chloe afterwards. The Knockout is an unnerving competition and with the excitement of the crowd, it can be quite difficult to get out of the box. Once you’ve done it the first time it gets a little bit easier.’
‘You just have to go as fast as you can and not worry about the other competitors.’