Al Shira’aa Bolesworth Young Horse Championships, Bolesworth Castle, Cheshire
NEW champions were crowned from record entries of future stars competing in the vast international arena with its beautiful castle backdrop in the rolling Cheshire countryside.
Ronnie Jones made a triumphant return with Ruth Dowie’s Kaleche to take the Windmill Farm Estate six-year-old championship, 12 months after heading the five-year-old title. They also finished equal first in the four-year-old championship.
The initial 128 entries were reduced to 59 for the final with 14 contending the jump-off. The clear round bonus money and the opportunity to qualify for the World Breeding Championships in Lanaken, Belgium, added to the pressure and shaped riders’ tactics. It didn’t faze Ronnie and he stormed to victory by three seconds, won a share of the £4,000 bonus and is in consideration for Lanaken.
The bonus is offered in the five, six, and seven-year-olds to horses jumping clear in both qualifiers and the final. Three shared the six-year-old cash to pick up £1,334 each – Ronnie with Kaleche, Joe Trunkfield aboard RSH Deal Breaker (Action Breaker x Lux Z), and Lucy Townley on Billy Marionette (Cevin Z x Billy Congo).
The F One USA x Nassau mare Kaleche was purchased as a two-year-old by Ruth Dowie of Runningwell Sport Horses and proved a winner from the off. This year has been phenomenal, with the Windsor six-year-old title and the Big Star national six-year-old championship as well as qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) newcomers.
“She’s laid-back, easy-going, and even lazy at home – if you saw her bumbling around the school you wouldn’t think a lot of her, but she gives you a good feeling in the ring. She loves the atmosphere and rises to the occasion. When I say we need to go up 10 gears she’s ready and reliable – that’s what makes her special,” said Ronnie.
Kaleche can also be tagged as a working mum with embryo transfer foals on the ground this year and a promising two-year-old colt by Invictus.
NEW PARTNERSHIP TRIUMPH
QUALITY was evident in the 13-horse jump-off to decide the Al Shira’aa seven-year-old champion but Jack Ryan scythed two seconds off the leading time to win on brand-new ride Operette Van De Koekoek (Thunder Van De Zuuthoeve x Skippy II). Jack is a stable jockey for Shane Breen and on the Rolex young riders academy under Scott Brash.
“Shane only bought her two weeks ago and I’ve jumped her a couple of times with Scott. She’s laid-back and easy, the course was delicate but she’s super-careful,” said Jack, who was aided in the jump-off the mare’s former rider Michael Duffy, who sent him a video of the leader at that point, Trevor Breen on Jicarla T.
“I thought, ‘That’s not me,’ then realized it was Trevor’s jump-off round so I knew exactly what I had to do.”
Three claimed the seven-year-old bonus for £1,334 each – Jack on Operette, fellow Irish competitor Jessica Burke with Ashdale Divine (Luidam x Lux Z), and Graham Gillespie on Ovidius VD Donkhoeve (Zirocco Blue x Chin Chin).
The Dallamires Stables five-year-old championship was a shout for British breeding as the top four from an original 143 starters were British, Megan James claiming victory on John and Laura Renwick’s Labatt.
The Tangelo Van De Zuuthoeve x Orlando gelding bred by Devonbased Edward Bleekman was purchased on his bloodlines as the full brother to Laura’s former top ride Bintang.
“Laura’s ridden him once and said he’s unbelievably similar to ‘Bing’,” said Megan, who got the ride when she joined the Renwick’s Essex base in December. “He’s destined for the top and can jump big jumps. I don’t want her to ride him again, she’ll pinch him!”
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