Easter means more than Easter eggs for many pony showjumpers and as usual, all roads led to Bury Farm for the spectacular Pony of the Year Show with prizes galore worth over £24,000. This year’s theme saw riders go ‘under the sea’ to win penguins, fish and all sorts of amazing prizes.
Super-cool and dismissing any nerves, Sienna Charles came to the fore in the feature JA Grand Prix to land the title with the sole double clear on Peter Charles MBE’s scopey nine-year-old stallion Magic Cornflakes. And to underscore her talent, the youngest of the Charles clan posted the fastest time of the class.
Eight of the eighteen starters posted first round clears, but the raised track threw up different problems against the clock, and Scarlett remained unchallenged. Faye Sutton was the next best on four faults with Robe Ruadh for second place.
A delighted Charlie Atkinson and Craig Scott’s super-consistent 16-year-old Bunbury Conquest lifted the 128cm grand prix and leading rider award in a three-pony decider. The pair – tiny tots champions at Scope Festival and winners at Liverpool’s New Year show – took the win here by 1.11 sec.
Claudia Moore headed the 138cm grand prix with her mother Katrina’s 16-year-old gelding Tullineaskey Fear Deas. Eight provided round one clears with six going forward to the final jump-off, Claudia and the 16-year-old Fear Deas posting the faster of the two treble clears to win 2.56 sec over Holly Cooper and Mr Jack Sparrow.
A triumphant Toby Dean rode the round of his life on Sam Dean’s Atlantic Hope to take the top spot of the JC Grand Prix. He took the eight-strong jump-off by storm to win by more than three seconds on the 10-year-old mare.
Noora van Bulow recorded her biggest win with the 11-year-old and Under Grand Prix with Sharifa Al-Homaizi’s 16-year-old Bellfield Benjamin. Twenty-one of the 36 starters accessed the hotly-contended jump-off, with Noora taking the win by the narrow margin of 0.06 seconds.
Emily Notman certainly seized a chance with both hands in the Talentseekers 128cm and 138cm, and her smooth jump-off round in the nine-strong decider paid off handsomely. She rode Sarah Notman’s Irish-bred 16-year-old 138cm gelding Take A Chance II to victory by 0.64 seconds.
Oliver Fletcher jumped to victory in the Children-On-Horses Grand Prix with his father Graham’s nine-year-old Quaslimodo VD Molendreef x Voltaire mare Dahar, picking up the handsome £750 first prize. From an initial entry of thirty-seven, twelve tackled the jump-off, but Oliver found the shortest route to win with 1.12 seconds in hand.
Lily Freeman-Attwood topped a nine-pony decider with her mother Emily’s scopey six-year-old Capability Brown for the five and six year-old championship. The Irish gelding has flourished under Lily since they joined forces last August, and the pair will tackle the Hickstead JC final later this year after qualifying at Bury Farm.
Rosie Atkins landed the seven-year-old title with Caroline Atkins’ Blakney Lad II. Their final round in the five-pony jump-off provided the only jump-off clear to win.
Georgie Marriott triumphantly seized the Novice Grand Prix title on her mother Liz’s 10-year-old Murthwaite Boy Blue. Twenty-one of the 39 starters provided a first round clear to make the jump-off a hot one, but Georgie made short work of the second round to win by 0.71 seconds.
Perdita Digby – winner of the Blue Chip JC/JA Championship with Kayleighs Star just a week ago – claimed another title with the Intro Grand Prix, on this occasion riding her mother Sophie’s Irish-bred eight-year-old Cullion Lass. They outpaced nineteen rivals to win by just 0.08 seconds.
The Prelim Grand Prix witnessed twenty two rivals battle against the clock for supremacy in a hotly-contended final. But Violetta Beach kept her cool to perform slick turns on Lynda Beach’s Irish-bred seen-year-old gelding Forlan to claim the winning round by the narrowest of margins – just 0.04 seconds.
Lily Morris out-jumped her rivals in the Mini Grand Prix with Julia Jones’ nine-year-old dun mare Ynys Toyah to claim a big win at this prestigious show, relegating Sarah Proudley on Real Cool Dude into second.