The third day of the championships are among the most interesting for me as they showcase emerging young talent with the preliminary rounds of the Shearwater Young Horse Championships. In both the 4 and 5 year old sections, 50% of the field was British bred. What was even more exciting was that the top four 4 year olds that went through to final judging on the Sunday, were British.
Outstanding from the start was the British Hanoverian Hawtins San Floriana. Judith Hawtin’s breeding program is really reaping the rewards as not only did she have San Floriana competing here but also her homebred dam Hawtins Floriana in the Intermediate I and Hawtins Barolo in the 5 year olds. A further Hawtins bred gelding is covered in our report on the Medium Championship. San Floriana is a lovely big quality mare with active paces and you feel there is even more to come. She is sired by the Sandro Hit son San Amour with Florestan and Weltmeyer further back.
The only other 4 year old to score over 8 points in the first round of judging was the licensed AES stallion River Rise Magic Mike bred and jointly owned by Sarah Tyler Evans and ridden by his other owner Sadie Smith. A modern type, clearly showing his Dutch heritage, the stallion was very active and forward with good jump to the canter. He is a son of the British based stallion T.Movistar who is a son of the hot but potent sire Jazz. Previously competed by Carl Hester up to small tour level he had been covering quite large books of mares so it will be interesting to see if his son proves as popular.
River Rise Magic Mike
In third place was the Lickley’s Vivaldi son Hennessy T, so another carrying the blood of Jazz. And in 4th was further Dutch sired horse with the Johnson daughter Little Tree J’Adore, bred by the Woolleys.
The 5 year old first round judging did not see such high scores as the 4 year olds. But again 50% of the field was British bred. The highest score from the first round was Mount St John’s homebred daughter of Totilas – MSJ Top Secret. Top Secret is a daughter of the Bundeschampion Deja’vu FBW and there is a younger full sister waiting in the wings. Sadly the rest of the top four at this stage were imported stock.
There were only 3 British bred 6 year olds forward out of the 10 entrants, but this included the hugely talented F.J Veryon, a previous 4 year old champion. Ridden for owner/breeder Fiona James by Paul Hayler, the big chestnut son of Vivaldi was supple across his topline with good elasticity and earned the highest score from day one. The second highest score was another British bred, this time Carl Hester’s mare Brioso II ridden by Charlotte Dujardin. The lovely mare was not presented for the final but her pedigree will be analysed in the Day Four report. The final British horse that did go through to the final four was the Blue Hors Zack x Mooiman daughter Full Fusion ridden by Hannah Moody.
The Lemieux Grand Prix was the highlight of Saturday and it was encouraging to see a number of British bred contestants in the line-up including eventual 4th and Olympic short-listed WG Rubins Nite. The 12 year old son of leading Oldenburg stallion Rubin Royal is out of a Limbo dam. Limbo was a Hanoverian son of Lanthan who stood in the UK for a number of years.
WG Rubins Nite
The TopSpec Medium Gold Championship saw 35% of the field bred in the UK, with the highest placed another representative of the fabulous Hawtins Stud. This was 5th placed Hawtins Horatio, a son of the Grand Prix stallion Hotline out of one of Judith’s foundation mares World’s Finest by the legendary Weltmeyer. Worlds Finest is also the granddam of the 4yo champion.
Also worth noting in such a strong class (that was won by the Olympic champion) was the 6th place of the pony mare Ode to Shannon. This neat little mare is a daughter of the little used stallion Washington Postman. He was a Thoroughbred who evented successfully up to intermediate level but didn’t leave that many offspring behind. Ode to Shannon represented Great Britain at the 2016 Pony Europeans.