More than sixty starters contested the BE90 class at Merrist Wood in a last ditch bid to qualify for this weekend’s Baileys JAS Championship at Hartpury College. Despite accumulating three time penalties, 12-year-old Georgia King from Wiltshire won the class thanks to a perfect style score of just 0.1.
This is Georgia’s first season with BE, and she has now qualified Mojo IV for both the Baileys JAS and Jump Training Finals, following a second place Jump Training at Hartpury last month.
Giselle Mackinlay and Dark Spirit’s style score completion gave them second place with a mark of six, one point ahead of Susannah Egleston riding Solomons Seal.
Most combinations jumped clear, although the optimum time of seven minutes was influential. Finishing scores in this class ranged from 3.1 to 85.0.
Giselle, 16 and from Surrey, went one better in the BE100 to win, again with a clean sheet. It was a hugely competitive section, with close to seventy starters despite eight withdrawals.
Jane Bettles and Claudia Nacke’s mare Gold Rush IV were the runners up, having placed in the top 10 at all four of their JAS competitions this year and taken second place in a Baileys Jump Training JT80 section on their first outing of 2015. Jane has benefitted from training with Oliver Townend, also qualifying her own Aliano for the Grassroots Championships.
Lara Sharrock and Roxanne VII completed the top three for the BE100s, a class in which only two riders finished on their style score- the winner and 13th placed Cheryl Chamberlain riding Cardonagh Lass.
In the Novice class both Georgina Wood and Nici Wilson completed on a score of 10, but Georgina, 21, had the advantage with a better style mark, taking the win on Symmetry. The Surrey-based pair had already qualified for the Finals when finishing runners up at Bury Farm in January. Nici Wilson might have been pipped at the post, but she added third place to her second, Barry Carter’s Viktor Krum beating Nici’s own Naomi 55.
The six minute 24 second optimum time proved un-gettable for the 37 Novice starters, as it was in the Open Novice which produced a win for Australian Equine Physiotherapist and Olympic Gold Medallist [Atlanta 1996] Wendy Schaeffer, 40, riding the Akhadan-sired Sun Lover.
Flora Elliott and Ember Hill, who had already finished fourth in the Novice, then moved up the leaderboard in to second place, one point ahead of Sarah Pickard on Polo Striker, with Nici Wilson in the ribbons again, fourth on Naomi 55.
Both the Baileys Jump Training and JAS Championships take place this weekend at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire, February 21-22 respectively). Baileys sponsored event rider Ben Hobday will be giving a demo and Q&A session on the Saturday evening, aimed at helping riders at all level to understand the importance of pre-season training.
Entry to the demo for JAS and Jump Training Finalists and up to four friends and/or family members is free of charge. The evening is also open to anyone wishing to attend, with tickets costing £10 per head available on the door.