Stratford Hills proves a big success once more with high praise course presentation

Tom Jackson clears a fence

Tom Jackson clears a fence - Credit: Archant

In its 16th running, Stratford Hills Horse Trials, received an abundance of praise from competitors for extensive work on the ground conditions and course presentation.

Caroline Powell in action at Stratford

Caroline Powell in action at Stratford - Credit: Archant

The Novice sections were dominated by Tom Jackson, who produced a one-two finish with No Limit II and Forrest Gump 124 finishing on 24.3 and 28.7 respectively.

The young rider from Kent also took the Open Novice with Fire Fly on 30.8.

It was Izzy Taylor though, who currently ranks seventh in the world FEI rankings, who had a busy morning in Saturday’s BE100 classes, with five rides completing. As one of Britain’s leading lady riders, the back to back 3* winner from Bramham and Tattersalls, provided spectators and competitors alike a masterclass in riding five horses to their times and all bar one within the cross-country time. Star Commander II was the only one not to complete inside the time, coming home a second over, giving a good indication of the quality of the going.

Local New Zealand international rider Caroline Powell was another to have a successful weekend with a small string of young horses, with Shore To Shore finishing 4th on their 28.5 dressage in Saturday’s highly competitive BE100 Open.

Izzy Taylor in action at Stratford

Izzy Taylor in action at Stratford - Credit: Archant

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“It was a great trip to Stratford Hills, which is one of our more local events,” Caroline said.

“I rode three beautifully presented courses and it was clear that a lot of extra effort had gone into making the ground as good as it was.”

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The BE100 Open was won by local grassroots star Joanne Watts with Darc Legend, with whom she recently finished 8th in the Mitsubishi Motors Cup BE90 Championship at Badminton Horse Trials in May.

Organiser, Gillie Cranfield admitted to being, “extremely grateful for all the hard work put in by landowners and course builders as well as all the officials and volunteers without whom events like this could not happen.”

Over seeding earlier in the year by the land owners, changes to the route of the courses to preserve the going, extensive watering and repeated aerovating by David Carpenter’s team resulted in some of the best going at the event despite the prolonged hot and dry weather.

“We were really pleased with the course and the going,” Gillie added.

“The land owners had already done a large amount of work to help improve the going with further over seeding and ground work planned for this Autumn ahead of the 2019 event. The general feedback from competitors seems positive, which is a good reflection of the effort the team have put in” confirmed course builder David Carpenter.

Horse of the Year Show winner Polly Eddis, who placed 4th in the BE100 with Cashelbay JJ was quick to offer her praise for the event:

“What a fabulous event,” she said.

“The ground was really good, having a mainly very good grass cover and having been watered and aerovated, including the show jumping and dressage areas. Best of all, a great atmosphere, super stewards from the lovely man in the car park to the fence judges and to the ladies giving out the numbers. Just a really super event which could have taken more entries and deserves to be over subscribed.”

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