The annual, Reonet, South African Championships, hosted at Shongweni Club in KwaZulu-Natal this past week, drew to a close in spectacular fashion as Nicole Horwood and her new partner, Mark White Nissan’s Capital Chantilly, with 3 foot-perfect rounds and the quickest time in the jump-off, claimed the title of South African Champion. But, this was not the only open competition of the event and so we look back at the winners of all the open grade championship classes.
The 1.30m height category was the first of the open-grade classes to decide its winner, taking place on Friday, with over 90 combinations vying for the title of 1.30m Reonet South African champion. Kevin Spratley (FEI 3*), the man with the course plans, had his track in place and the riders lined up to give it their best. With a wide array of horse and rider talent, the class was hotly contested as 27 riders produced a clear round to see them into the jump-off. With 14 double-clears at the end of it all, it was Tracy Davids riding the evergreen Blakeney Boy who claimed the R5,000 victory, while KZN local, Courtney Webber and Katherine Stainton’s Callaho Latina, in a time of 40.21 seconds, pinched the 2nd place podium from Jonathan Clarke and Morgan van’t Heike, who finished in 3rd in 40.40 seconds.
The 1.35m was the first competition of the day in the Jane Latimer arena on Saturday with 63 competitors making their way through the start beams. A testing track awaited the competitors as rails fell all over the course for the majority of the starters and by the end of the first round, only 11 horse and rider combinations managed to secure a spot in the jump-off. With several available places to drop strides, cut corners and save time, the top podium place and R16,500 was awarded to Thomas Triggol riding the quirky chestnut gelding Callaho Sancho in 38.06 seconds. 2nd place, and R10,000, went the way of Tamara Rueda and JK Callaho Liantos, very narrowly missing out on the victory in a time of 38.28, whilst the final podium and R7,500 was awarded to Ryan Walbridge riding Grant Langley’s Jupiter de Martelinville in a time of 38.71 seconds. Notably, four of the top five horses were all Callaho bred, giving credence to the notion that local breeding standards have risen higher than ever.
|Thomas Triggol and Callaho Sancho
|Tamara Rueda and JK Callaho Liantos
|Ryan Walbridge and Jupiter de Martelinville
With the 1.50 SA Championship having a qualification in place that meant only the top 30 competitors would be eligible to compete for the title, the unqualified horses would have to step down a level and compete in the 1.40m championship, which then saw 49 combinations compete for the win. With fantastic prize money up for grabs, courtesy of Reonet, the competitors had to really dig down deep and show off their best skills in order to claim victory. With 13 available prizes and 14 clears from the first round, no combination would be guaranteed a prize for minimal effort. All 3 podium position were claimed by KwaZulu-Natal riders, but it was Amy Michau, riding Oliver Bishop’s RNR Belvedere on her 18th birthday, who would prove unbeatable as she rode through the finish beams clear in a time of 32.16 seconds, securing the victory, R19,800, and the title of 1.40m Reonet South African Champion. The remaining 2 podiums were very narrowly separated with Jenna Barrow on Liberty Figo H.E. claiming 2nd in 32.88 while Colin Ferreira and Ian van Schalkwyk’s Kuda Insurance Capital Don Costello finished 3rd with a time of 33.00 seconds to cap off an exciting 1.40m jump-off.
|Amy Michau and RNR Belvedere
|Jenna Barrow and Liberty Figo H.E
|Colin Ferreira and Kuda Insurance Capital Don Costello