First place went to Jo Bates, riding Sophie Tranter’s elegant bay gelding, Bang on Trend. Sophie, from Monmouthshire, has had the 11-year-old gelding for 4 years, and originally bought him to race herself. He had previously raced in Ireland, and Sophie won a maiden point-to-point on him before her cousin, Sam Parry, took over the ride and started to show him last season. He showed a bit of promise, and after meeting Jo, they decided to send him to her for a month to see what she could do. The pair stood 3rd in the qualifier at Stretcholt, just missing the qualifying places, and came back today for another try.
“He is such a lovely horse,” says Jo. “I’m delighted that Sophie asked me to bring him back here today!”
Sara Thorman’s Amalric clinched second place with Sarah Gwilliam. Sara had the horse to break and school for National Hunt racing and he was sold to Aiden Murphy to be trained by his wife, Anabelle.
“But he didn’t like racing very much, so Aiden asked me if I would like to have him back to do something else,” explains Sara. This is his second season showing, and Sara rode him herself last year. “He proved to have some promise and I gave Sarah the ride,” she says. The pair have enjoyed success to date, finishing second at Hickstead last week.
“It is fantastic to get through. At the moment I can’t quite believe it. He is only a nine-year-old and he will improve,” says Sarah. He will be aimed at more ex-racehorse classes and may go on to Riding Horse classes.
“We might try a side-saddle on him and do some ladies’ classes as I am sure he would carry it. I love him to bits and he will have a home forever with me,” says a delighted Sara.
1st Bang on Trend, owned by Sophie Tranter and ridden by Jo Bates
2nd Amalric, owned by Sara Thorman and ridden by Sarah Gwilliam
3rd Clonard Lad, owned by Rebecca O’Neill and ridden by Paul Langrick
4th Grey Topper, owned by Lucy Barlow and ridden by Claire Oliver
5th Rockley Beach, owned and ridden by Mark Young
6th Buckingham Boys, owned and ridden by Clare Poole