EQUESTRIAN: Tenth for Fletcher
6:00am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Sport
THERE were rosettes aplenty for the many local riders who had qualified to compete at last week's Horse of the Year Show, held over five days at the NEC in Birmingham, writes LAURA LAMBERT.
Woolstone-based showjumper Tina Fletcher, currently ranked 11th in the country, was placed on all three of her horses, Unique IX, Promised Land and Hello Boyo, in the hotly-contested international classes.
Ahead of travelling up, Fletcher told Swindon Advertiser she did not have huge ambitions due to injury setbacks to her best horses and only recently starting to compete Hello Boyo again, but she seemed happy with how her week panned out.
“I’m pleased overall with how it went, but it was a bit of an up and down week to be honest,” she said.
“I was in the money in six classes, but I was unlucky in the Grand Prix on Sunday night having the last fence down.”
The 48-year-old made a good start to her campaign, taking fifth place in Thursday’s Grandstand Welcome Stakes on board Lady Harris and Lady Kirkham’s Hello Boyo. The 10-year-old gelding has recently been jumping on the county circuit with Fletcher’s teenage son, Will, with notable success. The recently reunited partnership continued their form with 10th place in the Dick Turpin stakes on Friday, and eighth place in Saturday’s Accumulator.
“Hello Boyo jumped well to be placed in three out of his four classes, especially considering I haven’t jumped him for a year as Will has been riding him,” she said.
Friday also saw Fletcher finish second in the Five Fence Challenge with her Hickstead Derby winner Promised Land.
However, the 18-year-old gelding, on whom she won the Hickstead Derby in 2011, had to be withdrawn from Saturday evening’s Puissance.
“I was disappointed that Promised Land wasn’t right after a funny jump at the wall in the Puissance, which meant I had to withdraw him, especially as he had been second in the masters the day before,” she said.
Unique IX, one of Fletcher’s best horses, has only recently returned to competition after recovering from an injury sustained in a Nations Cup in Aachen earlier this summer, and appeared to take a few days to recover his form.
“Unique was definitely ring rusty,” she admitted.
“He jumped badly on the first day, a bit better the next day and then jumped an immaculate round in the Grand Prix on Sunday night and just touched the last fence”.
Although that error meant she was unable to contest the top places in the Leading Showjumper of the Year class, Fletcher still finished in 10th position.
In addition to Fletcher’s success, other riders from the Swindon area put in good performances. On the first day of the show, local showjumping trainer Johnathan Bowman, from Leigh near Cirencester, took 5th place in the British Showjumping Amateur Classic on board his own chestnut gelding Marcel des Rosiers.
Graham and Tina Fletcher’s stable jockey, 19-year-old Alfie Bradstock from Letcombe Bassett, had an unlucky four faults on board their 10-year-old gelding Caicos in the Grade C Final on Sunday morning, meaning he finished just out of the prizemoney.
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