Three-star horses flying high at Aston-le-Walls International

Quantas R was flying high at Aston-le-Walls under Samantha Lissington (NZL), winning the 3* section A. Appropriately owned by The High Flyers syndicate, the seven-year-old German-bred gelding, by Qualito, has an impressive record this season; this was his third win out of his last four outings.

“I wasn’t really expecting that result from such a young horse,” Samantha admitted. “I really rate him, but it’s another level to take out a three-star with around 125 horses in it.

“We’ll have a couple of quiet runs now to make sure my tools work, then head to Cornbury and on to Le Lion, for which he qualified today. I’d told myself that today was just about that qualification, but sitting on a good dressage score and clear showjumping, with perfect ground conditions, well, I had to go for it.”

Less than a penalty off the pace was Piggy March and Brookfield Inocent. Brookfield Inocent won a silver medal for Piggy at the 2021 European Championships in Avenches but missed most of the 2022 season. This was his second run back as Piggy prepares him for his Burghley debut.

Millie Juleff and Donateur made up the podium with a dressage score completion. Based at Tim Cheffings yard near Tiverton where Millie is his second rider, she has only had the ride on Donateur for three weeks.

“Donateur and Victor Krum, who is running in section B, are more experienced than the other horses I have now, and I am really keen to get back on to the Young Rider European Championships team. I’m starting to get used to them now, they both went really well today.”

Laura Collett and Hester

In section B, Laura Collett stole the show with Lucy Nelson’s home-bred 12-year-old mare, Hester. The pair put in an immaculate performance to finish on their 21.1 dressage score, a first win together.

Millie Juleff was back near the top of the leaderboard with the runner-up spot on Victor Krum, who she has had for just a fortnight, boding well for her European dreams.

Third place went to William Fox-Pitt and Duke Legacy, a horse William refers to as ‘the dinosaur’. Pamela Kinslow bought the German-bred nine-year-old three years ago, and standing an impressive 17.3hh William thinks it will take another three years or so for him to start to come into his own.

“He’s a trier, and the sort that should become a five-star horse – although by then he will probably need a younger jockey! He can do it all, and he always says ‘yes’ but he’s still weak. It’s his first run back since Bicton 3* long-format, and we’ll do another 3*-long this year, not a 4*. He’s got a big stride, but it’s sometimes in one gear, although he’s improving, and is a really fun horse to train.”

Around 250 combinations contested the three-star, enjoying perfect ground and non-stop sunshine. In the four-star, with more horses to perform their dressage tests today (Saturday), Ros Canter tops the table riding Christopher and Jane Makin’s Rehy Royal Diamond. Dressage re-starts at 8.30am, and the cross country action for both the four- and one-star classes can be watched on Clip My Horse.

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