The good thing about going to Tattersalls in Ireland is that you can take a whole heap of horses as they run every class under the sun. Hell, if you have a pony you can find a small child and take them along too! So the ferry over was packed with riders with 1, 2 and 3 star horses and Sammi rocks up to the ferry at Holyhead with her shiny new rig and a total of ... 1 horse. And not just 1 horse but a CCI 1 star horse to boot!
There is a method behind this apparent madness. The horse is question is the hugely talented 7 year old The Kincooley Ceili (William) and the aim is Le Lion D'Angers young horse Championships at the end of this year so a qualifying run in a CCI was not only required but conditional. The age classes are hugely competitive and sometimes it is easier to win a one star that is not an age class as its not choc a bloc full of professionals! The other reasoning was that Bramham CCI 3 star is next week and by removing Sammi from the stables she simply cannot cross country school every second day and jump and flat the ponies on the others. Sammi had organised her flat trainer, Alex Franklin, to go and ride the Bramham boys on Wednesday so that means they would have had a rather less relaxed week than they were probably hoping for! The Court Jester is a kindly horse but Hunter Valley ( Gizmo) is a bit put out that he has not actually managed to drop Alex yet. I am sure that the day will come but it wasn't this week!
Anyway, back to Tatts. The weather in the UK has been pretty awesome this week and I was glad to see everyone at Tatts sporting coats and hats. There is nothing worse than being stuck at home and watching everyone in glorious sunshine. I am sure Ed Birch agrees with me. William did his dressage and found himself a tad off the pace with a 50 as the judges didn't really like his walk or his attitude! He is a big, gangly young boy and his balance will come but he certainly was not rewarded for his fabulous movement which was a shame. It was a pretty big class with well over 50 starters and lying in 21st after the dressage is fairly unusual for Sammi,
So began the climb up the leaderboard. A fabulous clear inside the time cross country elevated them a whopping ...2 places which was hardly helpful. Turns out all the classy young horses pretty much galloped round inside the time. So the jog... yup, they are all young horses so no problems there.
Then the Showjumping. Years (and years!) ago Wayne Roycroft told me that Sammi McCleod ( as she was then) had the best eye for a stride in the whole of the Australian eventing team and that was back in the Jerez WEG days. Sammi has a brilliant record over the coloured poles and today thanks to her ride and Williams's ability they shot from 19th into the top 12 with a clear round.
Job done, box ticked and the team are on their way home tonight. Jude and Lyndon McCleod are with them and I cant wait to catch up with them. My only worry is that the hotel for Bramham i have booked them is a distinctly ordinary 3 star sales rep kind of hotel as when it was booked back in November I forgot that Jude may be attending. Lyndon and I are both bemused as to how Jude will cope but since the other option is to bunk in with Jester's intrepid owners who have booked caravans in the lorry park I cant see that appealing either!