To the delight of team captain Eleni Falla, who earlier won the Ladies’ Championship, the home side’s counting three went without fault yesterday as they opened up their team competition against Jersey at the Guernsey Horse of the Year Show.
Their rivals, however, will carry over four faults to the final round on Sunday.
Jersey started strongly with clears from Sue Le Moucheux’s Dungarvan Flyer and Hannah Davies’ Dark Jasmine.
But they suffered their first setback when Sophie Oliveira’s Mistress of the Masquerade refused initially at the seventh of 12 obstacles, soon continuing on her merry way and finishing with those four faults.
Clipping that same fence during an otherwise smooth run led to Gary Vibert and Caramini sustaining four jumping faults.
In Guernsey’s reply, Sarah Jackson’s Follyfoot Arkadia and Paullette King’s Cobrino Cruise both went clear and Kelly King’s Company Business so nearly joined them, only to suffer from an unfortunate knocked fence on the ninth.
Falla’s clear on the young Mistro I capped off a solid team performance and with only the top three performances counting, their earlier hiccup was of no consequence.
‘The rest of Team Guernsey jumped really well and it’s really good to go through on a clear round,’ Falla said before expressing her delight to be competing against Jersey again.
‘They always provide great competition. It’s nice to have the teams back as we didn’t have them last year, and it all makes for a great show, great atmosphere for spectators.’
Earlier, Falla and experienced mount Hasta La Vista II had won the Ladies’ Championship over 1.10m after coming through a run-off between three riders.
Sian Staples, who has impressed this season following a break from showjumping, had set the standard with a very fast clear in an initial round of nine combinations.
But come the decider, Falla produced a fast clear to snatch the lead from Paullette King’s Cobrino Cruise, with Staples and Chica B settling for third after picking up four faults.
‘It was really hotly-contested and it’s always better when you’ve got to go out there and give your all to win,’ Falla added.
However, the other big senior title, the Gents’ Championship, ended up in the hands of Jerseyman Vibert.
Vibert and Caramini were the only combination to go clear as Justin Ogier and Fearless Footsteps produced a fast round but, agonisingly, knocked a pole, while Richard Croft placed third on new mount Garfield ET.