One of Tim and Jonelle’s favourite events and the laid back atmosphere with some French sunshine thrown in is always welcome as the season begins to draw to a close. Jonelle just has Grovine de Reve for the ERM while Tim is pretty busy with Wesko (Dash) and Lime Rickey in the CI3*L, Spartaco (Sparty) in the CI4*S and Ascona M ( Ava) in the ERM.
A breadth of experience apart with Tim’s 3* rides! Rickey is stepping up to the level this season and Dash is stepping down a couple of levels to run his first long format since 2015 in preparation for the 5* at Pau at the end of the month. Rickey put his best foot forward in the arena for a 31.4 which was a great effort and put him well inside the top third of a huge class of 78 starters. Topping the leaderboard are, unsurprisingly, old advocates Fischerrocana and Dash with Michi Jung just 0.5 marks ahead of Tim on 20.2. These two horses have sparred in Kentucky, Pau and various other stages around the world and they simply seem to get better with age!
Also in the CI3*L is Centennial (Chase) with Tayla Mason who gets to leave the home base and actually go to an event abroad. A score of 34.9 puts them just above midfield and plenty of potential to start climbing the scoreboard.
Sparty is stepping up to CI4*S this season and with his “surfy dude” outlook on life is always a pleasure to have at an event. He is unfazed by pretty much everything and always has a smile on his pretty boy face. He might be green but a score of 31.4 in a hot section was a just reward for his generous attitude.
Jonelle has been pleased all week with the way that Rev has been going but today dawned cool and distinctly breezy to say the least and the sharp side of Rev showed through when he span around as he circuited the arena by the judges boxes and nearly deposited Jonelle on the deck! He is a combination of sharp and slightly lazy which is not the easiest to ride but Jonelle wisely took her time and the judges were generous enough to give her a bit more time before they rang the bell. A super tactful ride ensued and Rev rose to the occasion with a personal best at 4* to score 28.4.
“Extreme” is Tim’s description of Ava and it is a very accurate one. She is beautiful, talented, has stunning paces and scope but she is also a bit like a rock star on the loose in tinsel town having slipped the minders. There is allot of compromise in Tim’s approach to riding her and some things are simply on her terms.. like the first halt. Canter down the centre line, halt and bang, snatch the reins out of Tim’s hands and stare imperiously up and at her crowd. “Go on”, she seems to say, “Correct that and see what happens!”. Tim lets it slide and she moves off in a stunning collected trot looking as relaxed as can be. Tim covers up the tension until the rein back where for a second it looks like Ava isn’t going to before she suddenly shoots backwards in a complete overreaction to the aid. And then some spectacular canter work to finish up on a score of 27.4.
Everyone looked wrapped up in coats and scarves this morning but Tim was sweating when he got off Ava! As he commented this is very much a work in progress for Pau and he is happy to get through the test when Ava is this feisty and fit and very much looking forward to the jumping phases.
Tim sits in 6th and Jonelle in 9th in the small but exclusive field. The finale to the season sees the jumping phases tomorrow and it will be a proper battle to the finish line with plenty of excitement still to come.