Moving the jog to 1.30 pm made everything just a bit more civil and meant the girls had time to plait even more beautifully than usual. Grovine de Rev is the baby of the team and it was no surprise to see him bounce down the jog strip with the ease of youth but to see the likes of 17 year old Wesko (Dash) and Ringwood Sky Boy (Ozzie) do so as well is an incredible testament to the Mere Farm prep, the attention to detail, the efforts of the whole team and also the Horse Health team at Pau, namely Dr Christiana Ober and Alice Dorman. Xavier Faer ( Hugo ) has a fair few 5 stars under his belt at 14 and he too looked tremendous. (Lead photo, credit Peter Nixon)
Needless to say our resident diva, Faerie Dianimo (Maggie May) had totally lost the plot by this morning. Not getting to run cross country followed by a night watching the boys get pampered and finally the indignity of not seeing her public at the jog got under her skin. Despite an hours grazing she then threw off her back shoes and did some Princess moves which drew the attention back to her.
The showjumping at Pau is always big and square and this year was no exception. There were some early cricket scores, a couple of surprises and a smattering of clear rounds from the proper jumpers.
Jumping out of order saw Hugo yet again act as trail blazer and he was simply amazing to post a clear in time and ramp up his 2020 record of really becoming so super reliable. He has jumped just Bicton and Cornbury OI’s ( and had a spin around Hickstead which was very much to his liking) and he went in and jumped like a pure pro and moved up another 5 places into 13th. Ozzie was next for Tim and we were all aware that despite his improvement in recent years the last time he went to Pau he scattered some 5 poles on the Sunday. Yesterday’s track was not really his type of track and neither was todays but he pulled out all the stops to just lower a single rail for eventual 14th spot behind his stablemate.
Rev was a bit of a superstar yesterday and he also tried his hardest to just drop a rail for 4 faults over by far his biggest track to date and that was good enough to move him to the head of his mates to finish up in 11th…. That’s no mean feat at your first 5 star with a world class set of horses above you.
All eyes now watched Dash and as he and Tim entered the arena we knew he had to leave all the poles in the cups to retain that spot. Talk about a bit of pressure! Tim is no stranger to it and Dash is one of the most genuine and gutsy horses on the planet and he did the job adding just a few seconds time to a superlative round.
The fairy tale would have been Dash winning but the real fairy tale is that Dash made it back to the podium at 5 star at all. Two years out with injury, thwarted in his attempts to make it to Rio and Tokyo Olympics, hampered throughout 2020 by Covid 19 smashing everyones plans into the Midwest and a rider who declared back in the summer that Dash deserved another 5 star shot and he was taking him back to Pau. Good shout Tim, great kudos to the team at Mere and thanks to the Windrush Foundation for their continued support of their greatest asset.
So that’s a wrap for the weirdest season ever. Plans for Madrid 3*S and Le Pouget 4*S were scuppered on Friday when Le Pouget threw in the towel in the face of rising French curfews and lockdowns so the team will travel back up to Lignieres tomorrow, pick up the two gilrs and 7 horses from there and head back to the UK for Wednesday arrival. The Pau horses left tonight with Rev on Laura Colletts’s winning truck and (a furious!) Maggie May, Dash, Ozzie and Hugo on Tom McEwen’s truck with Jess Wilson in charge of them. Toledo de Kerser is no doubt being entertained by tales of the three 5 star winners and wil be heartily sick of them all by the time he gets back to Gatcombe Park!