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1st, Blue Rondo (IRE), by Hernando, out of Blueberry Walk. Owned and ridden by Sara Neachell of Aldridge, West Midlands
2nd, Stealth Project, by Elmaamul (USA), out of Guardee. Owned by Baileys Horse Feeds and Lynn Russell and ridden by Lynn Russell of Dunsfold, Surrey


The 2011 South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship qualifiers continued at Bury Farm Equestrian Centre, Bedfordshire on 5th June, where a strong entry competed for a coveted place at The Horse of the Year Show finals, held at the NEC Birmingham in October.

With 23 entries, this class was split for conformation judge Joan Lewis and ride, judge Ian Smeeth, assisted by Mathew Maher Burns, and the top 3 from each section came back for the final judging.
First place went to Sara Neachell’s Blue Rondo (Ire). The 2010 finalists have been busy so far this year, having won at the Area 8 show to qualify for the RoR RIHS championships at Hickstead, qualified for RIHS in open Riding Horse class, and stood champion Riding horse at Staffordshire county. “We just played around in the winter, doing a bit of jumping. We definitely plan to do more show classes before HOYS”, said Sara. Blue Rondo (IRE), an 11 year old, by Hernando (FR) out of Blueberry Walk, was in training with Ian Williams. He ran 9 times as a 2, 3 and 4 year old, mainly on the all-weather and once over hurdles, without success. Sara bought him from Jo Bates in 2009 and this is her second season showing.

Second place went to Baileys Horse Feeds’ Stealth Project, ridden by Lynn Russell. “I bought him from Ascot sales last November and he has done nothing. Retraining him has not been easy and is taking time. He spent a year in a snaffle because would not accept a curb rein”, explained Lynn. “We did a racehorse challenge class last year and he can jump, but since then we have done nothing except go to a few shows to hack around and get used to travelling. He is very sharp. This the first proper class he has done and I am very pleased with the way he coped. We will be doing lots more of the same before HOYS and might do some novice small riding horse classes”, said Lynn.

“It is beautiful to see such quality – this was a really strong class of very educated horses. It was hard to pick from the top 6 as they all rode like open show horses”, said ride judge, Ian Smeeth.

“A very strong class and the standard is improving all the time. I was very pleased with the two that qualified”, said conformation judge, Joan Lewis.