Tom adds success at Bicton Arena's championship show to previous victories on Darc Glory
Tom Dunn topped off a tremendous run on his mother Susie's seven-year-old gelding Darc Glory with a victory in the 1.25m open final at Bicton Arena's championship show.
This on-form pair have produced a series of impressive results over the past few weeks winning the prestigious Jackie Blackler Memorial Cup at Redpost, the 1.20m and 1.30m classes at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show and have reached the top three in major classes at Mid Somerset.
"He's won £1,000 in four shows and I can't fault him," said Tom, who juggles a full-time career with Stobart Biomass; AW Jenkins & Forest Products; Chipmunk SW Ltd and SW Wood Products with competing.
"I'm flat out with my work and showjumping is purely my hobby," said the Taunton-based rider. "Although it takes a lot of commitment to combine my job with riding the horses, I'm enjoying the sport even more particularly now it's low key for me and it's great to be back based in the area. My wife Alex has recently got a permit at West Buckland to train point-to-pointers and with her string of nice horses and the home-breds we have at home there's a lot to look forward to."
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Bred by Tom's mother Susie, Darc Glory is by Caretino Glory out of the family's grade A mare Darcline.
"This horse has really grown up over the past few months and it's brilliant to have Tom back enjoying the sport and riding my home-bred horses," said Susie.
Fourteen reached the barrage of this hotly contested championship and Tom was determined to make the most of final draw.
"I watched Andrew Davies and Matthew Broome pile on the pressure with quick rounds and realised I'd have to go flat out to beat them," said Tom, who also secured second place in the Grade C championship with Darc Glory behind Andrew Davies. "Steve Williams had whacked up the fences in the jump-off and it was pretty serious. I kept moving and used Darc Glory's natural pace and luckily this paid off."
Kayla Setford highlighted her successful transition from ponies to horses with a win in the novice championship on her five-year-old mare Caia Balia.
Acquired by Kayla's parents Karen and Tony, as a raw four-year-old from Adam Ellery, this 16.1hh Dutch warmblood mare is being carefully produced by her young rider.
"It's taken time and patience but we've started to get it together and I couldn't be more pleased with her," said the 14-year-old of Redruth, who is a pupil at the Pool Academy. "I've come back from a week's training with Justin Tuff and we focused on getting Caia's canter up a gear. Winning this championship has given me a boost and confidence to aim for next year's Young Horse qualifiers."
In a very short time, Naomi Cottrell has forged a super partnership with her new pony Ping Pong and the pair entered the limelight with a victory in the novice pony championship.
"We've only had Ping since April and I've already created a strong bond with this amazing pony and I love her to bits," said the 12-year-old of Kerswell, Cullompton. Naomi receives enormous help from her mother Michelle, both with training at home and advice at shows.
"It was a tough class and with 16 through to the jump off I knew I would have to go all out for a win," she said. "Ping answered every question I asked of her and I just couldn't believe it when I won. Mum is my main trainer but I'm also a member of the Devon Area Junior Academy and attend training sessions with our coach Mandy Frost, which has really helped with our partnership."
Chloe Reynolds pulled off a win in the open pony championship on her six-year-old prospect Speculate. "Speculate is still only a novice and I didn't expect her to be able to turn and jump the way she did," said the 14-year-old, who lives at Winsham in Somerset.
"There was seven of us in the jump-off and I'd already gone into third place with my more experienced pony Money Spider. Chloe Jarman had set an incredibly fast time and mum [Michelle] told me that this would be unbeatable and to go for a double clear round."
Chloe had her own ideas and with her sight set on winning a Bicton championship rug she set sail on Speculate. "I wasn't going to settle for second and Speculate was just fantastic for me and tried her heart out," said Chloe. "I'd like to thank mum who helps me with training all my ponies. My mare is on form at the moment and she recently won the Area 48 (Somerset) Open Championship."
The next three-day fixture takes place on September 14-16.