Posted on 25th May 2021 by Joe Lethbridge
Following the unfortunate cancellation of the much-loved Chatsworth horse trials, Nigel Taylor stepped up and the team at Aston-Le-Walls held a stand-in fixture to replace the lost international classes. Having supported the now infamous Dassett Eventing A8/9yo class for the last decade, we felt privileged and excited to be named as title sponsors of Aston’s first ever CCI4*-S class.
The competition didn’t disappoint, with some incredible results from both established combinations and emerging talents. The menacing thunderclouds were no distraction to the world-class field of over 200 combinations; after some stunning dressage tests and foot-perfect showjumping rounds it was all to play for out on the cross country. Mark Phillips designed possibly the toughest track seen at Aston, but there were some seriously impressive cross-country rounds throughout the day, leaving no margin for error at the top of the scoreboard.
Section A was headed by Laura Collett and London 52- last year’s Pau CCI5* winners, who led from start to finish to complete on their 20.5 dressage score. They were followed by Izzy Taylor and Monkeying Around (22.9) and Tom McEwen riding Toledo De Kerser (23.0).
In section B, Ros Canter and rising star Lordships Graffalo won the section on their 21.8 dressage, as a couple of seconds’ time faults dropped Piggy March and Brookfield Quality to second with 23.3. Third placed Kitty King and Cristal Fontaine finished on 24.5 with a brilliant double clear.
Unfortunately, the Covid restrictions meant it was impossible to hold the prizegiving ceremony we would all have liked, but we’d like to offer a huge congratulations to the competitors who gave us a fantastic competition.
The horse trials was also a fantastic opportunity to get the Dassett horses out, and we had several competing in the national classes. It seemed only yesterday DE boss Kate Rocher-Smith was giving birth to her new-born son Finley, but she made a spectacular return to eventing with Call Me Dassett (Casper) in the Intermediate, effortlessly jumping a 29 double clear to take home 7th place. Casper has run very lightly the last few seasons owing to the pandemic and Kate’s pregnancy, so it was brilliant to see him get straight back into competing.
Having already shown she meant business, Kate also rode Dassett Code (Smartie), owned by her sister Alice Rocher, in the Novice, and was suitably pleased with his 26 dressage and storming clear cross country. A couple of rails showjumping unfortunately nudged them out the placings, but we are excited to see Kate out competing Smartie again very soon.
On the back of his international win at Cirencester, Dassett Rock Star (Rocky) contested his first Intermediate with Amelia, and took it totally in his stride to jump double clear round the challenging tracks. The howling wind in the dressage led to a couple of spooks, and his steady, confident cross-country round gave him invaluable experience at this new level. Whilst we were obviously thrilled, this result was hardly a surprise given the scope and ability he has shown throughout his career. We have no doubt he will continue his progress to the top of the sport with ease, and can’t wait to see him at another Intermediate soon!
I wanted to finish by saying a massive thank you to Nigel and the team at Aston for putting on this event. The big international classes at the start of the year are a key part of the international calendar, and I am sure everyone was hugely grateful for the opportunity to compete. Over 200 of the world’s best combinations were in attendance, and we were honoured to put our company name to such an exciting and top-class competition.