SHOWJUMPING - Douglas Jones claims victory at National Amateur and Veteran Championships - The Coventry Observer

SHOWJUMPING - Douglas Jones claims victory at National Amateur and Veteran Championships

Coventry Editorial 24th Nov, 2023   0

VICTORIA Douglas Jones claimed victory at the British Showjumping National Amateur and Veteran Championships at Aintree International Equestrian Centre.

Douglas Jones, who lives in Corley in Coventry, capitalised on her late draw to top the standings in the Love2Swim Mini Veteran Championship with her homebred mare Zarelli X.

And Douglas Jones took advantage of her seven-year-old mare’s huge stride to squeak home just 0.22 seconds ahead of Jassy Pyke on her Horse of the Year Show Bronze League finalist Bon Amego as some 53 competitors took on the 1m course.

Douglas Jones said: “It nearly didn’t happen. I’m getting older, not so keen on the bad weather and only doing this as a hobby now, not like my younger days with seven horses at a show.

“I dropped her down a level this week but really didn’t expect to win.

“It was all about the turns. I’d watched Jassy go as she was drawn first and it was going to be her or me as there were a lot of tight turn-backs in the jump-off.

“Katie [aka Zarelli] is 17hh but very easy to turn and I went as tight as I could, the course suited her.

“The line to the last was six holding strides so it could have easily been a long five, but I didn’t see anyone else taking the risk, so I didn’t – and I didn’t need to in the end.”

Douglas Jones bred Zarelli X, sired by Tokyo 2020 Olympian Holly Smith’s multiple winner of International classes Fruselli, out of her old grade A mare Zarco.

Douglas Jones added: “She’s nothing like her Mum, she was very laid-back. Katie is quirky and often in the warm-up, especially at a stay-away show, she’ll suddenly stop and spin, almost unseating me.

“I didn’t manage to even canter her until I reached the indoor warm-up with only eight to go as she was ready to bronc and buck outside.

“I had originally aimed to jump the 1.20m but glad I dropped her down a level and her long stride covers the ground; it definitely helped us win.

“She’s my only horse and my daughter Lucy and I trained her to be ridden and to go on to showjumping between us and, although she’s mainly mine, Lucy will compete her sometimes.

“I hadn’t been in the showjumping ring for five years and had more or less given up but as she’s homebred, she’s so special and the only one bred out of my old mare.

“Now, she’s almost grade A and won nearly £2,000. I’d like to jump a couple of 1.30m classes with her but mainly I’ll compete at a lower level and just enjoy her.”

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