Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr had a day to remember at the Bolesworth CSI4* International as he claimed two notable victories.
He began Saturday’s action by winning the Young Horse Handicap Final for six- and seven-year-old horses, sponsored by Whitley Neill Gin, in stylish fashion on Diddo van sint Maarden.
Then he triumphed in the four-star against the clock class, sponsored by Equigrip, when Falco ven der Clehoeve clipped more than a second off the time of Ireland’s Marion Hughes after being drawn last but one to go in a class that had 63 starters, landing a prize of £6,400.
“The times were getting faster and faster, but my horse was careful enough and everything worked out,” Mathy said of his second International Arena victory that was watched by a bumper Saturday afternoon crowd.
“My horse has quite a big stride, but I tried to turn tight. I knew that I’d had a good round, but you need to look at that clock just to be sure.
“He is a very competitive horse in these kind of classes. They are the type of classes where he is most comfortable.”
The Young Horse jump-off time of 31.42 seconds thwarted the Czech Republic’s Emma Augier de Moussac’s bid for a third Bolesworth victory in 48 hours on Brighton Bay, as she finished second, with Italy’s Luca Maria Moneta third aboard Ambramarie Del Beiro.
Mathy said of his winning ride: “He is a stallion that we bought as a foal. He is owned by Team Harmony, and as a seven-year-old is still a young horse, but has a great brain, is very attentive and always listens.
“He coped well with a tight turn from fences one to two, and when I asked him again at the double, he was sharp and quick. The plan is to develop him slowly in young horse classes and let him progress steadily without pushing him.
“We based him at the Newmarket stables from three to six-year-old, and he was well educated, so had a good start.”
Hughes, meanwhile, became the latest two-time winner at the 2016 Bolesworth event when she claimed a thrilling victory in the four-star two phase competition, sponsored by Horse & Hound.
Irish challenger Hughes had already showcased the talent of Heritage HHS Fortuna by dominating a speed class on Thursday, and with time again of the essence, the pair did not disappoint.
They raced to victory in a time of 22.89 seconds, with the top four finishers separated by just 84 hundredths of a second.
Britain’s Jay Halim led the chasing pack on Abrisco, clocking 23.53, while last year’s Bolesworth Grand-Prix winner, Yazmin Pinchen, finished third on Con Chilli, with Keith Shore (Zegreanne Z) fourth and Augier de Moussac (Copia) fifth.
“I thought it would be seven strides to the second last fence in the jump-off, but she got there on course, so that was obviously key,” Hughes said.
“It was only a short jump-off course, but it was very twisting and turning, and she had a great shot to the last fence.”
Theo Simpson hailed the quality of his winning ride, Touch of Chilli, after they made their mark in the two-star grand prix, sponsored by Ashford Farm, saw 13 combinations contest the jump-off, and it was the 12-year-old chestnut mare that came out on top.
A time of 41.89 seconds meant they took the £6,400 winner’s purse in comprehensive fashion, with Anna Wilks – an experienced and successful eventer – finishing second aboard Undicci, and Ireland’s David Quigley third on EIS Isaura.
“I am over the moon,” Simpson said. “The horse has been on great form, having been second about a month ago in a two-star grand prix.
“It was a tough enough track out there, and he performed when he needed to, so I am really happy.
“I have had the horse for two years now. I got him two months before I finished my A levels, and he has been going amazingly during the past few months. We’ve really gelled.
“He’s fast, agile, and he has got the biggest heart you could ever have in a horse.”