Halo Shines Bright in Aston le Walls CCI4*-S

Piggy March and Halo. Photo by Matt Nuttall Photography.

Jayne Mcgivern’s lovely grey stallion Halo won the CCI4*S under Piggy March after jumping the second fastest cross-country round of the day at the Project Pony sponsored Aston-le-Walls on the final day of competition. Halo is a past CCI4*S Blenheim winner, and was sixth at Blenheim CCI4*L last season.

Jayne owns Dash Grange Sud, as well as past Derby winner Golden Horn. Piggy said, “I saw Halo at Osberton when Kevin McNab had just won the CCI3*L, and Kevin said he was going to castrate the horse ahead of selling him. I knew Jayne wasn’t averse to having a stallion so we suggested him to her.

“If he wasn’t a stallion he would be the nicest, easiest horse in the whole wide world, and he’s a diamond to ride. Some days he sees more ‘pretty blond girls’ than others and is a bit more of a lad since doing stud duties, but he still goes out in the field, albeit with a very high fence around it.

“Our plan is to take him back to Blenheim, it’s local to Jayne, and if that goes well, possibly Pau – but with horses, you make plan A and end up with plan D so who knows!”

Badminton 2024 runners up Lucy Latta and RCA Patron Saint were the only combination to make the optimum time – this speedy pair were also the fastest at Badminton. Irish rider Lucy finished on her 29.5 dressage score, emphasising the depth of the current Irish pool of riders.

“He’s a dolt in the stable and will roll as many times as he can in a day, but he’s a real trier and wants to do his job,” Lucy said of her horse. “I came to Aston last year and thought the cross-country was really intense, with some interesting lines so it’s a great prep run ahead of any autumn goal. Hopefully we’ll get to Burghley in September.”

Tom McEwen and MHS Brown Jack completed the top three.

Paris-bound Austin O’Connor and the Salty Syndicate’s Colorado Blue won the special ‘Olympic horses’ Advanced section. Winners of the Maryland 5 Star last autumn, the pair also finished runners up at both Thoresby and Bramham CCI4*S classes this year.

Irish team-mate Aoife Clark came closest to catching Austin, taking the runner up spot on Sportsfield Freelance while France’s Gaspard Maksud completed the podium riding Zaragoza II.

British team member Ros Canter with her European Champion and Badminton winner Lordships Graffalo finished fourth. Leading through the first two phases, Ros kept her foot off the accelerator across country, adding 18 time penalties to her score.

Riders were full of praise for the fantastic going on the cross-country – if not for the intermittent heavy downpours. It’s no surprise that Aston-le-Walls is such a popular venue.

Full results from the weekend can be found here.

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