James Chawkes another one down

  • 2 June 2024, 16:35

Laois man nails second four-star international class 48 hours after bagging first

Like buses through his native Abbeyleix, James Chawke waited a long time for his first international four-star triumph and after one finally arrived, the second has followed immediately after.

What’s more, Chawke has done it with a different horse overnight at the Thunderbird Show Park, securing a second major success at the Odlum Brown BC Open in Langley, Canada, this time courtesy of the Alison Locke-owned Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z.

After capturing the 1.45m speed class 48 hours earlier with Vanessa Mannix’s One Edition, the Laois native prevailed once more in the 1.45m
jump-off competition, his time of 36.61 seconds well clear of runner-up Skylar Wiseman (USA) on Coolio 23 (38.4), with another American athlete, Kaitlin Campbell third on Connecticut.

Chawke and Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z were the first of 14 combinations to navigate the course set by Irishman Colm Quinn, guaranteeing a quick jump-off.

Another to make it was Down man Conor Swail, who Chawke works with alongside the aforementioned Canadian rider Mannix in producing young horses. Swail was an obvious threat on Vital Chance de la Roque and actually had the quickest round of the jump-off, clocking 36.37 but one jumping error meant they had to settle for seventh.

Nacara van Berkenbroeck Z had posted one of the quicker clear rounds initially and when Chawke asked the 11-year-old gelding for maximum effort in the jump-off, he produced in style.

“It’s great,” said Chawke of this breakthrough event.. “My horses have been super and really consistent. That’s what’s most important.”

Nacara remains relatively unexposed despite his age and patience appears to be paying dividends, as the son of Nonstop recorded a third FEI 1.45m class from just four attempts. It was a fifth FEI triumph from nine classes in conjunction with Chawke, who has been partnering the bay for two years thanks to his wife Jacqueline being a close friend of Locke’s.

“He’s really fast, and he’s very careful,” Chawke said. “He’d never jumped 1.40m until January of this year, and since then, he’s been really good and really consistent.

“He actually has a really long break (now). I’d say he’ll maybe do one small national show before he comes back here in August.”

Meanwhile, Tipperary native, Denis Lynch and Vistogrand followed up their five-star success at St Gallen’s Longines show yesterday, by finishing sixth in the €308,600 Defender Grand Prix of Switzerland.

Martin Fuchs bagged first prize of €101,838 and had the home crowd off their seats when producing the only clear round with Commissar Pezi.

Vistogrand did extremely well in the testing conditions for his rider, given that he had won the jump-off class the previous day on ground still soggy from the rain that forced the cancellation of the Longines League of Nations.

The 11-year-old had just once fence down to add €13,887 to the kitty after a very fruitful week.


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