A day out for Tim on his own as he took a bunch of up and coming babies out for their first start of the year. Well, not quite on his own as he had loyal staff with him and he happened upon one of the first days of spring in 2023. Its been a long time coming this year and the sun did shine but it was minus 2 at 6 am so we are a way behind last year’s pre Badminton heatwave.

Nothing like running 5 advanced horses on Saturday to sitting on a bunch of first timers to hone your skills as a horseman the week before the big one. Luckily they are a super group of youngsters and Calmsden managed to provide good enough ground and a super track for the crew.

Priorspark Roya Riff-Raff (Raffi) is a big young lad and he managed to coordinate his long limbs in a 20 x 40 arena for a very credible 27 and added a double clear to that with just a couple of time penalties. The Highlander (Ivar) is in his second season now and he has all the boxes ticked for this eventing game and came out like a pro! A 29 double clear kicked his season off nicely and Tim was very happy with him.

Dromgurrihy Gold (Dara) spent the last couple of seasons with Jonelle but as he prepares to step up a grade this year his long legs led him to Tim’s side of the yard. It was Tim’s first start on him and they popped out a 30 dressage and a steady double clear to get to know each other in competition mode. I think it’s fair to say Jonelle has done a lovely job!

Star of the day was Gloire de Marchenval (Louis) who is certainly named in the fashion of a French nobleman and you could see him as a Marquis, strutting around his chateau. He dabbled a bit in France last year having a couple of starts, joined the Sunshine Tour with Tim this year and started his eventing career in the UK with aplomb with a win. A 23 dressage was good enough to lead what was actually a 100 Open class and he added nothing to it for a clean sheet to finish on and Tim’s first win of the season!

I’m pretty sure that the last Team Price horse to win on debut was Wesko (Dash) back in 2011. The Price babies really are just that and they tend to learn on the job. Dash had the benefit of a couple of years of jumping under his belt, Louis certainly benefited from his Sunshine Tour experience and since he steps up to novice at Cirencester this weekend it’s good that his confidence is on the high side!

Below: Louis enjoys the spring grass, credit Rachel Good