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‘She’s nonetheless on the coronary heart of the operation’ says rider

  • WHEN Robyn Gray arrived at the North Yorkshire yard of Nicola Wilson last December, with the aim of gaining experience to help her compete at four-star, little did she know she would be entrusted with continuing the careers of the five-star rider’s string of super-talented young horses following Nicola’s serious accident at Badminton.

    The 31-year-old has risen to the challenge with aplomb and, to the team’s delight, brought home two red rosettes from Shelford Manor (2).

    Robyn won novice section B with Frankfort Pointllexi (Dot), a six-year-old mare who is owned by Nicola, and her husband Alistair’s parents, John and Diana Wilson.

    “Dot was bought as a four-year-old from Ireland and Nic rode and produced her until her accident,” explained Robyn. “This was only her second novice, but she is a lovely horse who always tries her best. She has now qualified for the six-year-old championship at Osberton, so that’s the aim.”

    Robyn also topped BE100 section G with the five-year-old Jack Of Clubs, who went on to win the Burghley Young Event Horse five-year-old section on 2 September. He was bred by Nicola’s mother Mary Tweddle, who still owns him. The smart gelding is out of Nicola’s former five-star mare Annie Clover.

    “I didn’t know Annie Clover when she was competing, but the girls on the yard say that Jack’s very similar,” said Robyn.

    Jack Of Clubs is also heading to Osberton, along with two other five-year-olds from the Nicola Wilson stable – Val and Ann Robson’s Beltane’s Prince Chilli, who is out of Nicola’s feisty, top-performing mare Beltane Queen, by Chilli Morning, plus Dierdre Johnston and Jane Knight’s Quintus.

    “Nic is still very much at the heart of the operation – we analyse videos of the horses’ performances together and spend a lot of time on the phone,” said Robyn. “It brings everyone such a lot of joy to have these lovely young horses go so well.”

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