BRITISH youngster Chloe Aston is proving to be unstoppable in the Mediterranean Equestrian Tour after netting yet another win today at the international tournament in Oliva Nova.
Still only 17 and already giving veteran showjumpers three times her age a run for their money, the teenager snaffled her first victory in a Diamond 3 Open today on the spirited bay mare Kolibri Classic.
A time of 64.22 seconds – just 0.51 seconds ahead of Ireland's Peter Charles on Murka's Odie de Frève – Aston was one of just 13 out of 117 competitors who managed a clear round on the tough course, where the fences stand at 1.5 metres (five feet) high.
Fence number four, a formidable parallel bar straight after the challenging double for number three, proved to be the downfall – literally – for many competitors, with most giving it a resounding knock even where they failed to bring it down.
The Diamond series – international classes featuring top riders – are the most challenging of the competition, numbered 1, 2 and 3 according to difficulty.
Olympic hopefuls for London 2012 are competing in the Diamond 3 classes in a bid to net Rolex points and secure their place on their countries' teams.
Prizes were awarded to 23rd place and no other UK rider managed to get in the money, although Spain's Jesús Garmendia took 11th prize on Calvaros Konzert.
Spanish riders fared better in the Diamond 2 class, with 'golden girl' Diana Marsa scooping up yet another win in the latter on Crusella, whilst the UK shone again in the Diamond 1 with Chloe Aston taking second on Château de Brion Quainton and Andrew Davies coming third on Wonderful Melody. The class was won by México's Santiago Lambre on Curant.
The Premium 1, 2 and 3 classes – international opens at a lower level than the Diamonds, effectively a springboard for younger horses and up-and-coming young world-class riders – feature fences ranging from 1.2 metres (four feet) in level 1 up to 1.4 metres (4'8”) in level 3 – the latter of which was won today by the UK's Pippa Allen on Rashmo, with second place going to Spain's Adolfo Tamamés Yraola on Oxana de la Chave and third to Belgium's Pieter Dejager on Lady Sparkle, whilst Spain's Belén Serratosa on Nidor du Parc.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays see the Premium and Diamond classes, whilst Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday feature young horse classes, for mounts of five, six and seven years old.
Tomorrow (Sunday) sees the first-ever Grand Prix Diamond and Grand Prix Premium classes of the tournament, featuring the crème de la crème of world showjumping.
Photos: (1) Chloe Aston on Kolibri Classic receiving her trophy for the Diamond 3 class; (2) Santiago Lambre on Curant, winner of Diamond 1; (3) Diana Marsa on Crusella, first placed in the Diamond 2; (4) Belén Serratosa on Nidor du Parc, fourth placed in the Premium 3.