Sarah Carless …
Storm Straker has been crowned the winner of the first British Eventing Gatehouse 1* League.
The North Yorkshire based rider dominated the inaugural series with her own 14-year-old gelding Well Designed with a total of 38 points won at British CCI and CIC1* events throughout the 2016 season.
The 18-year-old riders second place at the Floors Castle CIC1* in May set her up for a winning chance as they added a further six top 20 1* placings to their record.
Their campaign flourished in the final stages as the last three international events of the season, Gatcombe (2), Aske (2) and Osberton, saw the combination take fourth, first and third place respectively.
As the winner of the league Storm will received a selection of prizes from Gatehouse and training from European gold medallist Oliver Townend, along with the top five placed riders. Storm will also be presented with a winner’s trophy at the up-coming Event Horse Owners Association (EHOA) Annual Dinner and Awards Evening in London on the 7th November 2016,
Storm commented: “I was very pleased to have won the Gatehouse 1* League, it gave me something to aim for towards the end of the year, and I am excited to have a lesson with Oliver. It is extremely generous of Gatehouse to give such a great opportunity – he is an amazing rider and I have always looked up to him.”
On 24 points apiece Derbyshire’s Harriet Wright and Holly Needham from Worcestershire share second place in the league. Seventeen-year-old Harriet and her 11-year-old gelding Ngong Hills were helped along by a fourth place at the final 1* event of 2016, Aldon International (2), together with their win at the Hopetoun International CIC1* in June.
Joint runners-up 16-year-old Holly Needham and the 13-year old-gelding Strike a Pose collected their points at the Great Witchingham International (2) where they claimed the top spot and represented Wales and Borders in the National under 18 Championships at Frickley Park finishing in third place individually in the CCIJ1*.
Pony European silver medallist Saffron Cresswell, 15 from Worcestershire, and her own Cuffesgrange Little Ric finished in fourth place on 19 points with Nottinghamshire’s Lizzie Baugh, 19, and Quarry Man fifth in the league on 16 points.
Speaking on behalf of the Gatehouse brand Tracey Woods said: “We would like to congratulate Storm and all of the other riders who have made the Gatehouse 1* League such a success; we look forward to meeting our top five at their training day with Oliver. We are also grateful to British Eventing for organising what has been an exciting and close-fought competition.”
The league sees horse and rider combinations that have never ridden at 3* level accumulating points at British CIC and CCI1* events.