Amateur riders from across the country took centre stage at Badminton as they contested the Mitsubishi Motors Cup.
In the BE100, Katie Hancock lead from pillar to post whilst Sophie Walker took the BE90 title.
Katie Hancock, who travelled up from Cornwall, rode her own Kilcandra Rambo Ray to take a 7.8 penalty victory finishing on their dressage score of 24 penalties. The pair qualified for the championships at the regional final held at Bricky Horse Trials.
Katie, who is a Safety Manager for a Recruitment Agency, and her full Irish Draft, affectionately known as Reilly, remained at the top of the leaderboard following a clear show jumping round over Paul Connor’s influential course. Unlike several combinations, Katie and 10 year old ‘Reilly’ relished in the challenge set out by Cross Country Course Designer James Willis’ to come home clear inside the time.
Afterwards she said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic to win, I’m still shaking and trying to come to terms with it – it really hasn’t sunk in yet. I came here last year and it didn’t go to plan at all so this year I just wanted to ride without pressure and enjoy myself. My horse was an absolute superstar, he was unbelievable.”
Stephanie Waite from the West Midlands took the runner up spot in the BE100 with her own 13 year old Irish gelding Stay In Touch – a horse she bought as a four year old. After producing a 31.4 penalty dressage score the livery yard manager stayed penalty free in the show jumping phase before going on to complete the cross country course clear just one second over the optimum time to pick up 0.4 time penalties.
She commented: “He has had a good season so far, and last year. I was a bit disappointed with my dressage score – he just went tense on me. I felt the pressure was off and I could just relax today and jump. The horse had a lot of time off through injury so we’re happy to keep him at BE100 level. He loves it.”
Local rider Zoe Davison, who is also a modern pentathlete, finished in third place on board her own Cavaliers Back to Black. The pair scored 27.6 penalties in the dressage but added four penalties to their score in the show jumping. They finished the cross country course without jumping penalties but were two seconds too fast on the clock to collect 0.8 time faults to give them a completing score of 32.4 penalties.
She said: “We’ve had a brilliant preparation up to this – I was very confident before cross country – she is an absolute machine. She was brilliant.”
Shropshire based Sophie Walker claimed the BE90 title on board her own Rhapsody RFW after qualifying at the regional final held at Bold Heath Horse Trials. A dressage score of 24.8 penalties put the combination in contention for a good placing. Sophie, who has recently returned from three months travelling around Asia and Australia, and her 10 year old mare held their nerve to come home with a clear sheet from both the show jumping and cross country phases to take victory.
She said: “I only arrived home five weeks ago, it’s been a big team effort to keep her going. She was a pure dressage mare and used to jump like a racehorse but she flew around here, she was amazing. The support of everybody has just been amazing.”
Second place went to Jessie Vanassche from the Isle of Wight, riding her own Da Vinci II. Jessie and her 13 year old gelding finished on their impressive dressage score of 25.3 penalties to secure the runner up spot
Afterwards she said: “I bought the horse a year ago and my aim was to qualify for Badminton, but I didn’t expect it this year at all. He was a pure dressage horse. When I tried him I kicked him over a cross pole and thought that’s it we can do it. I just fell in love with him. I can only thank my trainers that we are here today.”
Emily Taggart and Solo XII took third position, having been the leaders after dressage with 22.6 penalties. However, two time penalties from the cross country for going too fast cost them them the class win.
She commented: “For this horse it’s great to qualify and this year has been all about Badminton. He’s always really good on the flat but he was totally focussed. I couldn’t have asked for him to day any better.”
Thanks to the increased support from Mitsubishi Motors, winners of the event this year will receive a new vehicle of their choice for a year from the Mitsubishi Motors range, along with a cheque for £600, trophy and commemorative plaque to keep. Other support includes the use of VIP facilities at the finals, access to professional advice and equipment, and branded merchandise.
Winner of the Keep Kicking On Trophy, the most successful rider over 40 years of age went to Nicolas Bevan from Nether Whitacre, West Midlands, in the BE100. Nick, 51, rode his own Boleiro N to seventh place in the BE100 section with a completing score of 33.1 penalties. In the BE90 fourth placed Karon Carson picked up the Keep Kicking on Trophy with her own Finding Nico. The 43 year old had a great weekend adding nothing to her 25.9 penalty dressage score to finish just 0.5 penalties outside of the top three.
Photographs courtesy of Lorraine Porter and TB Photographic
Top 3 BE90
Top 3 BE100
BE90 Cross Country
BE100 Cross Country