A total of 37 points stood between Sam and his closest challenger in BE’s 3* challenge, with his own Wodan III. Heading the table from the series’ opening 3* event, Burgham International in March, the 19-year-old ran away with the league never dropping from his position at the top for the entire season.
“I am delighted to have won this very prestigious award – the Fairfax Britannia League is a serious league for serious competitors, as shown by past winners and the other riders in the running this year,” commented Sam.
Calculated as a horse and rider combination Sam, a member of the UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Podium Potential squad, and the Dutch bred gelding have racked up some impressive results including four top ten 3* placings to help them to their 145 point total.
Sam added: “I have had a wonderful season contributed to by many people to all of whom I am grateful. I am hoping that the generous prizes for winning this league will enable me to have as good a season next year. I shall be working hard over the winter to achieve it. I would like to thank Wodan specifically – he has been a wonderful exciting generous horse to me and this is his prize too.”
The duo finished second at the hotly contested Bramham CCI3* under 25 adding 100 points to their league tally ensuring they kept a healthy margin between themselves and eventual second placed riders in the league, Lydia Hannon and My Royal Touch.
Twenty-seven-year-old Lydia impressed with Mrs and Mrs Christopher Harris’ 12 year old mare at the recent Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials where they were best of the Brits in the prestigious CCI3* class taking 90 points along with their top ten finish in the Chatsworth CIC3* in May to help accrue their sum of 108 points.
Completing the top three in the 3* league is 24-year-old Emily Prangnell and her own, Mrs Maxine and Mr Dennis Prangnell’s DHI Beaunesse on 103 points. On board the 10-year-old mare, Emily claimed a double of top ten 3* placings this season which included finishing in third place behind league winner Sam in the Bramham CCI3* under 25.
The Fairfax Britannia League, now in its third year, gives British riders who have never represented Great Britain at senior level (excluding Nations Cups) the opportunity to compete for an impressive prize pot of a £5,000 rider bursary fund for the leading rider, £3,000 for the second placed rider and £1,000 to third. Nigella Hall, founder of the league, also donated the owner of the leading horse with a beautiful perpetual bronze trophy.
Commenting on Sam’s win, Director of Fairfax saddles, Vanessa Fairfax; said “The Fairfax Britannia League recognises the strengths and talents of up-and-coming British riders and Sam is a worthy winner this year – he’s had an amazing season with Wodan III.”
Sam will receive his award at the Event Horse Owners Association (EHOA) Annual Dinner and Awards Evening on Monday 7th November 2016.