Sarah Carless reports….

Weston Park is always a popular end of season fixture on the British Eventing calendar. More than 500 entries were received for the action-packed weekend with David and Catherine Witt of Rookery Park Stud being the title sponsors for the event once again.

One of the feature classes was the Blue Chip Central North West BE80(T) Challenge, which was designed to enhance the education of the BE80(T) competitor, attracting new competitors to British Eventing and providing grassroots within the region an exciting end to their season. The final proved to be so popular, organisers split the competition into two sections with Blue Chip Feed providing a year’s sponsorship to the winner of each section.

Janine Paterson and Willoway Amigo were the winners of the final in Section G, having qualified at Solihull.The pair were of only four to finish on his dressage score; 30.0.

Janine and Roo travelled from Taunton to compete in the final. She has had the 14.2hh 10-year-old New Forest Gelding, who she co-owns with Ingrid Jordan, from an unbroken three-year-old, who she bought from the Willoway Stud in Dorset.

Janine told Eventing Worldwide: “It was just amazing to win. Roo was such a trier in all three phases despite quite difficult ground conditions after all the overnight rain. He was in fifth after the dressage; he produced a super test although a break in one of the canters resulted in a four but we also had lots of 8’s. A nice clear in the show jumping moved him up to fourth but it was the time on the cross country that gave him the win as lots struggled to make the time. I thought it would be tight time wise and I was worried he would struggle as the course was nearly six and a half minutes long, much longer than he’s tackled before. But he dug deep and got home seven seconds under the time easing up towards the end. I was taking his studs out when they announced he had won, I was over the moon, as was his co-owner Ingrid. The prizes are wonderful, Blue Chip have been really generous. The next stop for Roo is Broadway where he’s doing the BE90 so fingers crossed for another successful run to finish his event season.”

Holly Bradshaw and Lily XI were the winners in BE80(T) Section F.

Regional finals for both BE90 and BE100 were also held for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. It was a successful weekend for Daniel Titterton, who not only won the BE90 Regional Final in Section C with Vision B, but also came third in the BE90 Regional Final in Section D with Larriston Red Bailey.

It was third time lucky for Vision B who Daniel competed at two previous regional finals with earlier this year, and it was a second attempt at qualifying with Larriston Red Bailey with both horses now heading to the final at Badminton in May.

Together with his wife Jo, Dan runs MCF Equestrian. He told Eventing Worldwide: “Weston was a dream day for us; to bring two horses for regional finals and manage to qualify them both for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup was just amazing. Weston is a fairly local event to us and is always a great place to bring the horses – we seem to have a good record there too.

Vision B is very much part of the furniture here at MCF Equestrian as we purchased him as a rising 4yo – he’s now 16, and he is my wife Jo’s pride and joy. He’s been competing dressage with her since a four-year-old, and he has won regional and national British Dressage titles. We thought to freshen him up in 2017 we would let him have a pop around an event; he won on a score of 19 and so he competed in a few more winning three out of six events. So we thought we would give him a go at qualifying for Badminton in the second half of 2018. He won his prep run at Stafford, and then with the ground being so firm we haven’t had the best run at it but everything went to plan at Weston and that means I get to event him a few more times in 2019 now. He really is the horse of a lifetime. He will go back to the white boards over winter with Jo and try to qualify for the British Dressage Winter Championships.

“Larriston Red Bailey is owned by Mrs Christine Turner. He also led after dressage but as I didn’t know my dressage score at the time of showjumping, when I had a pole down I assumed that would be the end of that dream. To find out he had such a great dressage mark and was still in third place was a real surprise. He qualified for the 2017 MM Cup at Weston park two years ago and so it was a case of history repeating itself. He’s a great horse who was due to step up to Novice level at Norton Disney but that has now been swapped back to 100 due to this result. I still can’t quite believe we have managed to do it with both horses really and I think they would really have great chances at Badminton in 2019.”

Megan Elphik was the winner of the BE90 Regional Final in Section D with Brynithon Silver Locket. Megan is a student at Liverpool University – where she is captain of the riding team – going into her final year of studies. Megan also has a chance of qualifying for the BE100 final and will compete in the Regional Final at Broadway. Bear, as she known at home, is somewhat of a social media star, with a video of her getting almost 1 million views this summer.

Megan commented: University has made keeping my horses going these last few weeks very difficult and resulted in me wizzing back and forth up the motorway in the early hours of the morning multiple times a week. I’ve ridden all my life and have been so lucky that both of my parents give me endless support and time towards my hobby. Ever since the Badminton Grassroots series started it has been my aim to qualify. For various reasons with different horses it has never happened until Weston Park.

Bear was never intended to be one aimed at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. We bought her unseen over Facebook from a dealer we knew. We thought she would just be one to get going and then sell on as a hack. We didn’t really know anything about her other than she had come from the Welsh hills and been through the sales multiple times. We felt sorry for her so said we’d have her. It took months to get the weight back on her, before we started the rebreaking process. By this point she was wild as she was suddenly feeling so well. The months ticked by schooling and hacking her and eventually I spontaneously entered her in an event. The first few events weren’t pretty but her talent shone though so we persisted. I joined her to BE this year to see how she would cope being stepped up. She only did her first 90 in May.

“Before Weston mum and I joked that this would be her last chance to get a win not for a second thinking it would be possible. We went with the intention of completing. Both tracks were huge and long so would have been thrilled with just a completion. Mum and I were both in complete shock that this tiny 14 hand pony had managed to keep up with all the fancy horses in the Regional Final section to go on an win it. I cried as we crossed the cross-country finish line as I have such an emotional attachment to this pony who so many people gave up on in the past. It still hasn’t quite sunk in the we have qualified and don’t think it will until I trot down the centre line in May. Bear will enjoy a much-deserved break now. I will hopefully get her out to some early events next year between revising for my final exams.

Rebecca Jessett and Percivals Rebel were the winners in the BE100 Regional Final (Section J). The pair competed at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup Final in 2017 and 2016 in the BE90.

Rebecca, who has had Percy for four years and works in veterinary pharmaceutical sales, told Eventing Worldwide: “We mainly event through the summer – Percy takes up most of my free time, but of course he’s worth it and we absolutely love eventing. I’m very excited to have qualified for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup again, especially as it’ll be our first go at the 100 course. We are still entered for Norton Disney in a fortnight which would have been another regional final for us. I am having my shoulder pinned in three week’s time, but at least Percy will get a holiday for eight weeks whilst I’m recovering. Then it’ll be all hands-on deck to get both myself and him fit enough for next season. I have plenty of dressage training and show jumping practice already planned.”

Other section results;BE90 Section A Lou Burns, Gambi II; BE90 Section B Becky Hartley, Croft Skyfall; BE90 Section E Jack Walker, High Valley; BE100 Section H Paul Sims, Woodcroft Destiny; BE100 Section I Andrew Downes, Legal Graffiti; BE100 Open Section K Chloe Pearson, Garryduff Chacoa; Novice Section M Michael Owen, Hawksmoor; Novice Section N Tyler Cassells, Francesca Du Domaine R; Open Novice Section O Sapphire Graham, Ballinahinch Jack; BE90 Open Section P Heidi Page, Duke V.

Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography

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