Bubby Upton claimed Gold at the Junior European Championships with a stunning performance which saw her lead from start to finish.
The-18-year-old is in her final year of Junior competition held strong under the pressure with strong performances across all three phases to take victory ahead of two of Germany’s team riders with Gesa Staas finishing in second (St Stacy) and Emma Brussau taking bronze (Donnerstag 20).
After her victory Bubby said: “Ero gave me his absolute all throughout the whole week. Proud of Ero doesn’t even come close to how I feel right now as he is simply one in a million and I cannot thank him or my family, trainers and sponsors enough because without them this just wouldn’t have been possible. Today is a day I will never forget and Millstreet will always be a very very special place in my heart.”
Both the Racesafe Junior and Young Rider squads made a strong start to their campaign with each team holding gold medal position after the first day of competition.
Pathfinder for the Racesafe Juniors Richard Coney put in a fantastic test this morning to score 40.3 penalties on his own nine-year-old gelding Kananaski placing them third with team mate Phoebe Locke and Jamie-lee Day’s Union Fortunus producing an incredible score of 38.5 during the early afternoon session propelling them into overnight second place. Individual riders Holly Needham and her own Strike A Pose scored 48.4 with Sasha Hargreaves and Playtime NZPH scoring 52.1.
In the Young Rider competition, Alex Kennedy and her own 12-year-old gelding Lissangle Cavaletto B headed the Brits and the overall placings in first place on a score of 41.3. Katie Bleloch and the 11-year-old Bulano set the team up with another sub 50 score on 48.3 penalties. Individual rider Libby Seed and the British bred stallion Philanderer II scored 52.2 penalties.
On the second day, as part of the Junior team, Bubby Upton put in a stunning test to score 23.9 on Rachel Upton’s Eros DHI and shot to the top of the individual rankings. Fellow team rider Imogen White and the 13-year-old gelding Emill also put in a great test to score 45.2.
With all four of the team completing their dressage tests the team hold silver medal position on a score of 102.7 penalties, some 28 penalties ahead of France in bronze but behind Germany, who moved in to gold on 95.2 penalties.
First to enter the arena this afternoon in the Young Rider test was GB Individual rider Lizzie Baugh and her own Quarry Man with a score of 47.7. 2017 National Under 21 Champion Felicity Collins posted a score of 52.7 penalty test on RHS Contend Or to help the team into bronze medal position.
Last to go for the team was Sam Ecroyd on board Penelope Ecroyd’s nine-year-old gelding Tullaher Sunrise, they impressed the judges to score 35.7 penalties completing the dressage phase in first place individually – putting GB just 0.2 penalties behind Germany in silver and 4.3 penalties off France in gold.
Bubby Upton retained her overnight lead following the cross-country with a clear round inside the time with Eros DHI. It topped of a great day for the Junior team who all put in strong rounds; Phoebe Locke finished the phase in fifth place, Richard Coney in seventh and Imogen White in fourteenth. Individuals Holly Needham and Sasha Hargreaves go into the final phase of the competition in 21st and 31st place respectively.
These performances meant the team went into the final phase in silver position on a total score of 102.7 after Germany held on to pole position with 95.2. France lie in bronze in the team results with 136.0.
However, there were mixed fortunes for the Young Rider Squad. Alex Kennedy became the highest placed British rider in the individual standings with third place after her clear round inside the time meant she added nothing to her dressage score of 41.3 with her own Lissangle Cavaletto B. Sam Ecroyd, the overnight leader, was sadly eliminated across country after parting company from his ride at the second water complex.
Despite this, the team maintained their position on the podium in third place with Germany leading ahead of the Netherlands in second.
A fantastic effort from the Racesafe British Juniors in the show jumping phase meant the team finished in silver medal position as well as individual gold for Bubby Upton and Eros DHI.
An unfortunate withdrawal after the final horse inspection for Ireland’s Susie Berry meant that Alex Kennedy started the final day by moving up into silver medal position which she maintained with an expert show jumping round with Lissangle Cavaletto B. This put her behind Germany Gold medalist Hanna Knuppel (Carismo 22) with Janou Bleekman (Granntevka Prince) in third.
“More cannot be expected,” said Frank Ostholt, team trainer for the German Young Rider team. “We have done everything right from our planning. We had an incredible team here, and everyone contributed to the success.”
Photo credit Lorraine Porter