British Olympian Pippa Funnell and Nicholas and Barbara Walkinshaw’s Billy Walk On have been crowned the winners of the 2016 BE Calver Wealth Management 2* League.
Now in its second year, the league recognises talented young horses and British riders competing at 2* level on home soil. This year, the seven year old Billy Walk On amassed a total of 98 BE points to head the table with Funnell.
The gelding who was bred in Great Britain by Donal Barnwell at the Billy Stud has impressed this season securing seven top ten placings at CCI and CIC2* events, including winning the Houghton International CCI2* and South of England International (2) CIC2*. His British season was topped off with a second place in the BE KBIS Seven Year Old Championships at the Osberton International Horse Trials.
Taking second place in the league with 76 points was Kitty King and the seven year old gelding Vendredi Biats. Owned by Mrs Diana Bown, Mrs Sally Lloyd-Baker, Mrs Samantha Wilson and Mrs Sally Eyre, the French bred gelding racked up an incredible six top five placings at 2* level since May with a win at the Rockingham International CIC2* and third place behind Billy Walk On at the BE KBIS Young Horse Championships.
Following their outstanding performances, this year saw selection for both Billy Walk On and Vendredi Biats to the FEI World Breeding Championships where Billy Walk On continued to show his form by finishing with a silver medal in the hotly contested seven year old Championship.
BE Mark Todd Bridging the Gap scholarship winner from 2015/16, Tim Cheffings, claimed third place in the league on board his own, Mrs Anne Chapman and Mrs Ros Fisher-Smith’s Donateur. The eight year old Dutch gelding finished the season on 50 points helped by victory in the Belton Park International CIC2* back in the spring plus a superb performance at the Osberton International Horse Trials which secured the combination first place in the competitive CCI2*.
The 2016 league took in 20 CIC and CCI2* events across Britain and this year welcomed new title sponsors Calver Wealth Management, a representative of St. James’s Place Wealth Management. The league sees both the rider and owner of the winning horse receiving a generous prize fund to share plus a beautiful bronze will be awarded to the owner.
Steve and Jo of Calver Wealth Management were honoured to present the prizes at the Event Horse Owners Association (EHOA) Annual Dinner and Awards Evening and commented; “It has been a privilege to sponsor the 2* league this year and to support the stars of the future.We have met many riders and owners and helped to provide equestrian specialist financial advice to ensure riders secure not only their competitive futures, but also their financial futures. We hope that other riders and owners can benefit from our services through our relationship with British Eventing.”
The league, where eligible horses must be nine years or younger, ridden by a British rider and never at three or four star level, was won in 2015 by Daisy Berkley and Penny and Fred Barker’s Strike Smartly who have this year stepped up to 3* level taking a top 20 place at the prestigious Blenheim Palace International CIC2* for eight and nine year old horses.