The 28-year-old full time event rider impressed judges Sir Mark Todd, Gill Watson and Lizzel Winter to secure the training and support package after what has been a successful season for the Bristol based competitor.
Winner of the prestigious Smith & Williamson Intermediate Championship this year on Lisa Coward’s 10 year old gelding Chakiris Star, Whewall has also notched up 10 top 20 placings at international competitions in 2016, including 10th place at the St. James’s Place Barbury International Horse Trials CIC3*.
Six riders came forward to the final and all were tested in the saddle by the formidable trio of judges, and in interviews with representatives from sponsors Keyflow Feeds and The Mark Todd Collection. A finalist in 2014, Lizzel put Alexander’s win down to his ongoing development, saying “Alex has progressed since he was here last and he is still progressing,” while Gill added, “It took a long time to decide but in the end we were all in agreement.”
Sir Mark Todd also praised the improvement the 2016 winner has made: “It’s good to see that he took on board what we said then in 2014 and has stuck with the Bridging the Gap training programme. He has improved immensely, has a nice team of horses around him now and we should see him having a bit of success in the future.”
Now in its fourth year, previous title holders include Franky Reid-Warrilow, CIC2* European gold medallist, Zoe Wilkinson – who was on the same European silver medal winning team in 2015 – and 2016 Belton Park International CIC2* winner Tim Cheffings. Alexander will now join them in receiving a generous prize package that includes: Three individual training sessions plus mentoring from the legendary Sir Mark Todd; A year’s worth of Mark Todd Keyflow Feed for one horse to the value of £1500 plus nutritional advice; Clothing, tack and horse-wear from the Mark Todd Collection to the value of £1,500
Alicia Hawker, 22 from Wiltshire, and Kent’s Rose Carnegie, 26, took second and third spots respectively, receiving BE training vouchers, while all finalists were kindly presented with a rug, jacket and saddlepad from The Mark Todd Collection.