A delighted Charlie Atkinson lifted the Squibb Group 128cm championship with a daring, risk-taking round in the five-pony decider on Bunbury Conquest.
Drawn second, Charlie was the only rider to attempt the inside turn to the penultimate vertical, and he pulled it off in spectacular style for victory by more than three sec.
Charlie, 10, took over the ride on ‘Questie’ in May from former rider Ria Scott. This was a step up from winning the Scope Festival tiny tots championship in August, but Charlie was emphatic on crediting trainer Paul Barker, with whom he trains three days a week.
“It is all down to my trainer, he’s the best trainer ever,” he said, “He told ne to go in to win, and I did that, although it was nerve-wracking to ride in front of a crowd that size, but amazing at the same time.”
On the podium, 128cm winner Charlie Atkinson (centre), second-placed Claudia Moore (left) and Henry Squibb (right) in third place.
First to go Claudia Moore – in her final 128cm competition – had set a seemingly competitive target on Peppino Il Grande with a must-have clear round. But she failed to take that vital final turn down to the last line and had to settle for second place.
Henry Squibb – still gaining experience at this level – rode a very sensible clear on Pussy Cat Doll for third spot on the podium. Henry’s cousin Eloise went all out against the clock but Platinum Prince just tapped out a pole in the double for fourth and Isabella Snowden claimed fifth with Penchwintan Glynle. On four faults in round one, Natasha Hamilton, who only returned to competition in December after breakng her ankle, picked up sixth spot with Koda.
Photos © Jumping Around & Liverpool International Horse Show