Ben Walker gallops to a win at Addington's new Spring Championships
Ben Walker jumped to the top in the winter 1.35m final at Addington’s inaugural Spring Championships – switched to Addington at short notice thanks to Tim Price’s efforts after the London Excel show was cancelled – aboard Downes Howard’s Roulette H.
Only 16 tackled round one over London 2012 course-designer Bob Ellis’ track, with nine coming forward to the jump-off. But the best came last – Ben using his final draw to maximum effect to pocket a handsome £1,500 and be crowned the first national 1.35m champion.
It was a step down for the eight-year-old Moschino/Michellino gelding Roulette – placed in Bonheiden’s world ranking 1.45m and second in the hotly-contended Blue Chip grand prix.
Alfie Bradstock’s short-lived lead claimed second with KBIS Caicos 0.83 sec behind the pace, and With his opening draw, Phillip Miller – who alongside Ben is jockey for the Cornish/Greenacres Equestrian stable – slotted Brendon Stud’s Unbelievable Darco 10-year-old Unbelievable Lady into third. Tom Whitaker claimed fourth on Ebelina W with Alex Thompson producing the last double clear for fifth with Cathalina V. Rowan Willis jumped into sixth on Shark II with Ben and second ride Da Vinci seventh and Alfie aboard his second ride Tiger Bright eighth.
Alfie’s sister Lily took over the ride on Ann Solis’ Benedictus from her brother 11 months ago and held off challenges from 27 rivals to score their biggest win with the winter amateur title. Only six reached the final barrage with Lily guiding the rangy Concorde/Ekstein 11-year-old into victory by the narrowest of margins – just 0.05 sec.
The speedy pairing of Rachel Vicary and her consistent winner Sparkling Indulgence took second with Tracey Holder’s Valleur van het Lindehof third and Lowri Ball aboard Christina III in fourth. Martin Brake took fifth on Quenza des Tuilieres and Abi Walters netted sixth spot with Miretta Mena.
Rachel went one better in the winter silver league championship with the 16-year-old Sparkling Indulgence, topping the 29-strong class in commanding style. Fourteen accessed the jump-off, with Rachel claiming victory in the penultimate draw to take the title by a handsome 4.38 sec from long-time leader Martin Brake on the 13-year-old Zandor Z daughter Quenza des Tuilieres. Ruby Pointer rode Dutsy van het Hek into third with Samantha Rundle providing the only other double clear for fourth with Tanto. Morgan Henderson finished fifth on SSH Leagh and sixth was awarded to Leonnie Cookson-Jones with Bellatrix III.
Al Yaqub captured the winter grade C final with Oligar Angelus with the final round in the six-strong decider. Twenty-four initially contended this championship, with Al with Angelus – a seven-year-old he has competed for a year – and again the final draw took the win, Al claiming 1.84 sec in hand.
Ben Walker had to settle for second with Di Cornish’s home-bred Aphrodite IV, a Marius Claudius/Corrado I seven-year-old mare. Mark Williams brought Greenacres Diarado into third with Lucy Turner providing the steadiest double clear on Fantasy II. Katie Pytches and Jolie Fleur claimed fifth and Poppy Stronge rode into sixth on Tullyreavy Its Me.
Lulu Warren scored her biggest win in the under 25 championship with the Tangelo van de Zuuthoeve nine-year-old Deltina. Eight of the initial 15 entry gained jump-off access, with Lulu jumping ahead by 1.10 sec from Georgia Lovett, in second on the 12-year-old Westend Gunner.
This class also incorporated the children-on-horses championship, and Angel Tough – placed third overall on the Cassini II/Royal Feu 10-year-old Callumbus – took the best rider under 14. Fourth-placed Olli Fletcher on the Douglas/Silverstone nine-year-old Hello Disckoboy DN claimed the children-on-horses runner-up spot out of the five in this section.
Daniella Stephenson on Fire van Verona took fifth and sixth went to Emily Rowe and George – both from the under 25 section.
Sophie Corney galloped to the top in the bronze league championship with the Landiamo B/Grandeur 19-year-old mare Lapaloma. An initial 43 was whittled down to 18 for the jump-off but Sophie had the winner’s spot sewn up with third draw. Neverthless, Holly Gair on the diminutive 20-year-old Bowes Milky Way – who stands jsut 143cm high – put in a spirited challenge in the final draw, finishing just 0.11 sec behind for second.
Zoe Light and Contendaan claimed third with Stephen Whinnett’s Scathill Cruise fourth. Cassie Chapman jumped into fifth on OTT Alfie and Holly also picked up sixth with second ride Usita Champ.
Photos courtesy British Showjumping © Lewis Harding