Willow Banks Equestrian Centre attracts high-calibre competition

Olympian and former world number one Michael Whitaker in action at Willow Banks EMN-180525-151641002
Olympian and former world number one Michael Whitaker in action at Willow Banks EMN-180525-151641002

Willow Banks had a good turn-out of nationally-renowned riders and horses for a British Showjumping event last Tuesday with big prizes up for grabs.

The feature class at the event, held at the Claxby-based equestrian centre was the 1.40m Open, with a total prize fund of more than £1,500.

Of the 17 starters, only six went clear over the testing David Cole-designed course to make it through to a 1.50m jump-off.

First to go was Jack Whitaker, riding the topically-named Queen Elizabeth, and the combination set a fast clear round.

Katie Pytches and Eion Gallagher followed, both finishing with four faults, but Lisa Jones, riding Dianna P, jumped clear in a time of 39.87secs, just three-tenths of a second behind Whitaker.

Pytches was up again on Jolie Fleur Van De Noordheuvel and jumped a very neat clear round to finish third, and last to go Whitaker with his second mount, El EE Widge.

They set a very fast time, but had the penultimate fence down to finish in fourth.

* The 1.30m Speed class also attracted some of the country’s top combinations including former world number one Michael Whitaker.

The competition was red hot with Leicestershire rider Alex Thompson going into the lead early on.

Next up brought a fast clear round from Jack Whitaker who stayed in the lead until the very last rider, Amy Duncan, put in a blistering round, four seconds quicker to take the £200 first prize.

Results: 1 ADAGIO II (Amy Duncan), 2 EL WEE WIDGE (Jack Whitaker), 3 CLASSY CAT (Alex Thompson), 4 STACENTA (Sophie Marsh).

* Yorkshire’s Sophie Pashley took the honours in the first two classes of the day, the Newcomers and 1.15m Members Cup, while local rider Lauren Appleyard won the Foxhunter/1.20m class.

The day finished with a British Novice/90cm Open and Discovery/1m Open.

Winners in these classes were Joy Taylor (Novice), Sally-Ann Lawson (90cm Open), Alex Postolowsky (Discovery) and Ralfie Timmins (1m Open).

* For further information about Willow Banks, call owner Piers Warmoth on 07888 683674.