Chloe Winchester crowned a brilliant year with victory in The Dodson & Horrell and The World Class Programme U23 British Championships at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, on her ‘horse of a lifetime’, Avoca Valkyrie.
Abbe Burchmore-Eames, who was first into the arena and set the standard with a beautiful clear round, finished second on Wilandri E.
Jessica Mendoza, winner of last night’s Longines Christmas Cracker, was on speedy form again, on Wan Architect, but, with the class at her mercy, hit the final planks in the jump-off and dropped to third place. “I guess I used up all my luck last night,” she said ruefully.
Six riders jumped clear – Millie Allen (Balou Star), George Whitaker (Gipsy Boy) and last year’s winner, Kerry Brennan (Wellington M) were the other three – and they joined the fastest four-faulters in a 10-horse jump-off.
Abbe was the first to go clear, in 39.13 seconds, but she was overtaken by Chloe on the good time of 33.89. Jessica, who was last to go, was fastest of all, on 33.03 but the final fence got in the way of a second Olympia victory.
“I’m over the moon,” said Chloe, 21. “As I galloped down to the last fence I thought that if got that right, I had a shot at winning. It’s amazing to ride here at Olympia – you just want to do it again and again.”
Chloe says Valkyrie, her 12-year-old Irish-bred mare, winner of the Queen Elizabeth Cup at the Royal International Horse Show in July, is “a bit of a diva. But in four years she’s taken me from 1.30m to nations cups and has been amazing.”
Abbe was ecstatic to be second, as it’s her last year in the prestigious class which has set, among others, world number one Scott Brash on the road to stardom.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Abbe. “All I wanted was a clear round and a rosette, so it’s great to be in the prize-giving in my last year. It’s been one of my best years, but this is the icing on the cake.”
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