Spectators at The London International Horse Show, Olympia, were treated to a thrilling finale to the Dodson & Horrell and the World Class Programme U23 British Championships this afternoon, as twenty-two year old Kerry Brennan from Derbyshire clinched the title after an exhilarating jump-off.
With numerous questions posed by Bob Ellis’s up-to-height technical course, only eight clear rounds were posted from the twenty-four combinations who came forward to contest the class. With ten riders going forward to the second ‘jump-off’ round - run in reverse order of merit, it was a nail-biting finish to the 2014 series.
After Abigail Newbery and Aimee Bell were both unlucky to have poles down, it was Alfie Bradstock with Graham Fletcher’s Caicos, who was the first of the afternoon to post a double clear in a time of 42.67seconds. Last year’s winner Jessica Dimmock was also unlucky to have one down, as the challenging course also caused problems for Chloe Winchester, Harry Charles and Jake Saywell.
After producing a quick first round (57.69seconds) Kerry Brennan then produced a lovely second clear round with her mother’s (Liane Smith) Wellington M, to head into the lead after stopping the clock at 41.33seconds.
With two-riders left to go it was still all to play for, but as 2012 winner Emily Ward posted an unlucky four faults, it was the leading rider from the first round Joseph Davison who had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Riding his father’s (dressage rider Richard Davison) Vennoot II, the pair produced the quickest round of the afternoon (39.61seconds) but were unlucky to accrue four faults to place them third, with the win and U23 title going to Kerry.
Kerry, who is a member of the BEF’s Sport England funded Excel Talent Programme, only got back in the saddle at the beginning of the year after having had her son, and qualified for today’s final in October after winning a qualifier at Aintree Equestrian Centre.
Commenting afterwards she said; “This is just massive for me; all my family’s helped and it just came together today. Getting through to Horse of the Year Show was a big achievement, but this has just topped it. He [Wellington M] just loves his job, I’ve produced him from a four year old and he just put his all into it today.”
World Class Showjumping Performance Manager, Rob Hoekstra commented; “It was a very difficult course, certainly the biggest course we’ve had [at the Final] since I started. When I walked it at the start I thought we’d have about four clears and we had eight [in the first round], which really shows the standard of jumping, which was tremendous and we saw a super round from Kerry.
“I was very impressed with the combinations today; it’s great to be able to showcase our talent of the future here at Olympia and great for the athletes to be able to gain this experience.”
Sam Horrell, Marketing Director at Dodson & Horrell commented after the class; “It really has been an exceptional competition today and we, at Dodson & Horrell, feel honoured and proud to be part of this competition which encourages young talent of the future”.
There was a total prize fund of £15,300 at the Final and Training Vouchers to the value of £2,900 awarded to the top eight prize-winning riders. Only riders eligible to compete for Great Britain are able to contest the Final. The bonus cash prize (£1,500) which is equally split between riders who jump a clear in both round one and round two was awarded to the two riders posting the only double clears of the afternoon - Kerry Brennan and Alfie Bradstock.
The Championships are supported by Europe’s leading specialist animal feed manufacturer and nutrition experts Dodson & Horrell and by the World Class Development Programme. The Development Programme is funded by National Lottery and Exchequer funds via UK Sport; the Programme seeks to identify and develop talented athletes who have shown the potential to reach the world stage.
Dodson & Horrell has been leading the way in animal nutrition for 75 years pioneering manufacturing methods and promoting nutritional research. The company has a long history of support in equestrian sports across all levels, from its sponsorship of British Dressage and British Showjumping to title sponsorship of the iconic Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials. As Royal Warrant holder and official supplier of nutrition to Equestrian Team GBR, Dodson & Horrell will play a pivotal advisory role in the lead up to the 2016 Olympic Games.
- Kerry Brennan (Wellington M, owned by Liane Smith) – 0 / 41.33
- Alfie Bradstock (Caicos, owned by Graham Fletcher) – 0 / 42.67
- Joseph Davison (Vennoot II, owned by Richard Davison) – 4 / 39.61
- Jessica Dimmock (with her own Tinkas Tyson) – 4 / 41.46
- Emily Ward (Witch, owned by Nick Ward and Michael Whitaker) – 4 / 41.55
- Abigail Newbery (Valentino VII, owned by Sharifa Al-Homaizi and Tony Newbery) – 4 / 43.05
- Chloe Winchester (Avoca Valkyrie, owned by Gillian Winchester) – 4 / 43.69
- Harry Charles (Murkas Nevada VI, owned by Olga White and Team Murka Ltd) – 8 / 42.71
- Aimee Bell (Cameron Poe, owned by Sally Guild) – 8 / 47.23
- Jake Saywell (Special K IV, owned by Rachel Gascoine) – 11 / 52.80