Winchester wows at Olympia

19th Dec 2015

Suffolk based showjumper Chloe Winchester produced two stunning clear rounds aboard Gillian Winchester’s Avoca Valkyrie to take the 2015 Dodson & Horrell and the World Class Programme Under 23 British Championship title at The London International Horse Show, Olympia (19 December 2015).

The technical course designed by London 2012 Olympic course designer Bob Ellis, caught some of the combinations out, with only six clear first rounds recorded from the twenty-four strong class. After a thrilling first round, the field was whittled down to see just ten combinations head through to contest round two.

With the stage set for an exciting finale Harry Charles and Stapleton Mist, owned by John Roberts and Olga White, got things underway and put in a good performance to finish in a quick time of 34.30 seconds with just four faults. Christie Pritchard with Bolton Gate Ben, owned by Wendy Hawcroft, were unfortunate to accrue 12 penalties, as were Yasmin Davis (with Zilvester II owned by Alison Davis) and Alfie Bradstock (with KBIS Caicos, owned by Graham Fletcher and KBIS British Equestrian Insurance), who both ended the round on eight faults.

At the halfway stage in the second round, Abbe Burchmore-Eames, who had produced one of the earlier first round clears aboard Jack Eames’s Wilandri E, once again put in a superb clear round in a quick time of 39.13 seconds to head into the lead; with five riders to go it was an anxious wait for the Hertfordshire rider, as the other combinations took to the arena.

World Class Programme Podium Potential rider George Whitaker, who with Ian Whitaker’s Gipsy Boy, had produced some lovely jumping in the first round was unlucky to see a single pole fall, to finish on four faults. Following George was fellow Podium Potential squad member Chloe, who after a great first round clear with the talented Avoca Valkyrie, produced some stunning jumping in the second round to post a double clear for the class and head into the lead after stopping the clock on 33.89 seconds.

With three left to jump, there were unlucky faults recorded for Millie Allen (aboard Peter Allen and Udo Opperman’s Balou Star) and last year’s winner Kerry Brennan and Wellington M (owned by Liane Smith), after some great clear round jumping in the first round.

Last to go was the leading rider from the first round, Jessica Mendoza, who with Julia Hammond’s Wan Architect was unlucky to pick up four faults after the last fence fell in an otherwise superb round, to finish in third place. The win and Under 23 title for 2015 went to Chloe Winchester, with Abbe Burchmore-Eames taking second place.

Commenting on the result, Chloe said; “I’m over the moon; it’s my third time competing here and just third time lucky today – it just couldn’t have gone any better. There were three clear after me, so I had that nervous wait; it’s amazing to have the opportunity to ride at Olympia, so to win and get the thrill here it just makes you want to do it again and again.”

Sam Horrell, Marketing Director at Dodson & Horrell, commented after the class; "There was an incredibly high standard of competition in the Under 23 Championship Final, and it was pleasing to see a new generation of up and coming riders competing on the Olympia stage." 

Alongside a £15,300 prize fund for the class, a £1,500 bonus cash prize was awarded to this year’s winner and second placed Abbe Burchmore-Eames after both riders jumped a clear round in both rounds one and two.

Commenting after her second clear round Abbe said; “It was absolutely amazing, it was a dream come true. All I wanted was to jump a clear round and get a rosette, so to finish second was amazing. He’s come here twice before but we’ve never got a rosette before, it’s great to finally - for my last year, to get in the prize-giving and be in with a shout of winning.”

Final placings in the 2015 U23 Final:

  1. Chloe Winchester with Avoca Valkyrie, owned by Gillian Winchester
  2. Abbe Burchmore-Eames with Wilandri E owned by Jack Eames
  3. Jessica Mendoza with Wan Architect, owned by Julia Hammond
  4. Harry Charles with Stapleton Mist, owned by John Roberts and Olga White
  5. Millie Allen with Balou Star owned by Peter Allen and Udo Opperman
  6. George Whitaker with Gipsy Boy, owned by Ian Whitaker
  7. Alfie Bradstock with KBIS Caicos, owned by Graham Fletcher and KBIS British Equestrian Insurance
  8. Yasmin Davis with Zilverster II, owned by Alison Davis

The Championship is supported by Dodson & Horrell who is Europe's leading equine feed manufacturer and a highly respected worldwide authority on animal nutrition and feeding. Dodson & Horrell’s involvement of the Under 23 British Championship demonstrates their history of support in equestrian sports across all levels, from sponsorship of British Dressage, British Showjumping, Riding Club and Pony Club events to title sponsorship of the iconic Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials. In addition, as official supplier of nutrition to Equestrian Team GBR, Dodson & Horrell will play a pivotal advisory role in the lead up to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The World Class Programme aims to provide Britain’s elite riders with the best preparation to represent Equestrian Team GBR on the international stage and is funded by National Lottery and Exchequer funds via UK Sport.