Cornbury House Horse Trials came to a thrilling finish when world champion Yasmin Ingham, who had led the seven-year-old class of The Howden Way Young Horse Championships throughout the weekend, tipped the very last showjump to hand victory to Tom Jackson.
Tom, who made his senior British squad debut this summer, finished on his dressage score of 30.7 on Hugh and Pam Jarvis’s mare Midnight Endeavour. She was bred in Ireland by James Nash, and is by Future Trend out of a Ricardo mare.
“She’s called Little Miss Perfect at home, because whenever the girls in the yard ask how she was when I’ve been riding her, I say, ‘Perfect’,” said Tom. “She’s a little dinger across country – she just flies round. The showjumping wouldn’t necessarily be her strongest phase – she jumps well, but she can sometimes have four-fault-itis. Not today, though, and it is lovely to win on her.”
Yasmin Ingham had to settle for second on another mare, Gypsie Du Loir. Like Yasmin’s individual gold medallist at the 2022 World Championships, Banzai Du Loir, she is owned by Janette Chin and the Sue Davies Fund and came from the same stud – Elevage Du Loir – in France.
New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson took third and fifth places on Filipo and Fenizio, a pair of grey geldings, both bred in Spain by Ramon Beca and both by the stallion Meneusekal.
This was the first time that Cornbury House Horse Trials has hosted the prestigious Young Horse Championships, and Yasmin said: “The cross-country track was beautifully built and designed and had a really good flow to it, I think it was super educational; young horses need to have a positive experience, and I felt my mare wanting to attack it and increasing in confidence all the time.”
Kitty King won The Howden Way-sponsored national six-year-old title for the third time in career, this time on Kantango, owned by Penelope Holley, Joanna Jones, Kitty’s mother Jane Boggis and Jane Tolley. By Tangelo out of a Winningmood mare, Kantango showjumped with Megan James, and Kitty bought him from Harry Horgan last winter.
“He’s a really smart young horse – this is his first season eventing and he’s taken to it like a duck to water,” said Kitty. “I’m very proud of him. This is a brilliant class and has been a great stepping-stone for my top horses in the past, so I’ve got high hopes for Kantango.”
The pair led the dressage with a mark of 22.7, and only added 0.4 of a time-penalty in the showjumping to that.
Kitty’s previous winners of this national championship were Ceylor LAN, whom she rode at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and Persimmon, with whom she won team silver at the 2015 European Championships at Blair Castle.
Second was Ireland’s Sian Coleman on the Diarado mare Diamond Mistress, and Sara Squires and Van Kaunitz – last year’s five-year-old champions – were third. Both combinations finished on their dressage scores of 26 and 26.8.
Olympic team gold medallist Laura Collett won Cornbury’s Leading Rider prize, taking home a cheque for £2,500 and a magnificent silver trophy. Laura laid down her challenge for this title early on in the event, having won CCI3*-S section A and two British Eventing Open Intermediate sections on Thursday.
There were three classes for under-21 riders, all sponsored by The Howden Way. Ella Howard won the Pony Trial on Colemanstown Rocket, whom her parents bought six years ago when he was four and Ella was nine. Ella has produced him all the way through to this level, and today’s victory was an emotional one for the Howard family as he survived a colic operation last year.
Elizabeth Barrett took the young rider CCI3*-S on Dargun, while Ireland’s Alex Connors won the junior CCI2*-S with her family’s homebred OLS King Aragon.
Australia’s Kevin McNab took the remaining CCI2*-S section on Francesca Pollara’s Dance Monkey 7.
David Howden, founder and president of Cornbury House Horse Trials, said: “We have had the most brilliant event and I have to thank all our fantastic volunteers, officials, sponsors, riders, owners, grooms and supporters for all their very hard work. The weather has been hot, but so has the competition – it has been a real joy to see so many talented horses and riders at Cornbury this weekend.
“This is our fourth year, and it has grown so much since our first event in the Covid year of 2020. Every year we have worked hard to improve every aspect of the event, and I think the additions this time of Field Food – a showcase of delicious locally produced food and drink – Wildings, the very popular area offering lots of interactive activities for children – and the superb hospitality put on by The Pelican have allowed us to step up a level once again.”