It was a pillar to post win for BE100 Champion, Alana Sparrow and Mr Rasshied Din’s Angels Spirit, with Laura Greenhalgh taking the BE90 Championship on Sarah Reeve’s Stanhopes Travelling Man.
Alana (pictured below), rider and yard manager from Nutley, East Sussex, led from the first day of dressage with a fantastic score of 25.1 penalties, and added nothing to it after today’s jumping phases. Riding Mr Rasshied Din’s 13 year old mare Angels Spirit, affectionately known as Goose, 2019 marked 22 year old Alana’s fourth time at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup and her first time on the podium.
Reflecting on having to maintain her lead, Alana said; “Before I went cross country and went and had a look at the scores, I knew I had a one second leeway, so I thought let’s crack on, I can do this. In this competition the dressage is one thing and the jumping phases are another. I’ve got a plan and I know what I want to focus on and it seems to improve as I go on. I know how she needs to be ridden, she needs me to be really positive and really, really focused – I couldn’t have asked more from her!”
When asked to sum up her experience; “Surprised, thrilled with her, I think she’s a dream, and I am very grateful to Rass [owner] for giving me the opportunities he has!”
Jo Hales from Oxford, also completed on her dressage score, which was 25.8, and moved up from third place overnight to take the runner up spot. This is Jo’s second time at the championships, having competed at the very first running of the event here at Badminton in 2010, she finished in 18th place riding Josh. Jo has two young children, Georgina and James, and is a veterinary surgeon who works for a company that specialises in orthopaedic treatments for horses, dogs and cats.
Talking about managing riding around her family and job, Jo said; “I have a very, very nice husband who is great at looking after the children! I don’t sleep or sit down very much! I don’t have much time to go up the grades, so it’s really nice to have a good championship to aim for. It’s amazing to have a championship that’s an achievement to get here, we’re very lucky, I’ve always dreamt of going round the big course here, so to have something realistic to aim for is amazing.”
Hailing from Oxford, Jo rode her homebred 11 year old mare Dawn Chorus. Their aims for the rest of this season include competing in the side saddle championships this summer and to qualify for next years’ Mitsubishi Motors Cup.
Ollie rode one of the youngest horses in the field, six year old Martins Irish Eddie. They finished on their dressage score of 30.6 penalties. They qualified for the BE100 championships after finishing in second place at the Mitsubishi Motors Regional Final at Firle Place International Horse Trials.
Ollie said; “He’s only young, he competed in the four year old championship and was seventh so it was a similar atmosphere, but with all the people here it was different this year. He is really brave and really honest, he needed a bit of confidence at the trickier lines, but he was fantastic out there today.”
The 2019 competition is Laura and Stanhope Travelling Man’s (main picture) third visit to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. Having first competed here in 2016, they qualified again for the 2018 championships and finished in 11th place; riding Sarah Reeve’s 14 year old British bred gelding, the duo showed all their experience this year to finish on their dressage score of 24.3 penalties.
On her experience, Laura said; “He does get fairly good dressage marks, but I never expect anything, I just hope it goes well! I was thrilled with that score; he hasn’t actually done any events since he qualified last year – so I’m really happy with that score. I try and leave absolutely no stone unturned, I’m probably quite intense in my preparations. Last year he had an unfortunate four faults in the show jumping, I had a few last minute tips this year and it just all came together today!”
After winning her BE90 Regional Final at Dauntsey Park last year, Georgie Toole couldn’t have asked for a much better debut here at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup, placing second on Kissemmie Midnight Magic. Georgie and her 14 year old gelding added nothing to their dressage score of 25.9 penalties.
“I was very happy with 25, he normally gets around 27 so I was really, really pleased. I think we were all very nervous walking it [the cross country], there were definitely a lot of tricky things on the course. He was really good, he was definitely very excited in the warm up so I was a bit apprehensive beforehand. It’s been amazing opportunity and an honour,” said Georgie.
Emma Sutton from Dinas Powys, Vale of Glamorgan, makes up the top three after a double clear on her own 14 year old gelding Coltstown Glider, completing on her dressage score of 26.2 penalties. 24 year old Emma said; “I felt quite nervous, I was trying to stay relaxed and stay cool!” and on the experience; “100%, it was amazing!”
Rob Lindley, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors UK, added; “Congratulations to the winners of the 2019 Mitsubishi Motors Cup and to all those who have taken part in the competition. To be able to ride competitively across the same Badminton estate as the world’s top class event riders is a truly unique opportunity and we hope that everyone has enjoyed the experience.”
Thanks to the generous Mitsubishi Motors sponsorship, each winner will take home a car from the Mitsubishi Motors range for a year, along with a winner’s rug from Horseware Ireland and prize money; the top twenty each receive prize money and a rosette.
The highest place rider aged over 40 will be presented with the Keep Kicking On trophy and thanks to the support of Shearwater Insurance Services, the highest placed Event Horse Owners Association member in each class receives a Silver Salver, jacket and prize money.
Images credit: Goldeneye Video & Photography