October 08, 2014 at 7:01 PM


Chloe Winchester added her name to an impressive roll of honour as the 2014 Horse of the Year Show got underway at the LG Arena in Birmingham.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Suffolk, won the prestigious Canaan Farm Young Riders Championship of Great Britain, and in doing so followed former winners like London 2012 gold medallist Nick Skelton, Michael Whitaker, Ellen Whitaker and Robert Whitaker.

And she did it in style, clocking 36.97 seconds aboard Avoca Valkyrie, an 11-year-old mare owned by her mother Gilly, in a four horse jump-off to win by more than 1.5 seconds from Oxfordshire-based Alfie Bradstock, riding Caicos.

"I am over the moon. I can't believe it has actually happened," said a tearful Chloe, who competed for Great Britain at this year's European Young Rider Championships in Italy.

"I have been watching HOYS for years and years, so to actually win here is amazing.

"I have learnt so much from being involved with the Great Britain Young Riders, and I was fourth in the Arena UK grand prix recently, so that really set us up for here."

North Yorkshire rider Alex Gill successfully defended the Blue Chip Pony Newcomers Championship title on Wednesday, emulating Matthew Sampson, who achieved a double in 2005 and 2006.

Sixteen-year-old Alex, who is from Northallerton, qualified three horses among a 12-horse jump-off, but former eventer Kingstown Rebel set a standard no other combination could match, clocking 39.82 seconds to leave Faye Adams (Rainbows Mocha) in second place and Abbie Bevan (Eclips VI) third.

"He is a really quick pony," said Alex, who was part of the Great Britain squad at this year's Pony European Jumping Championships.

"He has always been banging on the door for a win like that, and once we found the turns in the course, we were really confident. It just came off, really.

"He only started jumping in January this year. He is a clear round machine - he is something else - and on the big occasions he just pulls it out of the bag."

Cambridgeshire rider Richard Barton and Warwickshire's Julia Helm made HOYS history by winning British Showjumping's inaugural Silver and Bronze League Championship titles.

Finalists in both sections qualified via local leagues that were launched in April this year, followed by northern and southern semi-finals, before securing a final place.

Richard, from Cambridge, triumphed with his dark brown gelding Solitary Boy in the Silver Championship, winning a seven horse jump-off after clipping 67 hundredths of a second  off previous leader James Johnson's time.

Richard, 47, said: "It was very close between first and second. He is such a terrific horse, and it's a great win."

Julia, from Shrewley Common, took the Bronze Championship with her home-bred bay mare Helms Tolu, winning a seven horse jump-off by more than two seconds after setting a scorching pace.

"I was first to go in the jump-off, and although I know my horse is naturally quick, there were a lot of quick horses in there.

"I did all the turns, and I knew if I didn't make a mistake and she jumped clear, then I stood a good chance. It just flowed," Julia, 35, said

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