Badminton’s grassroots champs jump to victory

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BE90 Grassroots winners Hollie Booth and Dramatic.
BE90 Grassroots winners Hollie Booth and Dramatic. © Kit Houghton/Badminton Horse Trials

Two new Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Grassroots champions have been crowned at Badminton, with Former BE90 Championship winner Alex Farrer-Fry taking out the BE100 Championship on Grey Finnsky, while Hollie Booth led from the front in the BE90 with her family’s homebred mare Dramatic.

BE 90 Grassroots Championship winners, from left: Katie Vincent (second), Hollie Booth (winner), and Heidi Coy (third).
BE 90 Grassroots Championship winners, from left: Katie Vincent (second), Hollie Booth (winner), and Heidi Coy (third). © Mike Bain

BE90

Hollie Booth and Dramatic, a seven year old coloured mare owned by Julia McGowan, finished on their dressage score of 24.5 to win the BE90 class.

This Cheshire based combination qualified for the Championships last September in the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Regional Final last year at Hutton in the Forest Horse Trials in Cumbria

With a final score of 26.1 penalties it was Wiltshire’s Katie Vincent who took home second place. Riding Alexis Symes’ piebald gelding Glen Carter the combination battled challenging conditions throughout the completion to ensure two faultless jumping rounds. With nothing to add from Wednesday morning’s showjumping phase and a clear round inside the time across country, Vincent completed her championship with a 1.2 penalty lead over third place.

Heidi Coy, 15, and her own Riversdale Magic Heart put in a sterling performance across all three phases of competition to claim third place. A prolific winner; taking the 2013 Pony Club Novice Dressage Championship and 2015 British Eventing JAS 90 Final to name but a few, Heidi’s 14hh mare delivered a clear showjumping round to add nothing to their 27.3 penalty dressage score. The school student and her pint sized partner made light work of the 6.53 minute optimum cross country time, completing the course with no jumping or time penalties, to leave the duo on their first phase score and a third place finish.

BE100

BE 100 Grassroots Championship winners, from left: Anna Tomlinson (second), Alexandra Farrar-Fry (first), and - Catherine Taylor (third).
BE 100 Grassroots Championship winners, from left: Anna Tomlinson (second), Alexandra Farrar-Fry (first), and – Catherine Taylor (third). © Mike Bain

The cross country course proved as ever influential in the BE100 class, and the relentless wind and rain didn’t create an easy route to winning the title of the 2015 Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship. Alex Farrar-Fry, 24, rode Marium Haque’s  six year old gelding Grey Finnsky to win on their dressage score of 27.5.

Dewsbury-based Farrer-Fry took out the 2011 BE90 Grassroots Championship title with Diamond Trefoil.  This year she won in an extremely hotly contested competition in a field of just under 90 entries.

BE100 Championship winners Alex Farrer-Fry and Grey Finnsky.
BE100 Championship winners Alex Farrer-Fry and Grey Finnsky.

“It’s quite daunting, I’ve had more nerves today than I’ve had for anything, I think it’s just because of the atmosphere, particularly on the cross country, to see people round the fences, you don’t get that at normal events, there were hundreds around the water and you have to just think to yourself don’t concentrate on them, concentrate on what job you are doing! I’m so pleased!” she said.

“It’s absolutely amazing to be here again; I didn’t have any nerves the first time I did this because we didn’t really appreciate how amazingly lucky we were to qualify, but this time, because I’ve won before, it was a bit nerve wracking. I’ve tried to take every day as it comes.”

With a score of 29.4 penalties second place went to Staffordshire’s Anna Tomlinson, 19, and her own 15.2hh palomino gelding Moreorless II. Tomlinson, currently studying for her A Levels at Abbots Bromley School, got off to a strong start on Wednesday morning, posting a score of 25.4 penalties in the dressage. A single rail in the influential showjumping phase added four penalties to their impressive score and with competition so tight at the top it was all to play for in the final phase. Despite the adverse weather conditions the combination stormed around James Willis’ 3100m cross country course clear inside the time to leave them just 1.9 penalties adrift from the winning score.

Cathrine Taylor, also hailing from Staffordshire, completed the top three on Ms Lynn Ferguson’s 16hh bay mare, Lorelei. Taylor, who runs her own competition and livery yard from Somerford Park Farm, and her ride produced a dressage score of 31.5 penalties before moving on to ride a foot perfect round over the 1.10m Championship show jumping track. The cross country course proved no problem for the 26-year-old, coming home clear within the 6.34 min time allowed to add nothing to their first phase score.

Full results

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