Badminton hosted the inaugural Mitsubishi Motors Cup on Wednesday, with Katie Hancock leading from pillar to post in the BE100 section and Sophie Walker taking out the BE90.
What was formerly known as the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championships was rebranded this season to the Mitsubishi Motors Cup, thanks to the increased support from Mitsubishi Motors.
Winners of the event this year will receive a new vehicle of their choice for a year from the Mitsubishi Motors range, along with a cheque for £600, trophy and commemorative plaque to keep. Other support includes the use of VIP facilities at the finals, access to professional advice and equipment, and branded merchandise.
Hailing from St. Columb, a village on the outskirts of Newquay in Cornwall, Katie Hancock, 33, riding her own Kilcandra Rambo Ray stepped out in front of the BE100 section after the dressage phase with a fantastic score of 24 penalties. Qualifying at the British Eventing affiliated event, Bricky Horse Trials in the Mitsubishi Motors Regional Final, Hancock (who is a Safety Manager for a Recruitment Agency) and her full Irish Draft, affectionately known as Reilly, remained at the top of the leaderboard following a clear show jumping round over Paul Connor’s influential course.
Unlike several combinations, Hancock and 10-year-old ‘Reilly’ relished in the challenge set out by cross-country Course Designer James Willis’ to come home clear inside the 6m 35sec optimum time to stay on their fabulous first phase score. “I’m absolutely ecstatic to win, I’m still shaking and trying to come to terms with it – it really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Hancock said.
“I came here last year and it didn’t go to plan at all so this year I just wanted to ride without pressure and enjoy myself. My horse was an absolute superstar, he was unbelievable!”
Stephanie Waite from Allesley in the West Midlands took the runner up spot with her 13-year-old Irish gelding Stay In Touch. After producing a 31.4 penalty dressage score the 25 year old livery yard manager, stayed penalty free in the show jumping phase before going on to complete the cross-country course clear just one second over the optimum time to pick up 0.4 time penalties.
Making the 10 mile journey from Tetbury, local rider Zoe Davison finished in third place on board her own Cavaliers Back to Black. The 17-year-old, who only joined British Eventing in 2015, qualified at Aldon BE100 Three Day Event which was remarkably the combination’s fourth event together. Davison entered the dressage arena with her 13 year old Irish mare in the early hours of Wednesday morning to gain a score of 27.6 penalties. The pair added four faults to their dressage score with one fence down in the show jumping ring and finished the cross country course clear, however two seconds too fast on the clock saw the pair collect 0.8 time faults to give them a completing score of 32.4 penalties.
Winner of the Keep Kicking On Trophy, the most successful rider over 40 years of age, went to Nicolas Bevan from Nether Whitacre, West Midlands, in the BE100. Bevan, 51, rode his own Boleiro N to seventh place in the BE100 section with a completing score of 33.1 penalties.
Sophie Walker, 22, from High Ercall in Shropshire claimed the BE90 title on board her own Rhapsody RFW after qualifying in the Mitsubishi Motors Regional Final held at BE’s Bold Heath Horse Trials last August. A dressage score of 24.8 penalties put the combination in contention for a good placing as they moved onto the jumping phases later. Walker, who has recently returned from three months travelling around Asia and Australia, and her 10-year-old mare held their nerve to come home with a clear sheet from both the show jumping and cross-country phases.
With no penalties to add to their excellent dressage score, Walker lifted the trophy on the first BE90 Mitsubishi Motors Cup. “I only arrived home five weeks ago, it’s been a big team effort to keep her going. She was a pure dressage mare and used to jump like a racehorse but she flew around here, she was amazing.
Second place went to Jessie Vanassche, 22, from the Isle of Wight, riding her own Da Vinci II. Vanassche, and her 13 year old gelding finished on their dressage score of 25.3 penalties to secure the runner up spot ahead of Emily Taggart and Solo XII. Taggart from Dorking and her 17.2hh gelding led the dressage phase on an incredible score of 22.6 penalties, before adding two time penalties from the cross-country phase for coming home too quick which sadly cost them the class win and dropping them to third place.
Fourth placed Karon Carson, 43, picked up the Keep Kicking on Trophy with her own Finding Nico. She had a great weekend, adding nothing to her 25.9 penalty dressage score to finish just 0.5 penalties outside of the top three.