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Young guns claim British Open tickets

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James Davenport, 21, (pictured) and Tim Gredley, 18, will be heading to Sheffield to compete alongside Britain’s top 12 in the British Open Show Jumping Championships in April after claiming the top two places at the British Open qualifier held at the Addington Classic last weekend.

The tri-competition qualifier proved to be a competitive affair from the outset with many of the country’s well-known names seeking to clinch one of the two available places in the British Open Show Jumping Championships line-up. Britain’s top course builder Bob Ellis challenged the riders in all three parts of the competition to produce three days of intense top class competition.

Davenport was impressively consistent throughout the show and appeared determined to qualify for Sheffield this time, after narrowly missing out last year. He made it clear that history would not be repeated from the start when he stormed to victory on Florie du Molins in the first qualifying round. His consistent performances over the following two days saw him finish top of the leader board on Florie du Molins. His current flying form also saw him share second place on his other mount, Lulu.

Tim Gredley rode with a talent and skill that belies his young age to claim the second ticket, after finishing in equally second place. He made a steady start to his British Open campaign over the first two days to claim seventh place on the leader board, but culminated with a flourish when he held his nerve to win the final competition on Sunday on the scopey Fabriana.

Gredley has already experienced the Sheffield atmosphere first hand, competing in the Young Rider classes and winning the inaugural British Young Riders Classic in 2003, but will be stepping up to compete against the big boys this time. Since joining Robert and Steven Smith some nine-months ago, Gredley has been flying up the British rankings and looks prepared to hold his own in top company.

James’ qualification will ensure that the Davenport family are well supported at the British Open, as his older brother Richard will also be in action through his position as one of the top 12 riders in the country. This will be James’ first appearance at the indoor show.

Show jumping enthusiasts can look forward to seeing Davenport and Gredley in action alongside Britain’s top 12 and a host of international stars as at the British Open Show Jumping Championships at the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield from 7 April to 10 April 2005. For more information and to book tickets visit: www.britishopenshowjumping.com or call (tel: 0114 256 5656).

  • See Horse & Hound’s full report on all the action from the Addington Classic in this Thursday’s magazine (3 February, ’05)