James Billington won the first major championship of the Scope BSJA Festival when Lady Des Hayettes stormed home in the Pessoa Championship.

Young rider reserves at the European championships, James and Michael Whitaker’s Lady Des Hayettes set off at the gallop, and the 21-year-old rider hardly took a pull after that.

“We had little option but to take a few risks, but she is a very brave mare” said James.

The Pessoa Championship is a new series which has offered performance related points to young riders at qualifiers held though the summer. Heading the overall points table, was junior European team member Philippa Dobby, who finished third here riding Utah VII.

The top prize, a week long training bursary with three times world cup winner, and Olympic gold medallist Rodrigo Pessoa certainly gave riders added incentive throughout the series.

“To be given the chance to train with Rodrigo is a fabulous prize to win” said Philippa.

Another last drawn pair took the honours in the Derby House National Senior British Novice Championship. Michaela Webb and Boheme Van De Ganzenakker pulled out all the stops to relegate Jayne Dobson riding Werina. Michaela, who is trained by Tim Stockdale, is just four months into her partnership with the Pilot-sired six-year-old.

The Petplan Equine Newcomer Masters developed into a thrilling climax. Phillip Miller riding Di and Pennie Cornish’s Univeau lead from the outset to clinch the first ticket on offer to the Horse of the Year.

Also qualifying for Birmingham were second placed Coral Mowbray (Corinthus), and Charlotte Flack (UFO III) and Sharon Quigley (Sumas Sound of Music), who finished fifth and sixth respectively as the third and fourth placed riders were already qualified.


Don’t miss Horse & Hound’s full report of all the action from Scope in 6 September magazine