For the first time in his long career, Robert Smith has topped the BSJA rider rankings list. This is the also the only time for 18 years that a name other than John and Michael Whitaker or Nick Skelton has led the list at the end of a full year.

The Warwickshire-based Yorkshireman achieved a long-held ambition by becoming Britain’s number one and will now try to qualify for the World Cup final in Las Vegas (16-20 April). This would be his first appearance since 1987.

“This is the first time I’ve had the horses to challenge the top riders,” said Robert, 41, who is aiming for a place on this year’s European Championship team.

Robert is also Britain’s leading owner winning more than £100,000 in prize money during the past year, while his top horse Mr Springfield was narrowly pipped at the post by Ann Bedford’s great stallion Handell II for the leading horse title.

Two younger riders made also a huge step forward in 2002. Richard Davenport, who celebrated his 23rd birthday recently, finished the year as Britain’s number five, while Robert Whitaker, who still has two years left in the young rider category, lifted himself to seventh place overall.

Di Lampard retains her position as Britain’s leading lady rider with an overall rankingof eighth and more than double the points of her nearest rival, Corinne Collins.

BSJA rankings — 1 January-31 December 2002

Overall riders

1, Robert Smith, 3,235 points; 2, Michael Whitaker, 3,021; 3, John Whitaker, 2,397; 4, Tim Stockdale, 2,179; 5, Richard Davenport, 1,270; 6, Andrew Davies, 1,219; 7, Robert Whitaker, 1,190; 8, Di Lampard, 1,180; 9, Will Funnell, 1,049; 10, Peter Charles, 837; 11, Scott Smith, 759; 12, John Renwick, 758; 13, Mark Armstrong, 647; 14, Nick Skelton, 622; 15, Keith Shore, 618; 16, John Popely, 601; 17, Mennell Watson, 577; 18, Cameron Hanley, 573; 19, Corinne Collins, 552; 20, Paul Barker, 535.

Lady riders

1, Di Lampard, 1,180; 2, Corinne Collins, 552; 3, Veronique Whitaker, 414; 4, Alex Newsham, 341; 5, Jane Annett, 261; 6, Ellen Whitaker, 208; 7, Sharon Quigley, 189; 8, Tracey Newman, 155; 9, Aileen Craig, 143; 10, Lisa Murphy, 141.

Young riders

1, Robert Whitaker, 1,190; 2, Jamie Wingrave, 266; 3, Lee Williams, 221; 4, Ellen Whitaker, 208; 5, Stuart Neads, 149; 6, Kate Mead, 120; 7, Louise Pavitt, 120; 8, Matthew Broome, 104; 9, James Davenport, 101; 10, Douglas Duffin, 96.

Owners1, R Smith, £108,769; 2, A Bedford, £80,402; 3, C Garratt & Fresh Direct, £64,683; 4, M Hall, £56,974; 5, M Dawes, £51,960; 6, M Whitaker, £47,132; 7, D & P Cornish, £46,156; 8, C Whitaker & Dr P Bauer, £34,996; 9, M Dawson, £31,746; 10, J & L Hales, £31,342.

Horses

1, Handel II, £80,402; 2, Mr Springfield, £74,896; 3, Fresh Direct Parcival, £53,903; 4, Marius Claudius, £46,156; 5, Lord Z, £34,996; 6, Limbo V, £31,890; 7, Abbervail Dream, £30,630; 8, Landfurst 6 FC, £29,277; 9,Cabri D’Elle, £28,669; 10, Quinten II, £28,650.

148cm

1, New York Spritzer, £6,061; 2, Mister Amontilano, £6,032; 3, New York Skyline, £5,559; 4, Colton Maelstrom, £4,509; 5, Okehurst Showman, £4,067; 6, Mystery Music, £4,056;7, CJ’s Kemosabi, £3,425; 8, Loobeen Shamrock. £2,886; 9, Top Knotch III, £2,584; 10, Master Bill, £2,525.

138cm

1, Colour Code, £2,787; 2, Spirit Of Bodecia, £1,887; 3, Mystic Starlite Express, £1,758; 4, Lakeland Little Cracker, £1,733; 5, Silverlea Rozencavalier, £1,467; 6, Guinness Special, £1,460; 7, Royal Declan, £1,392; 8, My Gizmo, £1,379; 9, Mars Kyfe Jake, £1,338; 10, Polly Flinders II, £1,327.

128cm

1, Spring Disney, £1,769; 2, J’s Junior, £1,640; 3, Tiger Tim, £1,603; 4, Sligo Lucky, £1,493; 5, Proud Flyer, £1,485; 6, Skibbereen Girl, £1,414; 7, Ballyclough Tess, £1,398; 8, Just Cyber Space, £1,230; 9, Hollyoaks, £1,190; 10, Midnight Dynamite, £1,066.

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