Angus Smales took home the biggest prize ever offered in JumpCross when he won £2,500 in the inaugural Lincoln JumpCross Eventer’s Challenge last Tuesday.
“JumpCross is a new sport to me and I will certainly be coming back. It is great fun and really tests both the horses and rider,” said Angus, pictured right receiving his prize from Anna Clarke, equine commercial manager of Lincoln’s parent company Battles and Battles’ chairman Jim Bowen.
“The organising team must be thanked for all their hard work on the ground, it was perfect and all credit to Robin [Dunlop, organiser and course-designer] and his team. JumpCross is easy to understand, is exciting and great for spectators — it would make brilliant TV coverage.”
Angus rode Patti Bulman’s It’s A Jackpot (pictured left in action at the competition), a 10-year-old who recently finished 25th in the CCI** at Houghton with a double jumping clear.
In JumpCross, horse and rider do a timed round across the country, tackling obstacles such as water as in traditional cross-country riding, but all the fences can be knocked down. Riders receive a 20sec penalty for each fence down and 50sec for a refusal.
In this challenge, which attracted a host of top names competing for a total prize-fund of £5,000, the fences were 3ft 6in to 3ft 9in.
There were also two optional joker fences, about 6in higher than the other fences, which could earn riders a 40sec penalty or a 40sec time reduction, depending on whether they knocked them down or cleared them.
Angus was fourth after the first round, which was headed by Ireland’s Mark Kyle, on Step In Time II. But in the second round Angus successfully cleared the joker twice and had just one other fence down to move up to top spot.
Clayton Fredericks was second on Mr Miller, with Mark finishing up third.
An annual event
Robin Dunlop, who first had the idea for JumpCross and hosted this competition at the sport’s headquarters, Grange Farm, Wittering, was delighted with how the event went.
“When we started JumpCross nine years ago we had the top names try it to see if it was safe, and this is the first time we’ve asked them back,” he said. “The sponsors, Battles [Battle, Hayward & Bower, parent company of the Lincoln range] used it as a corporate entertainment day, inviting 200 guests.”
Robin plans to make this an annual event: “It was a good fun day and the riders all want to come back. It was nice to see them all so relaxed, sitting on the grass watching each other’s rounds, which they don’t really get a chance to do at a normal event.”
1st Angus Smales on It’s A Jackpot (GB)
2nd Clayton Fredericks on Mr Miller (AUS)
3rd Mark Kyle on Step In Time II (IRL)
4th Paul Sims on User Friendly (GB)
5th Julia Crowson on Rookie (GB)
6th Oliver Townend on ODT Sonas Rovatio (GB)