Eventer Gaby Cooke gains surprise British Open ticket

  • Event rider Gaby Cooke, 19, has received a surprise call-up to ride in the indoor cross-country at the British Open Show Jumping Championships (7-10 April).

    For the first time this year, the top two finishers in the open jumping and style (JAS) final — held last Saturday (26 February) at Addington — qualified for the indoor cross-country.

    Gaby (pictured) just missed out on the ticket, finishing third, but news has come in today that second-placed David Doe has decided not to go to the British Open. He will “focus his young horse and his commitment to the Racesafe-sponsored junior squad for the 2010 season”, according to a British Eventing press release.

    His qualification therefore passes to Gaby and her ride, Northcroft Frontier. Gaby still intends to take the horse to the British Open indoor cross-country qualifier at Addington on Friday, in which the top three win a ticket to the British Open.

    “I’m very excited,” said Gaby. “I was really going for it to qualify and I thought I’d left it to one last chance [at Addington]. It’ll be good to get the practice and concentrate on getting things right, not trying to qualify.

    “Northcroft Frontier’s got an unusual style — he goes up on all fours, but he clears everything by feet. Although he’s 17.2hh, he’s fast and agile, so I’ve always thought he’d suit competitions like this, so hopefully we’ll do quite well if I can keep everything together.”

    Gaby is based in Oakham, Rutland, and has been riding full-time since 2008. She was a member of the British junior squad at Thirlestane in 2008 with Northcroft Frontier and runner-up in the national under-21 championships at Weston that year.

    The second British Open qualifier from the JAS Finals was Wills Goodhew, 18, who won the open JAS final on More Luck and is also looking forward to heading to the Birmingham NEC for the British Open.

    Full report of the JAS Finals in Horse & Hound this Thursday, 4 March.

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