Do young horse class winners go on to be successful at the top level of the sport? It’s a much-asked question, so we decided to delve into the archives and find out what happened to the previous British Eventing six-year-old winners, ahead of this week’s championship (8-11 October 2020).
This class ran at intermediate novice level at Tweseldown initially, before moving to Osberton and becoming a CCI2*-S (previously CIC*). This week’s class runs at Thoresby, as a one-off because of complications related to the Coronavirus pandemic.
British Eventing six-year-old winners at Tweseldown
2003 – Woodlands Unique Comet
This stallion by The Star Of Orion won the first six-year-old championship, back in 2003, ridden by Sacha Pemble (now Hourigan). Afterwards, he moved up the grades, achieving many placings at intermediate, open intermediate and two-star (now three-star) level. He completed two CIC3*s (now CCI4*-Ss) before finishing his eventing career after the 2007 season.
2004 – Opposition Heracles
Another stallion, Opposition Heracles won the six-year-old class under Dan Jocelyn, but then had a number of different riders including Izzy Taylor, Pippa Funnell, Sam Griffiths, Kitty Boggis (now King) and Kirsty Johnston (now Chabert, pictured above). He was successful up to intermediate and two-star (now three-star) level and he finished third in the CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) at Hartpury in 2006 with Pippa Funnell. His final rider was Yasmin Sanderson and he last competed in 2015.
2005 – Salerno
Sarah Bullimore’s ride was the first of the six-year-old champions to make it all the way to the top-level in eventing. After finishing eighth at Blenheim CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) in 2009, he completed Badminton in 2010.
2006 – Granntevka Prince
One of the most high-profile champions in his later career. Ridden by Lucy Wiegersma (now McCarthy), Granntevka Prince won Blenheim CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) in 2009 and stepped up to four-star (now five-star) later that year at Pau, finishing fourth. He completed three more four-stars with Lucy, including a ninth place at Luhmühlen and 23rd at Burghley, before spending his final competition years giving experience to Janou Bleekman, who rides for the Netherlands. He was a young rider team silver and individual bronze medallist for Janou in 2017 at Millstreet. He was put down in 2018.
2007 – Redesigned
Another hugely successful winner. Redesigned and Pippa Funnell won Bramham CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) in 2010 and were fifth as individuals at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky that autumn. The horse had multiple four-star (now five-star) entries and starts in his later career, but injury prevented him from ever quite hitting the heights his talent deserved, although he was 12th at Badminton 2015 and 16th at Burghley in 2013.
2008 – DHI Vitesse
DHI Vitesse won Houghton CCI* (now CCI2*-L) with Brook Staples the year after his six-year-old victory and in 2010 he was third in the eight- and nine-year-old class at Blenheim. The ride then moved to Chloe Newton, but the horse only competed four more times, with a couple of placings at one-day events.
2009 – Wapiti
Kylie Roddy competed Wapiti a few more times after their win at Tweseldown, then in 2013 he moved to Catherine Sadler. The pair enjoyed placings and wins at BE100 and novice level over the next four seasons, including 12th place in the novice restricted championship at the Festival of British Eventing in 2015.
British Eventing six-year-old winners at Osberton
2009 – Persimmon
A huge star. Persimmon went on to win six more times at international level with Kitty King and finish second at Bramham CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) before capping his eventing career with team silver and individual fourth at the European Championships at Blair Castle. After falling out of love with dressage, he moved to Will Fletcher as a showjumper and in this second career he has been under-18 champion at the 2017 British Showjumping National Championships, a young rider team silver medallist in 2018 and third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at the Royal International in 2019.
2012 – Belco HRS
Tom How and Belco HRS won the seven-year-old championships a year after their six-year-old victory and enjoyed success at open intermediate and CIC2* (now CCI3*-S) the following season before Piggy French (now March) took over in 2015. She scored four wins on the horse, culminating in the CCI2* (now CCI3*-L) at Weston Park. The ride then moved to Tom’s sister Sophie and she enjoyed success at open novice and CIC* (now CCI2*-S) level on Belco HRS, before his final competitions, at grassroots level, with Jonathan Procter in 2019.
2013 – Ceylor LAN
Four times an international winner since his six-year-old victory, including in the CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) at Tattersalls in 2015, and he has had numerous placings too. Ceylor LAN and Kitty King were selected for the British team for the Rio Olympics in 2016, where they finished 30th after 20 jumping penalties across country. Two years later, he proved himself at five-star with fourth in the CCI4* (now CCI5*) at Luhmühlen.
2014 – Reinstated
Reinstated was second in the CCI2* (now CCI*-L) at Tattersalls in 2015 and won twice at British one-days, before a fall in the seven-year-old championships at Le Lion d’Angers in which William suffered a serious head injury. William said at the time this was the first mistake the horse had ever made and he bore no grudge, riding him for a Horse & Hound photoshoot the following spring. Harry Meade, Hector Payne and William all competed Reinstated in 2016, his final year in the sport.
2015 – Billy Walk On
Billy Walk On had four top-two placings in internationals the year after his six-year-old victory, including second in both the national and world seven-year-old championships. Since then he has moved up the grades successfully, with highlights including second at Chatsworth CIC3* (now CCI4*-S) in 2018 and sixth at Blenheim CCI4*-L in 2019. He has started at both Badminton and Burghley but has yet to complete a five-star.
2016 – Sankro
Sankro has had a number of placings at intermediate and CIC2*/CCI3*-S level with both Amy O’Connor – his rider at the championships – and her husband Austin. Amy and Sankro were recently third in a CCI3*-S at Wellington.
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2017 – AKD Corline
AKD Corline had a couple of placings at one-day events in 2018 with Piggy French (now March), but has not competed since.
2018 – Weston Goodfella
Oliver Townend won two open novices on this horse in the spring of 2019, before the ride passed to Meghan Healy. She has won four times at open novice level with him and had a second place at intermediate at Burnham Market in September 2010.
2019 – Izilot DHI
So far, so good. Ros Canter and Izilot DHI have been placed every time out this season, winning the CCI2*-L at Burgham and finishing fourth when the horse stepped up to CCI3*-S at Cornbury.
Pictures by Stephen Sparkes, trevor-meeks-photography.co.uk, Hamish Mitchell, Real Time Imaging/Steve Dawe and Peter Nixon
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