20 riders to watch in 2020 *H&H Plus*

  • Who will be taking the limelight across the disciplines next season? Here’s our pick of the up-and-coming talent with victory in their sights...

    Eventing: Susie Berry

    The Irish event rider took the bridesmaid spot in two three-stars (Burgham and Hartpury) on Jonty Evans’ former ride John The Bull. She was also seventh in the under-25s at Bramham back in June with Stonedge, who has given her some other credible placings at four-star level.

    H&H prediction: after five seasons with Piggy French, Susie will be starting out on her own during 2020. Her top rides John The Bull and Stonedge aren’t showing any signs of slowing down and she also has a handful of talented young horses waiting in the wings.

    Eventing: Bubby Upton

    Bubby (real name Isabelle) was best of the Brits at the young rider Europeans this year, with team gold and individual silver on Cola III. The former junior European champion also consolidated her experience at four-star, with numerous top-12 placings at the level on three different horses.

    H&H prediction: Bubby has one more crack at the young rider Europeans, so expect more medals there, plus we’d hope to see her achieve more placings at four-star and work towards a five-star in 2020 or 2021.

    Eventing: Nicky Hill

    Badminton first-timer Nicky made her mark with 11-year-old MGH Bingo Boy by claiming a creditable 18th place, the highest placed debutant of the competition. This was a strong follow-up to 20th in her first top-level run at Pau in 2018. She also won two eventing grand prix classes, at Hickstead and the Bolesworth Young Horse Championship, on Kilrodan Sailorette.

    H&H prediction: more five-star finishes and valuable experience with the consistent MGH Bingo Boy and perhaps a few more scorching wins in eventing grands prix for Kilrodan Sailorette.

    Showjumping: Amy Inglis

    The 22-year-old has showjumping in her blood, being the daughter of international rider Duncan Inglis. Amy and her chestnut mare Wishes — a horse she’s produced up the levels herself — have landed seven individual youth medals, including bronze at the Young Rider European Championships in Slovakia in 2017. She earned her first call-up for senior Nations Cup teams in 2019.

    H&H prediction: expect her to be a core part of Great Britain’s team endeavours in 2020.

    Showjumping: Charlie Jones

    Charlie, 20, is now fortunate enough to train with both his uncle Nick Skelton and Laura Kraut, and he has made great strides in 2019. A big win at Aintree Equestrian Centre qualified him for the prestigious under-25 British Championship at Olympia in December and he has shown real talent this year producing younger horses.

    H&H prediction: this young talent is laying down the foundations for what will surely be a glittering career. Expect him to step up to the top level.

    Showjumping: Joe Stockdale

    When his father, legendary showjumper Tim Stockdale, died last year, Joe (pictured top) put his cricket career on hold to take the reins on a brace of showjumping rides. In less than a year, the 20-year-old has achieved a phenomenal tally, including a win in the under-25 grand prix at Royal Windsor with the stallion Gunner II and being selected for the young rider squad at the European Championships.

    H&H prediction: some more wins in under-25 ranks as well as some good placings in senior championships.

    Dressage: Sadie Smith

    As an employee of Carl Hester, Sadie has learnt from the best, and after much success at the lower levels, this season she made her debut at grand prix with her own Keystone Dynamite. They’ve notched up some impressive results, culminating in fourth at the nationals.

    H&H prediction: we’d line Sadie up for some big national wins as her Dimaggio gelding keeps improving
    at the level.

    Dressage: Jess Dunn

    After winning team gold and individual bronze at the 2009 Youth Olympic Games, Jess spent three years training in Germany and has gone on to collect numerous regional and national titles during her senior career. Jess upped the stakes during 2019 with the 14-year-old Caricello son Alicante Valley, who has clocked up several victories during his first season at international small tour.

    H&H prediction: Jess has several  talented horses coming through the ranks, including Hokita, MSJ Furstin Florida and Woodcroft Ferdinand. She’ll also continue to campaign Alicante Valley at home and abroad toward grand prix.

    Dressage: Sonnar Murray-Brown

    Sonnar was pitted as one to watch during 2019, but at the start of last year his plans were scuppered when he broke his leg. While out of action, Charlotte Dujardin rode his talented grand prix gelding, Erlentanz. But Sonnar is now back — he scored a 74% grand prix comeback in November — and will be making up for lost time in 2020.

    H&H prediction: Sonnar will build on Erly’s stellar grand prix scores and continue their international career together.

    Showing: Claudia Groves

    Claudia, 11, who races Shetlands, became an internet sensation when a video of her jumping her 11hh Dartmoor pony went viral. Her top ride of 2019 was the Andrews’ 128cm show pony Meadowmarsh Cinderella, who stood third at HOYS.

    H&H prediction: more success on show pony Meadowmarsh Cinderella as well as debuts with two hunter ponies: Sonia Adams’ Springmead Peter Pan, and Sam Groves’ Sunnystone Little Ted.

    Showing: Frankie Currell

    Frankie achieved the biggest win of her career when she piloted catch ride Nantfforchog Blue Moondust for producers Debbie and Ron Thomas to land the mountain and moorland championship at HOYS. The versatile rider also qualified three of her own rides for the final and was placed on her novice Fell Summerhouse Gideon.

    H&H prediction: Frankie will take on plenty of native rides, alongside hitting the Cuddy working hunter qualifier circuit riding her own horse.

    Showing: Stanley Grange Show Team

    The well-established stud and show team, headed up by Jerome Harforth, takes on Scott Dixon as show groom for the 2020 season. Scott has four Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) titles to his name worldwide and has been based with Jayne Ross for the past few seasons. Resident jockey Myles Cooper, another multi-HOYS winner, is also coming up through horse ranks after a prolific career on ponies.

    H&H prediction: Scott will use his talent and experience to showcase Stanley Grange’s ridden and in-hand prospects, while Myles is set to debut three exciting novice prospects, including a small hack and two Up With The Lark-sired riding horses: large contender Stanley Grange Skylark and small ride Comberton Cool Cat, a former Cuddy in-hand finalist.

    Racing: Jonjo O’Neill Jnr

    After a breakthrough season last winter and some winning 2019 rides for his trainer/father Jonjo O’Neill, the young jockey bounced back after fracturing his jaw in the spring.

    H&H prediction: further progression on the track and some additional rides for Colin Tizzard should lead to some decent prizes in 2020.

    Racing: Connor Brace

    Connor has made his mark in the professional jockey ranks in what was his second season after graduating from pointing — he was champion novice point-to-point rider with 21 wins as a 16-year-old. His 2019 accolades include the CPMS Scottish Champion Hurdle with Verdana Blue and the Betway Summer Handicap Hurdle riding Grapevine.

    H&H prediction: now attached to the Fergal O’Brien yard, you can expect to see Connor put up on some quality horses this season.

    Racing: Ben Jones

    A recent recruit from the amateur ranks and now a conditional jockey for Philip Hobbs, Ben clinched the £250,000 Ladbrokes Trophy Chase on De Rasher Counter at Newbury in November.

    H&H prediction: a rising star of the weighing room, Ben is certainly one to watch this season and his conditional jockey claim will be useful.

    Para dressage: Charlotte Cundall

    A former event rider and point-to-point jockey, Charlotte turned to the white boards in 2010 after breaking her back for a second time. The grade V rider has had a super year with LJT Simply Red and BamBam, both in international para dressage and able-bodied.

    H&H prediction: we predict more international para wins for Charlotte in 2020, as she works towards team contention.

    Endurance: Katie Bedwin

    Katie’s 2019 season was wrapped up with six national titles at the Endurance GB awards after a consistent year with Aberllwyd Ibn Phariz, who took reserve young rider national champion in the 120km CEI2* at Kings Forest and won the 164km at Revesby Park. She also won the young rider 80km at Cirencester with Elayla.

    H&H prediction: Katie will move into senior classes and aim to complete the CEI3* with Phariz.

    Point-to-point: Izzie Marshall

    Izzie finished second in the national ladies’ championship behind Gina Ellis in the 2018/19 season, putting her in a good position heading into the new year.

    H&H prediction: look out for Izzie making her mark in open ladies’ ranks with rides courtesy of her trainer Alan Hill, with whom she is based.

    Driving: Ben Lawless

    The 13-year-old hails from driving stock; his grandfather was the head horseman at Whitbury. This year, Ben made his mark in private driving ranks with his own Friesian outfit. His biggest triumph was winning the under-15 young whip at the British Driving Society national championships at Addington.

    H&H prediction: Ben has his sights set on going one better in the junior championships.

    Polo: Hugo Taylor

    The 20-year-old professional has already played alongside many world-class polo players — including Facundo and Gonzalo Pieres. In 2017 he won the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup British Open.

    H&H prediction: with three goals to his name and a good string of horses both in England and in Argentina, expect to see more of Hugo as he goes from strength to strength on the field.

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