Kathryn Ellison hailed the biggest win of her career after posting a stylish victory in the prestigious Speedi-Beet Grade C Championship at Horse of the Year Show.
The West Dorset showjumper emerged victorious with her home-bred nine-year-old bay mare, Cherokee Bay, following a five horse jump-off, clocking a time of 42.93 seconds.
She won by almost a two-second margin from Joe Clayton and Eye Catcher, while Will Fletcher rode Persimmon – fourth-placed finisher at the 2015 European Eventing Championships with Olympian Kitty King – into third spot.
Joe Fernyhough and Calcourt Quicktime finishing fourth whilst the fifth and final jump-off rider Chloe Winchester finished in fifth place despite having posted the fastest time as a result of lowering two fences.
Previous winners of the Grade C Championship include Tim Stockdale, Billy Twomey and William Funnell, and Kathryn had no doubt where her impressive victory ranks.
“It means everything,” she said. “It is the biggest win of my career. To do it on a big stage like this one is fantastic. I did not expect it for a moment. I had nothing to lose after making the jump-off, and it was about making the most of it.
“She is a horse that we produced from the start – she is home-bred – and I think she has got all the ability in the world. I get more nervous in the qualifiers for Horse of the Year Show. Once you have got here, that is what you are aiming for, so you might as well enjoy it. I knew we were capable. I know the atmosphere is different, but you just have to ignore that. That’s my job.”