Cornishman Andrew Williams is Bicton league champion
PUBLISHED: 12:42 14 September 2017 | UPDATED: 12:42 14 September 2017
Cornishman Andrew Williams took Bicton Arena’s JP Equestrian Points League after a summer of exceptional results that saw him top the leader board and win a complete showjump, plus a plethora of merchandise, writes Lucy Johnson.
His wins included a 1.30m at the venue’s recent four-day September show aboard his own Codar, whose exceptional performances against top flight company this season have earned the combination widespread accolades.
Andrew said: “I was given the ride on him when he was a six-year-old as he was proving quite a difficult ride. We seemed to click, and his owner decided to sell him. Since then we haven’t looked back.
“He’s an absolutely gorgeous horse and is very special. We thought he’d be a consistent 1.30 horse, but he’s proving far better than that and has been jumping double clears at 1.50, was second in the Area Trial at Royal Cornwall and won a 1.35m class at Hickstead against a field of 250 and was second in the 1.30m there, too. He’s absolutely phenomenal.”
Bicton’s concluding outdoor show of the season proved a happy hunting ground for Andrew, who took a team of eight horses including his other top ride, the well-known grey Bodieve Toyboy, who is owned by Nancy Phillips and was fourth in the 1.35m Grand Prix.
“All the horses were incredible and jumped so well, including two six-year-olds who jumped clear in the Grade C qualifier, and our spotted stallion, Tresaison Ricochet, who was also placed,” said Andrew, who recently relocated to South Molton in Devon with his partner Juliet Vinall-Brown.
He continued: “It’s made a huge difference as, before, it took us three hours to get to Bicton, which is our nearest show, and now we’re on the M5 in 20 minutes.
“We have a much bigger catchment area of shows, and it’s so much better for the horses as they aren’t on the lorry as long,” explained Andrew, who combines running a busy competition yard with equine dentistry.
Also in the ribbons was fellow Cornishman Sammi Jo Coffin, who was back in the saddle just four weeks after an operation to mend a broken collar bone.
Sammi Jo explained: “I had a fall eight weeks ago, and carried on riding, until an X-ray four weeks later revealed the break. I’ve had it plated and was on the easy list for a couple of weeks, but all the horses have come back in great form.”
Sammi Jo, second to Andrew in the 1.30m, also won the 1.30m Grand Prix on her 14-year-old chestnut Willem De Luxe, whose consistent form has seen them win at Hickstead and the Horse of the Year Show.
“He felt really great and jumped a super double clear. He heads to Newbury Show this weekend,” said Sammi Jo, who rode 11 horses over the course of the weekend, including Warchant, a one metre winner, and Georgina Stokes’ Catch The Pigeon, who won a foxhunter.
There was more Cornish success with Adam Ellery winning a foxhunter on his own Jeres De Verdem and Andrew James a newcomers on Gemma Be.
Three horse and riders tied for the prestigious HOYS Grade 3 qualifier, which had been re-routed from Pembrokeshire Show, with Will Fletcher, Emily Rowe and Gail Burchmore, whose partner Alan Thomas had instigated the class, gaining their tickets.
“We were jumping at Pembrokeshire, and the Grade C was rained off so I picked up the phone and spoke to the team at Bicton saying there was a bunch of us heading to the September show and could they get the class for us,” explained Alan. “And fair play to them for getting it. Bicton is like a second home to us as we come to all the shows and it’s great for Gail to qualify on All Byself. We bought him as a three-year-old in France and he’s done very well this summer, including finishing fourth in the Blue Riband Final at the Scope Festival.”
The show was the conclusion of Bicton Arena’s outdoor season. Arena manager Helen West said: “It’s been a fantastic year and we’re thrilled that Bicton’s reputation as a showjumping venue is growing. We’re looking forward to planning for 2018 during the closed season and will be back on grass in May.”