Equestrian ace Chloe records career-best win

CAREER BEST: Stowmarket equestrian star Chloe Winchester riding Avoca Valkyrie
CAREER BEST: Stowmarket equestrian star Chloe Winchester riding Avoca Valkyrie
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Stowmarket based rider Chloe Winchester recorded a career-best win at Hickstead’s Longines Royal International Horse Show on Saturday.

The 21-year-old won the prestigious 1m50 Templant Events Queen Elizabeth II Cup in the International arena, riding her mother Gillian’s horse Avoca Valkyrie.

Of the 26 starters, six went clear in the first round and earned the right to jump-off against the clock for the honours.

Winchester was the fastest double-clear by a considerable margin, stopping the clock on 49.57 with a slick performance ahead of second-placed 2013 Derby winners Phillip Miller and Caritiar Z on 52.55.

On her victory, Winchester said: “It’s definitely the biggest win of my career. I’m very surprised, it’s a dream come true.

“The plan was to just keep going forward because I knew Phillip was coming after me. We’re off to the Europeans next week so it’s set us up really well for that.”

She paid homage to the horse, who was eventing before Chloe found her.

She said: “She had previously been jumping up to one metre 30 but she’s done everything for me, she’s taken me up to one metre 50. She’s just gone amazingly, better than we ever could have hoped for.

“It’s such a prestigious class. It was a very strong track and I thought it would suit her, there’s lots of space.

“I think I found time on the turns and going straight over the boxes. I obviously did more kicking and flapping than Phillip.”

Winchester was also presented with the Cindy Mead Memorial Trophy for the highest placed under-25 rider.

As one of the biggest outdoor shows in the country, the Longines Royal International Horse Show in West Sussex uniquely sees equestrian’s elite from a variety of disciplines compete side-by-side.

The six-day horse show is one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions in the calendar, and also hosts a leg of the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup Series, providing the British public their only chance to see their national showjumping team compete on home turf.