Katherine Illingworth had the thrill of a lifetime when winning the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championship (BE100) held at Badminton on Philip Adkins’ Ballinoecastle Q, a seven-year-old by Obos Quality.
Katherine, 27, who acts as head girl for Philip’s Cadenza Eventing yard in Northamptonshire, added nothing to her dressage score of 29.5 to finish 1.5 penalties ahead of Hannah Taylor, who has a threefold career as an engineering student, part-time rider and pet portraitist, riding her own Legaland Best One. Katie Stephens-Grandy, a farmer and photographer from North Yorkshire, was third on Trendy Magic Touch.
This is a big day for amateur riders who unanimously declared their day on the hallowed turf of the Badminton park to be ‘brilliant’. ‘The atmosphere is fantastic, everyone helps you,’ said Katherine, who was quick to pay tribute to her employer: ‘I am very lucky to compete Philip’s horses and I can’t thank him enough. He has put a lot of work and money into my riding.’
Siobhan Heneghan won the BE90 championship on her mother Lisa’s Mermured Promise, an 11-year-old, Irish-bred, iron-grey gelding by Mermus. She finished on her dressage score of 28, 1.5 penalties clear of runner-up Laura Gibson, a veterinary physiotherapist, on Sally Hayward’s Gortglas Moonshine. Third was Megan Elphick on her own Jamelia.
‘This has been the best experience ever,’ said Siobhan, a 20-year-old trainee accountant from south Oxfordshire. ‘I just wanted to come here and have a nice time – I never expected to win,’
‘Having the Voltaire Design Grassroots Championships at Badminton is absolutely key to British Eventing,’ said BE’s chief executive Helen West. ‘It is the pinnacle for our grass-roots members and it’s our crown jewels. It is what so many of our members aspire to do and in competing here today they have achieved a lifetime ambition, and that is very, very special.’
Full results on www.www.eventingscores.co.uk