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EQUESTRIANISM: Future stars at Moreton.

Byline: KATE HEALEY

NEARLY 80 of the most promising young riders in the British Isles flocked to Warwickshire College at Moreton Morrell to contest a prestigious national show jumping championship for pony club riders.

They were taking part in the Dengie Pony Club Winter League Championships, having gained their places from over 5,000 entries that filled the early qualifying rounds of this hugely popular series.

Local course designer Steve Martin was in charge of creating the course for the final, producing a ten-fence track that required riders to think carefully about their chosen line.

The standard was so high that 34 of the starters jumped clear over the track that included two combinations to make it into the timed jump-off, where Northern Ireland rider Laura Brown set a target early on with a superb clear round that featured a daring turn into the combination - the third fence on the shortened course.

No one could get within a second of Laura's time to provide the 13-year- old with an impressive win.

Henley on Thames rider Elder Scouller, riding for the South Oxon Hunt South Pony Club, came from the final draw to slot into second, with Northern rider Samantha Magenis nearly another second behind in third.

Best placed Midlands rider was Marchington's Emma Tideswell, 15, who finished fifth on her 13hh grey mare Fleur.

Two riders from the North Warwickshire Pony Club - James Oliver Byrne and James Hiatt - were among the qualifiers for the final, a notable achievement in itself.

Oliver had achieved the even rarer distinction of getting two rides through to the championships, but luck was not quite on his side.

The Ufton-based 13-year-old came in first on his horse April Star X, who had the third fence down and just nudged a pole off number eight, in what was otherwise a good round.

He then came in on his pony Gemstone Golden Toffee, who has qualified for next month's Blue Chip national show jumping championships at Solihull, only to again go out on eight faults.

James Hiatt, who will soon celebrate his 16th birthday and lives at Bascote, rode the 17hh liver chestnut gelding Bascote Bruce. The horse was one of the biggest in the final and James used the arena well, only to nudge a pole off the upright at fence five and undeservedly miss out on a jump- off place.

Both riders have been on show jumping teams before, with Hiatt reprsenting the North Warwickshire in the Pony Club team competition run alongside the famous Burghley three day event last year and Oliver taking part in the National Schools Championship at Hickstead.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 30, 2002
Words:437
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