It was a Swedish family affair in the final CSI2* class of the Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show when brother and sister Viggo and Alma Björklund took the top two places in the 1.45m Accumulator sponsored by Johnsons Printers.
The class format sees riders gain points for each fence jumped, with 65 the maximum score, and all ties on that total are then separated by time.
Second in to the arena, Alma Björklund and Unex Capital Chaos 8 went in to the lead on the maximum score in a time of 55.10 seconds. American rider Brieanne Dofort slotted in to second place later in the competition when stopping the clock at 58.87 seconds but all eyes focussed on Björklund’s younger brother Viggo who stormed in to the lead nearly a second faster than his sibling to cross the finish beam in 54.22 seconds.
The challengers that followed included Jack Whitaker with Gentlemenv/h Veldhof who completed in 57.33 seconds which was not good enough to overtake the Swedish leaders but saw him take third place in the overall standings.
‘I didn’t see Alma go but I figured I would do my best and hopefully it would work out,’ said Viggo speaking after his win.
‘We’re both trained by Eddie Macken who has done it all before. When he tells you something, you know he’s right.’
‘There have been some tough enough courses this week but the show has been super nice and definitely a great experience for both of us,’ commented Alma.
Earlier in the day, Christopher Smith came out on top in the 1.30m CSI2* Table A class sponsored by Horse & Hound. Out of the sixty starters, eighteen came into the deciding round where the lead changed hands several times. Irish rider Conor Swail held poll position for a time, delivering a polished performance with Dynamite N in a time of 42.99 seconds.
Michael Pender and Doriena were next into the arena and knocked almost six seconds off the target but a lowered rail at the Butterfly fence dropped them down the final rankings. Entering the arena five horses later, James Davenport joined Swail at the top of the leaderboard for a time, clocking an identical time.
With just five combinations left to come forward, Cheshire rider Christopher Smith and Elmo Hill delivered one of the best rounds of the day, breaking the beam at 41.24 seconds. The final rider, Chloe Winchester (Dolanda) was determined to give it her best and looked to be going faster throughout but a rub of the rail over the oxer at seven put them out of contention.
‘He’s an eight year old that qualified for the Talent Seekers at HOYS just a few weeks ago,’ said Smith of Elmo Hill, a gelding he owns with Gillian Milner. ‘I’ve had a bit of an unlucky show so far but everything fell into place today.’
‘He has a big rangy stride and in these big rings you cover more ground than you think.’
On his first Bolesworth experience, Smith commented ‘For me, this show is an hour away, I think you could go anywhere in the world and not find a show as good as this.’