Bicton Arena’s first ever jockeys versus show jumpers versus eventers challenge for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund’s Oaksey House (on Friday, 23 August) had everything to keep a large crowd entertained.
There were jockeys’ with navigation problems, a show jumper taking a spectacular fall, cries of foul play and unfair advantage, mostly from the jockeys, poles flying and horses refusing to jump the replica chase fence but it was all in a good cause and over £1,000 was raised for the charity.
Joe Tizzard, who managed to fell every fence, said: “That’s a great way to raise money for a really good cause, and the atmosphere was fantastic. Although next year I’m going to ride a pony because it might jump a bit better!”
Jerry McGrath, who rode Laura Collett’s four star event horse Noble Bestman, said: “It was great fun and for a good cause.”
The competition took the form of a relay with two teams taking part at a time racing each other down a complicated line of show jumps. Five seconds was added for each pole down and the fastest time went through to the next round.
Tizzard jumped first for the jockeys and knocked down every jump. Then Mikey Ennis, trainer Daivd Pipe’s amateur rider, lost his way, and Josh Boudains and Jenny Powell, both flat jockeys, had two poles each.
Opposing them was a show jumping team consisting of Mikey Tuff, Jess Beadman, Sophie Digby and Charlotte Goord whose more refined efforts put them through to the second round finishing on 160 seconds compared to the jockeys’ score of 209 seconds.
The second jockeys’ team comprising Jack Doyle, Jerry McGrath, Matt Griffiths and Giles Hawkins opposed the eventers’ team of Althea and Janou Bleekman, Tim Rogers and Lucy Loughton. A far more polished effort from the jockeys put them on 178 seconds, but the eventers had 20 seconds in hand and were through to the next round.
Event riders Helen West, Aaron Miller, Rosie Fry and Laura Collett, on board her Pony European partner Noble Springbok, rode against show jumpers Sophie Stockdale, James Emblem, Toby Gardner and Tom Roach with the latter team winning.
Then the show jumpers Eurig Enyon, Andrew Williams, Andrew James, and Andrew Davies beat the Mix and Match team of jockey David Noonan, Bicton’s Matt Lynch, Andrew Parkin and Kim Simpson and then jumped the final fence again team chase style.
Two teams went through to the final, and after a stop following a fall from Sophie Stockdale, Althea and Janou Bleekman, both from Cullompton, Axminster’s Tim Rogers, and Lucy Loughton from Newton Abbot were crowned the first ever winners of the competition.
Organiser Helen West said: “It was a brilliant competition and very entertaining. We are so thankful to all the riders for taking part and also our sponsors Wrays Jewellers of Kingsbridge and Teign Valley Golf Club who put up the prize money. It’s certainly going to become a yearly event and all the riders have pledged that they want to take part again next year.”
Pictured: Jockey Joe Tizzard, courtesy of Wincanton Racecourse.