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Team NAF Juniors win in Wierden

Thursday 30th May saw the British Junior riders who compete under the title sponsor banner of Team NAF take a triumphant victory in a thrilling Nations Cup in Wierden, The Netherlands.

 Following their first round, the Brits were sat in first place on 4 penalties after two riders jumped clear with the other two just having a single fence down each. This left the team with a fence in hand over both The Netherlands and Spain who were sat on 8 penalties. After the second round, Great Britain and The Netherlands were tied on 8 penalties and the British quartet delivered the win after a nail-biting jump-off for the top spot. The team from Poland climbed up the order to take third.

 Allana Clutterbuck, aged 18, from Upminster, Essex was pathfinder with Vykinbay, a 10-year-old bay gelding owned by Sally Lane and Marina Storgato. Allana and Vykinbay had a single fence down in their first round for 4 penalties. They were determined to deliver a clear in round two which they duly achieved. This combination also got off to a perfect start for GB in the jump-off when they put another clear round onto the leaderboard.

 Next in was Oliver Tuff, aged 16, from Totnes, Devon with Darino B, an 11-year-old bay gelding owned by Jo Bishop and Justin Tuff. The pairing picked up 4 penalties in their first round and then 20 penalties in their second round, but they put this behind them for the jump-off and produced a brilliant clear to put GB in a strong position.

 Jack Whitaker, aged 17, from Whatton, Nottinghamshire was on board Scenletha, a 9-year-old dark brown mare owned by Michael Whitaker and their performances were faultless all afternoon. After jumping a brilliant double clear, Jack put his foot down in the jump-off and delivered yet another clear in a fast time to put the pressure on the team from The Netherlands who at this stage were carrying an 8 penalties alongside two clears in the jump-off.

 Ben Clark, aged 17, from Southampton, Hampshire with Jancovica, a 10-year-old bay mare owned by Kim Clark, was last up. Ben rode a great first round to return home with a clear and in round two, the combination picked 4 penalties. With the Brits being drawn second to go in the jump-off, Ben had to wait and see what all of the other combinations did before knowing whether he’d have to jump again. With the rest of the British team having all jumped clear, all eyes turned to the final rider from The Netherlands, Elize van de Mheen, who needed a zero penalty round to the pressure back onto GB. She looked set to deliver this until the final fence which came down leaving The Netherlands on 4 penalties and Britain on zero. This meant that Britain could not be beaten and as a result, Ben was not required to jump again.

 British Showjumping Youth Team Manager Clare Whitaker said “Each of the four junior riders have been very good this afternoon and it was a good jump-off. Great Britain were drawn second to go in that jump-off and the three horses and riders that jumped in it did a great job of posting clear rounds which eventually meant that Ben didn’t need to jump again. It’s been a good day at the office.”

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