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Masters triumph for Kirkcudbright rider

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By Thomas Hanley
Sport
Masters triumph for Kirkcudbright rider

GLORIOUS sunshine preceded victory for a Kirkcudbright's James Smith at this year's British Masters International show jumping event.

One of the larger competitions in the British equestrian calendar, The Masters at Wettenhall, Cheshire yet again delivered world-class, intense competition between some of the strongest international horse and rider partnerships.

Audible tension could be detected from the crowd when the final fence fell for a couple of otherwise penalty-free partnerships, adding to the drama before the Dumfries and Galloway rider on Balibu stepped up.

Smith’s experience was fully on show as he skillfully manouvered around the tricky 13-fence track on the 12-year-old horse who he has ridden for only six months.

The win confirmed Smith’s own strong belief in the mount which seems destined for further success.

He said: “This is quite a big competition. It’s one of the biggest in England, and most of the best riders in the UK were here.

“We were one of the ten pairings to make it through to the jump-off and there were a few fast riders so we knew it would be tough.

“We’ve been jumping a lot of good rounds recently though and knocking on the door, so I knew it had to come.”

With the British Masters one of the final opportunities to see some of Team GB and other international leading riders in action prior to the Olympic Games, Smith spoke of his own ambitions to win even more honours.

He said: “I just want to continue this consistent form and hopefully get selected for the British team going forward. I’d like to compete in the Nations Cup next year.”

 

 

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