Yasmin Ingham produced a superb ride to win the prestigious SAP Cup at CHIO Aachen in Germany at the weekend.
The Greeba equestrian star, who won individual gold at the World Eventing Championships last year riding Banzai du Loir, represented Great Britain at the high-profile event in the western German city. She was hoping for a good result to earn selection to this summer’s European Eventing Championships.
Once more riding Banzai – also known as Piglet – the duo got off to a blistering start in Friday morning’s dressage round with a score of 23.5 which placed her at the top of the individual rankings and also helped place GB high up in the team class.
Unfortunately, despite jumping clear, the 26 year old picked up some time faults during the showjumping round later that day that dropped her down to third place overnight.
The following morning, Yaz needed to produce a clear jumping round in the cross-country section and set off in determined fashion, producing a great ride to record the fastest time of the day which was only four seconds over the optimum time of 6min 55sec.
Ingham and Banzai then faced an anxious wait to see how their rivals fared, notably German star Michael Jung in second place and GB team-mate Tom McEwen who led going into the final round.
The latter pairings could only afford to be six seconds over the optimum time and, when Jung finished seven seconds over, it left the three-time Olympic gold medallist 0.1s behind Ingham.
All eyes were then on McEwen as the last rider out but, when his horse made contact with fence 18, a sensational victory was confirmed for Ingham.
Speaking to Eventing Nation afterwards, a delighted Yaz commented: ‘It feels so surreal. I just never thought it was going to happen – to be here at this sort of calibre event with my best horse.
Talking about Banzai, Yaz added: ‘He’s my best friend; I love him to bits, and to show him off to everybody and try and get the best out of him is so great. He certainly did that, so to come out on top feels incredibly special. It’s just been amazing to be here all week, and the vibes have been so good, with great team spirit. I really enjoyed it. I tried to stick to my plan when I walked the course and luckily everything sort of came up as I hoped it would. I’m proud of myself and proud of him – hopefully we can keep improving now.’
Ingham’s performances also helped Great Britain claim bronze in the team class behind runners-up USA and winners Germany.
l Banzai is owned by the the Sue Davies Trust and Janette Chinn. Yaz is supported by Isle of Man Sport and the British Equestrian World Class programme.