For the Billy Stud in Dorking, Surrey it was yet another tremendous showcase for their successful breeding programme and production of quality young sport horses when they took the top two places in the Prestige Italia Big Star 6-year-old Championship on Saturday 8th August 2020.
The almost seventy strong field had been whittled down to just thirteen by the third and final round where only the double clears had been invited to come forward against the clock. Stable rider Lottie Tutt took the early lead with 6-year-old Billy Bakewell (x Billy Mexico) when she finished with just one fence down in a very fast time of 38.66 seconds.
With no combination managing to post a clear up until the final competitor entered the arena in the form of fellow stable rider Lucy Townley it had looked as if Lottie had it in the bag. However, Lucy’s skilful riding with the bay mare Billy Masai (x Billy Um Bongo) saw her put in a foot-perfect and rhythmic clear, the only one of the entire competition, to clinch the win and relegate her colleague Lottie into 2nd place.
Chantelle Duggan with Bonmahon Tailor Made took 3rd place with 4 faults in a time of 41.10 seconds.
For the Billy Stud, a joint venture between William Funnell and Donal Barnwell, it was a very worthy win. Together they have developed a successful breeding programme for the production of homebred British Sport horses, many of whom have gone on to represent Great Britain at Nations Cup and Championship Team level such as Billy Congo, Billy Birr, Billy Angelo, Billy Bishop, Billy McCain, Billy Buckingham and Billy Diamo.
The Championships, which took place at NAF Five Star British Showjumping National Championships at Bolesworth 2020, is named after the phenomenal stallion Big Star, who won Olympic Team Gold in London 2012 and Individual Gold at Rio 2016 with Big Skelton, is the one that everyone producing young horses with their future international careers in mind have their eyes set on. It is the Championships that Big Star, owned by Gary & Beverley Widdowson, won himself as a six-year-old at the start of his career before it was renamed from the National 6 year-olds in acknowledgement of his outstanding achievements.