Victory for Cupar’s Alana Hood at qualifier for 2024 international horse show final

Cupar's Alana Hood on Malibu Sunset B at Aintree (Photo by Majestic Photography)Cupar's Alana Hood on Malibu Sunset B at Aintree (Photo by Majestic Photography)
Cupar's Alana Hood on Malibu Sunset B at Aintree (Photo by Majestic Photography)
Cupar’s Alana Hood has guaranteed qualification for next year’s Royal International Horse Show final at West Sussex’s Hickstead showground with victory on her horse Malibu Sunset B at the first of the British Riding Club’s novice winter championships.

The 23-year-old showjumper was among 16 of the original 80 starters to post clear rounds over a 12-fence course at Merseyside’s Aintree International Equestrian Centre this month, starting at a height of 1.10m, to qualify for a jump-off.

Times got quicker as riders negotiated challeges such as the inside turn to a parallel at three and the tight inside option to the penultimate double.

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Hood pulled off both with aplomb, guiding the seven-year-old mount she’s been riding for the last year to victory by a wafer-thin margin of 0.12 of a second, forcing previous front-runner William Walker on Titanium IV to settle for second place, though he had the consolation of claiming the other qualifying place on offer.

“I got a good forward pace, especially to the midway Andrews Bowen oxer,” said Hood.

“She’s very quick but I’ve never put pressure on her in a jump-off before and she coped very well.

“She’s sassy and only did a little bit of eventing previously. I don’t think she liked cross-country but she has developed a love for showjumping.”

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Hood is looking forward to returning to West Sussex in 2024, saying: “We competed at the Hickstead September tour and she qualified to jump in the main arena, taking it all in her stride.”

Further qualifiers follow at Northcote Stud near Blackburn in Lancashire next month, Arena UK at Allington in Lincolnshire at the end of November and into December, Hartpury University in Gloucestershire just ahead of Christmas, Warwickshire’s Onley Grounds Equestrian Complex in January, Cheshire’s Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre later that same month, South View Competition and Training Centre, also in Cheshire, in February and Buckinghamshire’s Addington Equestrian Centre in March, with two further venues yet to be confirmed.

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