Bramham debut will give Phil Brown plenty of incentive

Scarborough eventer Phil Brown and his horse Jules pictured at The Meadows Stables in Folkton. (Picture: Richard Ponter)
Scarborough eventer Phil Brown and his horse Jules pictured at The Meadows Stables in Folkton. (Picture: Richard Ponter)
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SCARBOROUGH eventer Phil Brown says he will fulfil a childhood dream when making his eagerly-awaited debut at the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials.

Next week’s event presents Brown’s CCI three-star debut – but already the Yorkshireman has designs of stepping out at a CCI four-star.

The Yorkshire Post columnist Brown is one of eight Yorkshire riders heading for Bramham 2016 which gets underway next Thursday.

At the top of the spectrum, Huddersfield’s world No 17 and former world No 1 Oliver Townend have five horses entered for duty with Sandiman II and Samuel Thomas II both entered in the CCI three-star.

Black Tie II and MHS King Joules are set for CIC three-star duty with Note Worthy taking in the new CIC three-star Event Masters.

Northallerton’s world no 38 and London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nicola Wilson has Bulana entered in the CCI three-star plus One Two Many in the CIC three-star and 2015 CIC three-star winner Annie Clover in the Event Masters.

Townend and Wilson both have every chance of being selected for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – as does York’s young rising star Holly Woodhead who will seek a second successive Bramham victory on DHI Lupison in the CIC three-star – one year after winning the CCI Under-25s.

And Brown is one of five other White Rose county riders hoping to emulate the likes of Townend, Wilson and Woodhead with the Yorkshire Post columnist set to partner Miss Brodie in the CCI three-star.

As well as Townend and Wilson, Brown will be joined in battle by county compatriots James Sommerville, of Northallerton, on Talent, and Bingley’s Charlotte Brear on Manor Missile.

Doncaster’s Sophie Platt also competes in the CCI three-star under-25s on Be Be II while Harrogate’s Hazel Towers will make her Bramham debut on Simply Smart in the CIC three-star.

The young Yorkshire riders are in illustrious company alongside the likes of multiple Bramham winner William Fox-Pitt, Andrew Nicholson, Pippa Funnell and current world No 3 Mark Todd – and while he’s already fulfilling a childhood dream – it is in that exalted company that Brown ultimately hopes to stay.

“It means a huge amount to be competing at Bramham,” Brown told The Yorkshire Post.

“It is one of the biggest and most prestigious events in the country and being a Yorkshire rider it has been a dream since childhood to ride there.

“It is not only special for me but also for my family, the team at home, Jules’ breeders, the Jules syndicate – who helped me to secure her 18 months ago and my sponsors – Fulmart Feeds, The Ice Co, Premier Equestrian and Malton Equine Laundry.

“I have grown up spectating at the event every year and being able to finally ride there is a dream come true and something I’ve been quietly aiming at since gaining the ride on Miss Brodie as a Novice level horse three years ago. She is the first horse who has given me the feeling that the dream might actually be achievable.”

Owned by Brown himself and the Jules Syndicate, Miss Brodie – whose stable name is Jules – is a 13-year-old mare bred locally and a horse Brown has been riding since he was 11. Now 28, Brown is sizing up Ian Stark’s famous cross country-course and ultimately dreaming of Badminton or Burghley.

Brown reasoned: “My main aim is to jump clear cross-country and gain a qualifying run as a stepping stone to future competitions and even four-star level.

“We completed our first CIC three-star at Burgham in March and have since done a second at Ballindenisk in Ireland – both clear cross country but this will be our first CCI three star and is the next step to four star qualification. I’m really excited to get out there and tackle the cross country in front of a home crowd and alongside friends. Of course I am nervous but I have complete faith in Jules!”