Laura now driven to sign off in triumph

BEST OF BRITAIN: Showjumper Laura Robinson from Potto, Northallerton, with Cassie, a two year old filly, in the stables. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
BEST OF BRITAIN: Showjumper Laura Robinson from Potto, Northallerton, with Cassie, a two year old filly, in the stables. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
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NORTHALLERTON’S Laura Robinson is preparing to sign off from Young Riders duty in style and hopes her best is yet to come.

Robinson, 21, and Thornaby-based Millie Allen, 19, have been selected to represent Great Britain at the Children, Junior and Young Rider European Championships which begin in Millstreet, Ireland next week.

Robinson will partner Jonti, a 12-year-old gelding owned by her father Neal, while Allen will be on board Balou Star, an 11-year-old bay stallion owned by Udo Oppermann.

Frickley Hall teenager Connie-Warde Aldam, 15, is also heading for eventing’s Pony European Championships, which take place in Vilhelmsborg, Denmark, and begin on August 17. Eloise Carter’s 15-year-old gelding Craig Mor Tom will give the South Yorkshire starlet her GB debut.

For Robinson, representing her flag is nothing new, but there is no hiding the elation at her latest international call, which she hopes is the latest of many more to come.

“It’s amazing,” claimed Robinson. “I wasn’t sure whether I was going to make the team or not but I have and I’m really happy.

“I have been on most of the teams – I didn’t make the Young Riders’ team last year but this year is my last year in under-21s so I’m really happy to have made it. When I was in juniors, which is under-18s, the year before my last year, I also didn’t make the team. I was like really gutted and I was like ‘what am I going to do?’

“But it just drove me and then I made the team the next year so it’s kind of the same this time.”

Jonti certainly looked in fine fettle on his most recent assignment at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show, at which he and Robinson were third in the William Hanson Stakes.

“The crowd there is amazing,” said Robinson. “The atmosphere there – you don’t get much of that in England and it’s nice to be able to compete in a big arena like that on home soil. I jumped there three years ago but I didn’t do so well then and I hadn’t been since so it was nice to be back.

“That was on Cree Cruiser three years ago and I think it was probably in the same class. I got eliminated!”

Ventures further afield will soon be back on the Robinson agenda – with the ultimate aim being a plane trip to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Evergreen Huddersfield brothers Michael and John Whitaker will fly the show-jumping flag for Yorkshire at this year’s Olympic Games and Robinson, who is 39 years John’s junior, certainly has her own exciting plans.

Robinson continued: “I got selected for a Senior Nations Cup which is what I should be aiming for next year so I was really lucky to be able to compete on that. That was amazing.

“As far as the Olympics is concerned, I don’t really have a good enough horse yet but we have lots of young stock like one, two and three-year-olds so I’m hoping that one of them is going to be a machine and then you never know – 2020 or 2024?! John Whitaker is like a complete idol for me – he’s unbelievable. He’s like 60 years old and he’s still the best!

“Everyone knows it’s a lot of money sport but I’m lucky enough that my parents are behind me and that I’ve had good enough horses to get me to the highest level I can be all the way through.”

*Brough’s Gemma Stanford enjoyed a fantastic double at the recent Royal Highland Show in Ingliston, Edinburgh.

Ridden by Yorkshire’s Matt Cooper, Stanford’s highland stallion Benbreac Of Croila won his second HOYS class – with 37 competing – and then took the overall Ridden Supreme Mountain and Moorland Championship.