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Sian seals second run at Hickstead in dramatic fashion
SHOWJUMPER Sian Mileham will get two goes at one of the most prestigious dates in the eventing calendar after a dramatic qualifying victory.
The 28-year-old from Wooburn Green had already secured a spot at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead thanks to a win at Addington Manor in north Bucks last month.
But she will get a second bite at the cherry after securing victory at the SEIB Winter Novice Championship qualifier in Bedfordshire on Saturday.
She did it my the narrowest of margins, finishing ahead of High Wycombe rider Emma Jo Slater - who also qualified for Hickstead - by one tenth of a second.
It marks a reversal in fortune for Mileham, who was unable to compete last year as two of her best horses were sidelined through injury for seven months.
She said: "I had nothing to ride for the whole of last summer. It was a really bad year.
"It's a really prestigious event so it's great to have two horses there. I'm really pleased - I'm hoping it's going to be a good year this year."
Mileham had been out of the saddle for eight months when she rode grey mare Asea T to victory at Addington to secure her first ride at Hickstead.
She followed that by riding Diatona TT - a horse she's owned for just two months - at Keysoe at the weekend.
No fewer than eight riders managed to produce a double clear run, meaning a jump off to determine the qualifiers was needed.
Slater was in the lead after riding Castello Overcinge's Z around the course in 33.82 seconds, but Mileham was the last one round and pipped her to pole position by recording a time of 33.72.
It's actually the second time she has qualified for the Royal International Horse Show but this year's event, which will take place in July, will be her debut at Hickstead.
She said: "I qualified three years ago but unfortunately my horse had to be put down and I didn't get there in the end.
"I've got two there this time, so it makes the journey all the more worthwhile."
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