LAURA Stephenson, from Keighley, made the lengthy trip up to Scotland for the Winter Classic Show at Morris Equestrian Centre well worth the drive when she topped the leaderboard in the Winter Grand Prix.

A strong field of 36 combinations from across the UK came forward to take on Rafael Suarez’s 1.40-metre first round track.

The task Suarez had set proved to be a challenging one when only four managed to conquer the first round with a clear, but the jump-off still amounted to nail-biting end as just 1.41 seconds separated the top three.

Laura Stephenson put good use to the experienced partnership she has with her mount Catherston Connor, a British-bred grey gelding by Cevin Z.

Despite being only 15.2hh, the 17-year-old, whom Laura has produced herself from British Novice, took every short route available and pinged to victory in 43.85 seconds, relegating Keith Shore into second place with Nicholas Morgan’s Djoel.

Shore, who was fingertips away from a one-two, crossed the finish line in 44.48 seconds with his first ride and went on to steer his second ride Iron Lady Van’T Meulenhof into third with a time of 45.26 secs.

Graham Babes and Boucheron made up the fourth participant in the jump-off, but decided to call it a day after faulting midway through the course.

Winter Grand Prix results: 1 Laura Stephenson & Catherston Connor – 0/0 – 43.85 seconds; 2 Keith Shore & Djoel – 0/0 – 44.48 secs; 3 Keith Shore & Iron Lady Van’t Meulenhof – 0/0 – 45.26 secs.