Teenager dreams of Derby win

HORSES are in Tim Gredley's blood.But the teenager is not hoping to win the Derby on one of his father Bill's famous horses - he's set his sights on reaching the peak of a very different equine world.

HORSES are in Tim Gredley's blood.

But the teenager is not hoping to win the Derby on one of his father Bill's famous horses - he's set his sights on reaching the peak of a very different equine world.

He knows he will never thunder down the track at Epsom - cheered on by crowds with hundreds and often thousands of pounds riding on his performance.

However, he is already making huge strides in achieving his goal - being named as a member of the UK's National Show Jumping Team.

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Tim, 17, who wants to follow in the footsteps of giants like Harvey Smith, David Broom and Nick Skelton, says show jumping is vastly different to the power-dominated flat racing world his father, the Suffolk-based millionaire owner and trainer, is such a major part of.

"I would have liked to have gone into racing but to be a jockey you really need to be nine stone or under.

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"I know I'm never going to be that - I'm 10-and-a-half already - so I went into show jumping. It's all about precision, timing and accuracy rather than the stamina needed for racing."

Tim, who says his father has become a keen supporter of the sport since he took it up - accompanying him to competitions around the world, already has a British championship and a place in the European Show Jumping Team to his credit.

He is currently combining his devotion to show jumping and plotting his path into the national show jumping team with his studies for three A Levels.

The teenage sensation, a pupil at Culford School, near Bury St Edmunds, said the balancing act was sometimes a struggle but it seems to be a battle he is winning with four university places to mull over before the summer.

He said: "It has been pretty difficult, especially last year when I got into the European team and I had to do a lot of training.

"I had to put in time to do some work outside of school, but my tutor at Culford has really helped and now I think I have achieved a nice balance."

As well as studying history, business studies and English A levels, Tim has made a real name for himself in the competitive show jumping world.

Last June, he came fourth in a European Grand Prix at Le Touquet, France, when he competed with young riders from ten other countries.

Tim was also a member of the under 18s European team and won the under 21s young riders championship at the British Open in Sheffield.

Owner of the 1992 Oaks and St Leger winner User Friendly, his father has about 120 thoroughbreds at Stetchworth Park Stud, near Newmarket.

It is this background that Tim says has helped him become successful and given him the room to keep his five horses in peak-performance condition.

The teenager has been riding horses since he was 11, having progressed from showing horses to show jumping.

He explained: "I have only been show jumping for three years. I wanted a challenge and I have definitely been given that. I really enjoy the atmosphere of the big shows and I just wanted to be part of it."

Given his father's background as a leading owner, his family life was always going to be dominated by horses and Tim's sisters, Elizabeth, 21, and Polly, 16, are also keen riders in show jumping and showing respectively.

It's hardly surprising Bill Gredley's son wants to reach the top given his father's huge success in the world of racing. Tim is now hoping to be in the British show jumping squad by 2012 - helping it win a place in that year's Olympic Games.

And he says where better to win gold than on home turf so he is backing London's bid to stage the games.

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