Bettina Hoy made history as the first German rider to win the CCI three-star at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials — and she did so in style with a clear show jumping round on Seigneur Medicott.
She finished with more than 10 penalties in hand over the brilliant New Zealander Andrew Nicholson, who rose from fifth after cross-country to take the runner-up spot on his father-in-law Philip Channer’s Tesio.
Hoy, 53, has had a long and distinguished career, but this was her first CCI three-star win for around a decade, and she said: “It’s amazing. it’s such a long time since I won anything big, and to do it here at Blenheim is very special.
“What is nice is how pleased everyone is for me. I only compete three horses now, as I am a part-time carer for my parents.
Hoy revealed that the 10-year-old gelding is for sale, and that she is hoping to form a syndicate to buy him as she considers the gelding, which started life as a showjumper, as a contender for next year’s European Championships, and even for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Local rider Lydia Hannon retained third place on My Royal Touch to score her best CCI three-star result, and Nicola Wilson moved up from sixth to fourth with a clear round on Bulana. Hannah Sue Burnett hit two rails on Harbour Pilot to slip from second to fifth, but collected the prize as the best Blenheim first-timer.
Earlier on a sunny afternoon, the inaugural Event Rider Master series came to a thrilling climax with Frenchman Thomas Carlile, who was last out on to the cross-country course, snatched the CIC3 three-star win from Oliver Townend, whose second place, however, was good enough to secure the overall series prize pot following wins at Gatcombe and Blair.
Yorkshireman Townend was thrilled with Cillnabradden Evo, a ride he took over from Nicholson when the New Zealander broke his neck last year, and says the horse seems to have found his niche. “I’m more than happy with the result. Thomas is a great rider on an unbelievable horse.”
Leicestershire-based Willa Newton, meanwhile, scored one of the biggest wins of her eventing career when capturing the prestigious CIC3 three-star class for eight- and nine-year-old horses.
Newton looks to have an exciting prospect in her father Joey and Lady Sarah McCorquodale’s eight-year-old Caja 20, a Hanoverian-bred mare discovered by German Olympian Dirk Schrade. The pair rose from sixth place after dressage to third with a clear showjumping round, and then posted one of the fastest cross-country rounds of the competition.
Overnight leader Tom McEwen (Toledo De Kerser) had an unfortunate run-out at the first corner fence after the water crossing, and second after showjumping, Jonelle Price, incurred 14 time penalties on Ascona M and dropped to 10th.
It was a British one-two as Laura Collett finished second on her 2015 Le Lion d’Angers winner Mr Bass, one of only three to complete David Evans’ excellent track without time penalties. The others were Nicholson, third on Swallow Springs, and Townend, fifth on Cooley SRS.
Newton said: “I didn’t know about Tom’s run-out when I set out, but Chris Bartle (trainer) came and told me that someone had done the time, so I should go for it. She felt so confident that I kicked on and she just got better and better.”
Bettina Hoy made history when she became the first German rider to win the Blenheim Horse Trials aboard Seigneur Medicott, by Adam Fanthorpe/Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials