It’s been another corkingly full-on week for equestrians; for eventers, in particular, the big one at home was the NAF International at Hartpury College (Gloucestershire) and the really big one in Europe was the FEI Nations Cup running alongside the European dressage championships in Aachen (Germany) while in Bialy Bor, Poland British Juniors battled it out in their annual big one, the FEI Junior European Championships.
It was a full four days of competition for the organisers at Hartpury College who ran three large international sections — two three-day (CCI) at one and two-star level and a one-day (CIC) three star.
World number two, William Fox-Pitt, cruised to victory in the Superflex CIC3*, with Catherine Witt’s Bay My Hero. The former Lexington winner (2014) was having his first real run since Barbury in July — the pair did dressage practice only at Gatcombe — this time with rather more intention, collecting just 0.8pen for being just 2 seconds over the time.
A clear over the coloured poles gave the combination a comfortable victory and they were the only ones to finish with a sub 40pen score. They now head to the European Championships as part of the 12-rider squad for the European Championships at Blair Castle (September 10-13), although the team has yet to be decided.
Reve de Rouet was second for Bedfordshire-based Sarah Bullimore. It was a good prep and confidence-boosting result for the Burghley-bound 11-year-old who produced a double clear to finish on his dressage score. Former Junior team member Ibby Macpherson, from Northamptonshire produced her best result to date, taking third in the class of 90 starters with 11-year-old Ballingowan Diamond, who also produced a double clear. It was also a good day for Sarah ‘Cutty’ Cohen who was back at the top with the Preci-Spark owned and bred Treason who finished in fourth place.
Pippa Funnell was one to fall foul of Eric Winter’s three-star cross-country course and finished at the wrong end of the scoreboard after an ‘unseating of rider’ from the talented grey Billy the Biz, who had led the dressage on the first day. Billy Cuckoo however made up for the misdemeanour of her stable-mate providing Funnell with second place in the Magic CCI2*—the mare’s first two-star completion.
The class was won by Thomas Carlile. The Frenchman from Toulouse — who is of British parentage and fast becoming a renowned producer of young horses — claimed the class with the Anglo-Arab cross Upsilon who led from day one, although he used up his final-day leading margin with a rare refusal in the showjumping. The grey stallion, fifth in the world six-year-old championships at Le Lions last year, nonetheless now has the impressive record of four wins from five international starts.
The Optimum CCI1* provided a first three-day win for 25-year-old Caroline Harris, as well as another success for the Billy stud. Harris, who runs a yard in Somerset, headed the class from start to finish with the seven-year-old mare Billy Bumble, who is by the world’s number one jumping sire Kannan.
It was a fitting win for the pair who last year at Osberton won the Welton Romance trophy, presented to the highest mare in the six-year-old Young Horse Championship. The trophy was originally donated by the late Sam Barr, whose famous ‘Welton’ horses were bred just down the road from Hartpury College at Barr’s famous Limbury Stud.
Former Young Rider team gold medallist Tom Jackson, who makes his four-star debut at Burghley in two weeks, finished second, just 1penalty behind, with the Dutch-bred Dowalda, and also collected collecting the Denis Ivan trophy for the highest placed Pony Club rider, while Leicestershire-based Willa Newton took third with Caja 20.
Event Director, Phillip Cheetham, said: “This has been another amazing display of world-class eventing right across the whole week and everyone involved has worked incredibly hard to pull off one of the biggest events of our equestrian calendar.”
Image: William Fox-Pitt on Bay My Hero, courtesy of Hartpury College