Sunday roundup from Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International incorporating FEI Eventing Nations Cup
FEI Eventing Nations Cup
Six nations contested the British leg of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup; Britain, Ireland, Sweden, United States, New Zealand and Germany. While the home side took a narrow early advantage, leading after both the dressage and showjumping phases, cross country day proved its downfall. Germany's dominance at Houghton continues and she took the FEI Eventing Nations Cup leg for the fourth successive year.
Team member and chef d'equipe, Peter Thomsen, was delighted. “It looked like we were only going to have a team of three, so I decided to bring a two star horse of mine to make up numbers. Sir Boggles was a bit surprised at the start of the course but he got better from jump to jump.
“Our younger team members were really good here. It works well with the balance of two younger and two more experienced riders. We work as a team in all phases to give the younger ones confidence.”
The American team was flawless across country, moving up to second. Chef d'Equipe and coach for the US emerging athletes programmes – as well as being Britain's most recent eventing Olympic gold medal winner - Leslie Law, is a keen supporter of the Nations Cup series. “For us, getting our young riders international team experience is vital. Looking forwards we want to use the Nations Cup series more and more,” Leslie explained.
Ireland held on to third place with New Zealand fourth, Sweden fifth and Great Britain sixth.
At the start of the day Britain's Holly Woodhead lay third individually but Parkfield Quintessential refused to jump the Newmarket Equine Hospital Corners at fence eight. Holly's teammate Matthew Heath had already picked up 20 penalties at the same fence. The third rider out for Britain, Katie Bleloch was unseated from Bulano at the Devoucoux Open Ditch, fence 17. Chuffy Clarke restored some moral with a good clear round on Second Supreme.
Whilst Pippa Funnell had dominated the dressage phase and remained in the lead ahead of cross country with Billy Beware, she kept her foot off the accelerator today, time penalties dropping the pair to eighth place. This opened the way for Laura Collett and Mr Bass to take the class with their dressage score finish. Laura also finished sixth on Dacapo and seventh on Billy Bounce.
“I'm really pleased with how Mr Bass went in all three phases, especially the dressage as we have struggled with that in the past. It was nice to have a really smooth run before Luhmuhlen.”
Jesse Campbell and Amsterdam II took the runner up spot, ahead of Franky Reid-Warrilow riding Dolley Whisper.
The 'two star' competition was incredibly closely fought, with 0.2 of a penalty separating first and second places. Thomas Carlile's (FRA) stallion Upsilon lead throughout, while Piggy French moved up one place when Brook Staples's (AUS) Doonaveeragh O Six was eliminated on yesterday's cross country course.
“It was a pleasure to be back competing Upsilon. He is a genius over fences and has been competitive from the start of his career,” said Carlile. The stallion only came back into work at the end of February, after picking up an injury at last summer's European Championship in Strzegom.
French was riding Trevor Dickens' homebred mare Graf Cavalier, who she describes as: “elegant and brave, and strengthening all the time. She wants to be careful and I need to respect her ways.”
Dirk Schrade (GER) was another rider to lead from pillar to post, this time in the 'one-star' competition. Dajara 4 was awarded the only sub-25 score in the dressage phase, to which she added nothing.
“That was worth coming over [from Germany] for,” Schrade smiled. “I only started riding the mare in February this year and I'm excited for her future. She's super in both jumping phases and does a lovely dressage test - I think she could go all the way.”
Jesse Campbell (NZL) also held his position to finish runner up on board Diachello II, a horse Campbell bought from Schrade last year. “He's a big teddy bear and very straightforward to train. I think he'll be a very competitive horse for the future,” said Campbell.
Piggy French added nothing to Highdown March's dressage score to complete the podium lineup, while Alice Tracey climbed up to fourth thanks to a showjumping clear from Freedom Hill, all the more impressive given it was both horse and rider's first ever three-day event.
NAF British Eventing under 21 National Championships
Despite holding the 1-2 after both dressage and cross country phases Bubby Upton didn't have a rail in hand going in to showjump Cola III after Yasmin Ingham and Rehy DJ had left all the poles in their cups. Upton had already had a rail down on her European Champion Eros DHI, and when Cola lowered part of the treble the under 21 British National Championship title slipped through her fingers.
A stunned Yasmin admitted, “It never entered my thoughts that we might win! Rehy DJ is the horse that everyone wants, he's unbelievable.”
Upton dropped to second place, 0.1 of a penalty ahead of last year's winner Felicity Collins.
Saturday roundup from Saracen Horse Feeds Houghton International incorporating FEI Eventing Nations Cup
CIC3*, incorporating the FEI Eventing Nations Cup
With the last few horses doing their dressage this morning Great Britain completed the first phase at the head of the FEI Eventing Nations Cup leaderboard, with a cumulative score of 88.0. Holly Woodhead performed the best test for the British team to lie in sixth place individually.
Germany sat in second place on 89.2 penalties with Sweden third on 95.6. Individually, Pippa Funnell held first and second places on MGH Grafton Street and Billy Beware respectively.
The showjumping phase shaked the order up a little. Funnell remains in the lead, but on Billy Beware. A rail down dropped MGH Grafton Street to sixth place ahead of tomorrow's cross country. Laura Collett and Mr Bass have climbed two places to second, and Woodhead now sits in third.
From a team perspective Great Britain and Germany had no penalties to add. Sweden has dropped a place to fourth with Ireland moving up to third. The USA lies in fifth and, with 20 penalties to add, New Zealand are sixth.
Brook Staples (AUS) and Thomas Carlile's (FRA) Atos Barbotiere dropped out of contention during today's cross country phase. Staples was eliminated after three refusals, while Carlile's fifth placed ride collected 31 jumping penalties for both a refusal and the breaking of a safety clip on one of the fences.
Carlile continues to lead the field with Upsilon, Piggy French still breathing down his neck a mere 0.2 of a penalty behind. Gemma Tattersall completes the top three on Chilli Knight.
Of the overnight top five after dressage, only Caroline Harris came unstuck across country – she suffered a rider fall at the final fence, having jumped clear to that point. Dirk Schrade (Dajara ), Jesse Cambell (Diachello), Piggy French (Highdown March) and Tom Jackson (Clonlaras Chacoa Princess) all came home clear and inside the time. Schrade has a two-and-a-half penalty advantage over Campbell, but with the fall of a showjump rail incurring four penalties there is still much to play for. Schrade can afford to have one rail down and stay ahead of both French and Jackson.
NAF British Eventing under 21 National Championships
Bubby Upton has retained her 1-2 after the cross country phase, keeping a clean sheet on both Cola III and Eros DHI. She also jumped clear on her third ride in the class, Cannavaro, who has climbed up from 13th to seventh. Yasmin Ingham has moved up a place to third on Rehy DJ, with less than a showjump separating the top three horses.
Japanese riders were the dominant force in both of the one-star classes at Fairfax & Favor Rockingham Intenational today. Toshiyuki Tanaka claimed section A with Riding Club Crane's Kinnordy Rhondo, a 10-year-old horse of Australian origin.
“He is a very good jumper but strong. The [optimum] time was tight today so I had to really ride fast,” said Tanaka.
The pair posted a dressage score completion, as did compatriot Ryuzo Kitajima who finished third on board Feroza Nieuwmoed, also owned by Riding Club Crane. Ryuzo has been riding this horse since the middle of 2016, and finished last season with a very competitive 11th place in the British Eventing seven-year-old championships at Osberton.
Separating the two was Holly Woodhead on Hakuna Matata.
Kitajima topped the leaderboard in the second one-star section, which bodes well for the ever-improving standard of Japanese eventing ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. This time he was partnering Riding Club Crane's Koko Doro. The partnership did complete a couple of three-star competitions last season and finished fourth in a one-star at Chatsworth last weekend.
Kitajima said of his horse, “He is a good dressage horse but [can be] difficult in the show jumping – he has a lot of individuality, but [I'm delighted] today we jumped double clear.”
Again the double act was in action, with Tanaka taking fourth place on Balla Star Bay behind Piggy French riding Emerald Jonny in second and Line Andresen (SWE) on Faere Spirit in third.
All four of these Japanese horses are qualified for this year's Asian Games, and both riders are also keen to represent Japan at the World Equestrian Games this summer.
Piggy French was back in the ribbons in the first of the two-star sections, taking the spoils on Susannah Paybody's Castletown Clover, another combination to add nothing to their first phase score. She nearly made it a double, having to settle for the runner up spot in the second two-star on board Jennifer Saunders' Cooley Monsoon due to an uncharacteristic dislodged showjump rail.
“Castletown Clover has gone great today,” said Piggy. “I only started riding him over the winter. He began his career with his owner at 90 and 100cm level, and then over the last couple of years Hannah (Norville, who works for Piggy) moved him up through the grades to intermediate. He's 13 now so credit to Susannah and him to let me jump him bigger and faster. We hadn't planned beyond Rockingham because we didn't know how he'd cope – this was his 'Badminton'. We may need to rethink – he made it feel easy.”
Piggy was as delighted for Hannah Norville's third place in this section on Magic Roundabout IV. It was Hannah's first ever two-star competition and Piggy explained: “She is so loyal and hardworking. She's the one who rides 'my' horses at home when I'm away at an event, and I'm so proud of her today.”
Richard Coney and Master Ping were just over a penalty off the pace behind Piggy to take the runner up spot.
Today's final two-star went to a 2017 winner, James Avery (NZL). This year he was riding Vitali, a horse he describes as the best he has ever had. “He has lots of talent but is a bit arrogant. Last year we led the 7-year-old World Championships at Le Lion d'Angers until the showjumping where we had two rails down. He gets distracted in the arena – when he's focussed he's great. Today he was focussed.”
With Piggy and Cooley Monsoon in second place, Sammi Birch (AUS) completed the top three on The Kincooley Ceili.
The last class today [Saturday] was the under 18 open novice section which was won by Zoe Embury riding Orlando. Friday's BE100 winners were Charlotte Bacon (Cosmos du Figuier), Franky Reid-Warrilow (Tillington Jet Setter), Alyson Parker (J J Malone), James Avery (Seaflower) and Kelly Aldous (Willow BDA). Novice sections went to Giovanni Ugolotti (Swirly Temptress), Ros Canter (DHI Jura) and Isabel White (Brilliant Twilight).
Jonty Evans (IRL) is this year's Loomes Champion, winning a stunning Robert Loomes handmade watch as a result of finishing highest placed of the riders closest to the optimum time from the open and advanced intermediate competitors. Jonty and Cooley Rorkes Drift won the advanced intermediate in the process, coming home one second inside the time and finishing on their dressage score.
“I was very aware of the prize,” Jonty laughed. “I came here for a good run after Badminton didn't work out (Jonty and 'Art' were eliminated) so let 'Art' run on across country. He floated round and after jumping the last fence I had to put the brakes on a bit so as not to be too fast.” This result makes Jonty the second Irishman to win the Loomes Championship in its five year history.
Third placed Kristina Hall-Jackson also came home one second inside the optimum on Slaney Cruise, while advanced intermediate runners, up Ros Canter and Pencos Crown Jewel, were one second over.
Alexander Bragg made it a 1-2 in the Open Intermediate, both Barrichello and Shannondale Percy finishing on the same score. Barrichello had posted the better dressage score but lowered a showjump, while Shannondale Percy jumped a double clear but collected 0.8 of a time penalty, dropping him behind his stable mate.
“Guttingly I didn't know about the Loomes watch on my first horse, so was four seconds inside the time. Then on my second horse I was held on course and ended up two seconds over! That aside I'm chuffed to bits with both horses – it was my first visit to Rockingham, and today was about getting to know Barrichello and Shannondale Percy, who are both owned by Dr Sarah Hughes and new rides for me this year.”
Bubby Upton won the Under 21 Open Intermediate class riding Peter Hollingsworth and Charlotte Bathe's Mexican Wave, a horse Bubby took the ride on last summer. The pair upgraded to intermediate on their last run of 2017, and finished in the runner up spot at Belton Park's U21 class last month.
“Mexican Wave was bred by Charlotte, and is by Billy Mexico out of one of Charlotte's eventing mares,” said Bubby. “He's so talented but also quirky so I've had to take him slowly. I'm producing him for Charlotte's daughter Daisy and I am NOT going to want to give him back!”
Elicia Miller and Charlotte Bacon completed the top three line-up, with A Sunny Bay and Cooley Enno respectively.
Piggy French's run of fortune continued further today, with Graf Cavalier winning an intermediate section. It is the third win of the season for Trevor Dickens' mare who added just 2.4 cross country time penalties to their dressage score. Jessica Watts claimed the other intermediate on Sportsfield Adventure, the partnerships first win at this level.
The final 3 winners of the event were novice combinations: Tom McEwen (Gladstone), Isobel McEuen (Kursk Root) and Andrea Clark (Murphys Bonanza).