Georgia Dixon reports …
Set in the beautiful grounds of Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, the event is an early season favourite among professionals and amateurs alike, with classes ranging from Novice to Advanced Intermediate – a total of 14 sections in all.
The AI was won by Lucy Jackson and Superstition II who jumped a clear round in the Advanced height show jumping and added only two time penalties from the Intermediate level cross country course to their dressage score of 30.2. This left them 1.2 penalties ahead of the second placed combination, Kitty King and Vendredi Biats – the pair posted the best dressage score of the section, 24.6, adding 8.8 time penalties from the cross country phase.
Jo Rimmer rode Shannondale Lilly to victory in Intermediate Section H, the combination added 2.8 time faults to their dressage score of 32.7. Emma Hobday and Shadow Puppet finished in second place after the only faultless rounds across the board of the section, adding nothing to a dressage score of 36.6.
Young rider, Phoebe Locke had a comfortable win in Intermediate Section I, despite accumulating four faults in the show jumping phase. Phoebe piloted Bellagio Declyange to the quickest round in the section in the cross country phase and produced a dressage test score of 25.7 to leave them 3.9 penalties ahead of the second placed pair – Caroline Harris and Falko TH.
Harry Meade topped the leaderboard in the IN section with Brookfield Quality, finishing on their dressage score of 26.6. Harry also finished in second place in Novice Section A with Brookfield Cavalier Cruise – this section was won by Gemma Tattersall and Facari MG.
Brookfield Benjamin Bounce was the winning horse in Novice Section C with Tom McEwen on board, the combination finished way out in the lead after adding only 0.4 time penalties to a dressage score of 24.8. Vittoria Panizzon and Carraghs Royal Quality also added only 0.4 time penalties throughout the day to finish in second place on a total score of 30.4.
Fiona Kashel was the only rider to finish on a dressage score in Novice Section B with Hamilton III, the combination finished on a total score of 30, placing them in the top spot on the leaderboard. Jesse Campbell was not far behind with Decaw Diamond, finishing on 30.8 after adding four faults from the show jumping round to a dressage score of 26.8.
Jason Ferguson had his second win in a row at Gatcombe, after winning a BE100 section at Tweseldown with Lets Twist Again. Jason won Novice Section D with Barley Sugar Twist, finishing on a score of 30.2 – adding only 1.2 time penalties to a dressage score of 29. Kitty King and Fernhill Candy Royal finished closely behind in second place, with Tom Rusbridge and MHS Sicario placing third.
Oliver Townend and Cillnabradden Evo took the top spot in OI Section K, despite adding 1.2 time penalties from the cross country phase – an impressive dressage score of 25.2 meant that the combination stayed at the top of the leaderboard. Holly Needham and forever noble were the only combination to finish on their dressage score of 33.6 to finish fourth. Izzy Taylor and PSH Gazelle, Ludwig Svennerstal and Stinger were the second and third placed combinations.
ON Section E saw seven riders finish on a score of less than 30, however, Gubby Leech and Timolin set the standards high after attaining a dressage score of 22. The combination then went on to add only 0.8 time penalties from the cross country to win on a score of 22.8. Second, third and fourth placed riders all finished on their dressage scores: Jonelle Price and Lime Rickey finished in second on 25.3, Izzy Taylor and Hello Stranger placed third with a score of 26.3, and Tom Rowland with Snap To It were closely behind in fourth on 26.5.
Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography