BICTON ARENA

Lucy sets herself up for Burghley challenge with CIC** win at Bicton Arena
 
A world-class field contested the Bicton Arena International Horse Trials this weekend with a Devon rider taking the spoils in the weekend’s two star international class. 

This was the third of the Devon venue’s British Eventing competitions in 2015, and attracted more than 360 horse and rider combinations to compete over the two days. 

Lucy Wiegersma took the honours in the Empire Horse Boxes CIC2* riding Mr Chunky, who is owned by Serita and Christopher Perkins and Hugh Lloyd. The combination scored 40.2 penalties in the dressage and kept a clean sheet in the jumping to take the victory. 

After her win Lucy said: “The going was absolutely perfect with just a few slippy places on the corners, but if you rode sensibly it was fine. We tried a different cross country bit which was very good.”
 
Lucy is returning to competitive action following the birth of her son Tomas, and now heads to the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials with the 10 year old son of Jumbo. She added: “Winning was a great note to set off to Burghley on. He is an out and out Burghley horse and I’m really looking forward to next week. I knew I hadn’t lost my nerve, but I felt I’d lost my competitive edge and lacked a bit of self-belief. It was just the tonic I needed.”

Second in the CIC** was Daisy Berkeley on Strike Smartly with Alexander Whewall taking third on Chakris Star. 
 
Winner of the Wray & Co Jewellers CIC* A was Dani Evans riding the seven year old mare Marstonpark Lupina. They led the competition from start to finish, completing on their dressage score of 39.7. Second was Craig Barr riding Kilmullen Dassett with third place going to Charlotte Rowe and Delilah II. 
 
As well as the international CIC* and CIC** competitions, Bicton Arena also hosted a range of national classes, from BE100 to Open Intermediate. And it was a successful weekend of competition for Warren Farm with Lucy’s fiancée Padraig McCarthy also picking up a string of good results. 
 
In Novice Section I, Padraig took the win on Hoodunit – the combination’s first win of the year – and were the only horse of the day to go inside the time. Lucy commented: “Padraig has really clicked with him and rejuvenated his career. He felt class across country. It’s great to see Padraig doing so well in only his second season eventing.” 
 
Padraig was also third in Novice Section J on the consistent Wisbeach River Deep, with Lucy 7th in the same section on MGH Annaghmore. To finish off the weekend Padraig took third spot in Intermediate Section K. He was also 6th in the CIC** with Bernadette Utopia. 
 
In BE100 Sec D Lola Watt and Denys de La Mer took their second win of the year, as did Kirtsy Johnston and Opposition Hemera who were victors in the KBIS sponsored 5 Year Old Section F, whilst Jo Clarke and Frankly took their tally of wins in 2015 to three by winning Open Novice Section H. Katie Hancock and Kilcandra Rambo Ray continued their good run of form by taking their sixth section win of the year in BE100 Section E. 
 
Torrential rain had threatened the event on Sunday but thanks to the hard work of the organisers, competition continued. It did however, lead to a large number of withdrawals, particularly in the Intermediate sections. But the weather did not deter Louise Harwood who took victory in the Intermediate Section K on Balladeer Miller Man and Open Intermediate Section L on Jenga II. 
 
Other winners at Bicton Arena included: BE100 Section C David Doel, A Cooley Connection; Intermediate Nov Section G Tom Grant, Zoe; Novice Section J Kristina Cook, Watergate. 
 
The event also ran an Optimum Time challenge, sponsored by NAF, and this was won by Lucy Lee who was spot on the optimum time in the CIC* on Lady Griz, with the combination finishing inside the top 20. 
 
Organiser Helen West said: “It was such a shame that we had the amount of rain we did, but I was relieved that we were able to continue running and the sun did make an appearance later in the day! We had a lot of great feedback about the cross country courses. I had tried to incorporate some interesting challenges, making the best use of the terrain we have at Bicton.”
 
Bicton Arena is set to host two international events in 2016 with a CIC2* running from April 22–24, and a CIC* and CIC2* on August 19 – 21. 
Sarah Carless
Photographs Courtesy of Tanzy Lee
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