Report by Sarah Carless
World class riders descended on Burnham Market for the first of its international fixtures, with more than 600 combinations taking part over the three days of competition.
The event was headlined by the CIC***, the first leg of the inaugural Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam, which was yet again won by [emember_protected custom_msg=’This content is only available to Members, to read more of this article please Join HERE or if you are a member please LOGIN‘]Oliver Townend.
The leading British Eventing rider for the last two years has dominated this class in recent years having won in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, twice in 2014 (when two sections were held) and in 2015.
This year Oliver not only won the class with Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class but also took the runner up spot with Andrew Cawthray’s Note Worthy. Pippa Funnell finished third with Sandman 7.
“Cooley Master Class didn’t event last year but he could have,” said Oliver after his win. “I was riding him at home but we just kept putting it back and I think the break has done him the world of good. He felt better than ever, I’ve always believed that he is a very, very good horse. The Tri-Star Grand Slam is fantastic to aim for, and I’m lucky to have several horses at the right level, but I will still aim the horses at the best events for them and to suit their major goals for the year.”
Burnham Market was awash with combinations entered in either the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, which gets underway in just over four weeks’ time, or Rolex Kentucky Three Day event in America.
Most entered the CIC*** as their preparation for the big events to come including Mark Todd (NZB Campino), Izzy Taylor (KBIS Briarlands Matilda), Emily King (Brookleigh), Paul Tapner (Vanir Kamira), Sarah Bullimore (Reve Du Rouet and Valentino V), Pippa Funnell (Second Supreme and Redesigned), Oliver Townend (Armada and Black Tie), Jodie Amos (Wise Crack), Francis Whittington (Hasty Imp), Panda Christie (Little Leo) and Louisa Lockwood (Ballyfarris Flight).
Others chose to run in the Advanced and Open Intermediate sections as their warm up. Germany’s Bettina Hoy riding Badminton bound Designer 10 scored a win in Advanced Section Q ahead of New Zealander Tim Price on Wesko, who is entered for the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event. Third went to Izzy Taylor who is standing in for Piggy French on Westwood Mariner. Time Price also took fourth on Bango, who headed for Badminton, with Mark Todd (Leonidas II), Jonelle Price (Classic Moet), Andrew Nicholson (Nereo) and Kristina Cook (Star Witness) also heading for Spring CCI**** events with their mounts.
Jock Paget gave Badminton bound Clifton Promise a run in Open Intermediate Section M, whilst his Rolex ride Clifton Signature competed in Open Intermediate Section L. Canadian eventer Kathryn Robinson also campaigned her Badminton ride, Let It Bee in this section.
Australia’s Sammi Birch and The Court Jester claimed the CIC**, keeping Sweden’s Ludwig Svennerstal and Master Ping back in the runner up spot with Germany’s Pia Munker, who had led after the dressage, finishing third on Louis M.
As well as seasoned campaigners, up and coming talent was also in action at Burnham Market. The winner of the Under 18 Open Novice Section P was Heidi Coy riding Forrests Foxy Lady.
With nine year old Fudge, as she is known at home, Heidi competed at Weston Park CCIJ*, where they came fourth, and was selected to compete in at Milstreet in Ireland with the British Eventing development squad, finishing fifth in the CIC* at her first international event. Of the win at Burnham Market Heidi said: “It was so nice to win Burnham as it was my first win on Fudge after having many close placings, but it was one of my aims this year to win on her. I am hoping to move up to intermediate soon and do some Junior trials, but have never done them and neither has she so we’re going to see how they go. I would also like to go to Frickley Park Under 18 Championships with her too.”
Burnham Market also saw William Fox-Pitt return to competitive action following his fall last autumn. William admitted that he had chosen his first competitive partners carefully, opting to ride the experienced Cool Mountain and Parklane Hawk. “They are both old pros and literally carried me round – I only had to hold on,” he claimed. Always planning to take both horses steadily across country, he enjoyed two confident clear rounds, saying “It’s a great relief to finish in one piece and feeling good.”
This weekend marked the first event supported by title sponsor Barefoot Estates and they were welcomed by Event Director Alec Lochore. He said: “Barefoot Estates have been wonderful sponsors, and the whole weekend seems to have gone very well – sunshine always helps to bring in the crowds, and the riders love to be cheered on – particularly on the cross country course. I’m delighted that so many of the best riders in the world choose to bring both their top horses and their up and coming horses to Norfolk every spring.”
Helen Millin, co-owner and director of Barefoot Estates, commented: “We’ve had a fantastic three days at the event. We have met a lot of people and made some great new contacts. From our perspective this has been the icing on the cake for the launch and awareness building of our new boutique estate agency.”
The Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam now moves on to Belton International Horse Trials (15-17 April) and offers a £50,000 prize for any rider who can win three of the five CIC*** events in the series.
Section Winners: BE100 Section C Jamie Atkinson, Age of Innocence; BE100 Section D Gaby Cooke, Gallant Gordon; B100 Section E Simon Grieve, Willeys Mayday; BE100 Section F Eleanor Hope, Porsch Pride; BE100 Under 18 Section G Leilia Paske, Fernhill First Friend; Novice Section H Andrew Hoy, Right To Plays Jack Sparrow; Novice Section I Izzy Taylor, Legacy; Intermediate Section J Meghan Healy, Lui D; Intermediate Section K Jo Ward, DHI Up Beat; Open Intermediate Section L Oliver Townend, Lanfranco; Open Intermediate Section M Tim Price, Obos Cooley; Novice Section N Julia Norman, Joblesse Van Bareelhof; Open Novice Section O Emily Llewellyn, Exclusive.
Photographs courtesy of Lorraine Porter and Eventing Images – Tim Wilkinson