Burton spreads his magic at the Festival of British Eventing

Sarah Carless reports …

Australia’s Chris Burton claimed his win in the feature class at the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing, taking the Magic Millions British Open CIC3*.

Riding Trisha Rickards’ Polystar l, Burton who won the title in 2015 with TS Jamaimo, he collected the £16,000 first prize. Finishing on a score of 24.6 he had a winning margin of 6.5 penalties. He also collected the Land Rover Prize for the highest placed overseas rider.

Burton had been in contention since the dressage, lying second following this phase with a dressage score of 21.4. He moved into the lead following the show jumping when he went clear and dressage leaders Oliver Townend and Cillnabraddon Evo lowered two rails.

Burton then rode a vintage cross-country round with the fastest of the day – collecting just 3.2 time penalties, a the pair were a vision of effortless fluency and economy taking bold turns and seeing brilliant strides to Captain Mark Phillips course.

After his win Burton commented; “I find you ride better when you’re in that position as leader, but Polystar makes me look good he’ s unbelievable.”

Izzy Taylor took home the British Open Championship Trophy for the highest placed British Rider, finishing in second with Be Touchable. Taylor set off on cross country meaning business but had no hope of catching the winner adding 7.6 time faults to finish on a score of 31.1.

Satisfied with her £12,000 prize, Taylor commented: “When I look back, I think Be Touchable will be a horse of a lifetime. I love riding him.”

In an international line-up, last year’s runner-up, Sweden’ Ludwig Svennerstal, was third on Stinger. Twenty-two year old Emily King, won the BETA Anniversary Trophy and a saddle presented by the Worshipful Company of saddlers for the best placed first time completer and Best placed rider under 25 who is not a member of the senior British team. Ninth placed Alexander Bragg won the Worshipful Company of Loriners Trophy for the youngest horse placed in the top 10 with Barrichello.

TopSpec Challenge for the Corinthian Cup

Lucy Wheeler and King Creole VD N Ranch kept a clean sheet from pillar to post to win the TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup- the National Restricted Novice Championship. The eight -year-old is owned by Graham Jack, who produced him initially before Lucy took over the ride in 2016.

The pair produced a consistent dressage test to lie fourth on 27.5, jumped up to second with a clear round in the show jumping and took the win when the two phase leaders, Jethro Thompson and Seapatrick Hint Of Cruise, clocked up a hatful of time penalties.

Lucy commented; “It’s been a new experience for both of us, but a real buzz. I thought he’d be spooky in the atmosphere, so he has surprised me. My horses have to fit in around work, but the summer is generally quieter and my boss, Stuart Robinson, has been very generous, letting me have two weeks off to come here and go on to Hartpury next week for the CCI*. He’s quite arrogant and opinionated, but he loves the job,”

Second-placed Morgan Kent only started eventing in April this year. She is more regularly seen on the showjumping circuit and had hot- year footed it back from Slovakia, where she finished fourth in a grand prix last week, to compete on her own eight-year-old mare, Felda.

“I bought her as a foal from an auction in Holland. I’d always thought she’d make a good event horse as she really moves, and this year I thought it was about time I gave it a go,” explained Morgan. Unsurprisingly, the pair were foot-perfect in the show jumping and produced a speedy cross country to finish on their dressage score of 29.5.

Third-placed Harriet Ford was delighted to be on the podium with her “horse of a lifetime” According To Archie. The pair had led the dressage with a score of 25.5 but they lost top spot following a pole down in the show jumping. She said; He injured a tendon two years ago while competing at the South of England. I’d always said that anything he did afterwards would be a bonus.”

ROR/NFT Retrained Racehorse Event Championship

Andrew Downes and Jane Moss’s Gold Nugget were crowned champions in the ROR/NFT Retrained Racehorse Event Championship.

The pair went clear in the final round of show jumping to retain their overnight lead and clinch the championship, in which the top eight horses after dressage, a first round of show jumping and cross country competed in reverse order to decide the title.

Gold Nugget, an eight-year-old by Elusive City, was bred in Ireland and later trained by Richard Hannon Senior, although he didn’t record any wins. He arrived at Downes’ yard as a five year old and is now competing at advanced level and will head to Blair Castle later this month for the CIC***.

“On the flat, he was like a plank, with no mouth, at first, but he was a complete natural across country and seemed to know his job instinctively,” said Downes.

Tom McEwen was second on Dream Big and also collected the Mike Tucker Memorial Trophy for the highest-placed rider local to Gatcombe Park, which was presented by Angela Tucker and her son, Andrew. Last year’s winners, Izzy Taylor and Alex Phillips’ Zippi Jazzman, were third.

British Eventing Trophy for Advanced Horses

Elizabeth Power and her own and Katie Horgan’s Soladoun galloped to victory in the British Eventing Trophy for Advanced Horses with one of the speediest rounds across the country.

The Irish rider and the 11-year-old French thoroughbred, who finished third in the British Open Championship two years ago, moved up from 11th after the show jumping to take victory.

“This is the sort of course that plays into his hands as it’s a speed track,” said Elizabeth. “This was only his second run of the year. He’s heading to Burghley and needed the atmosphere in the show jumping and the undulations of the cross country- it was a great preparation.”

Local rider Becky Woolven and DHI Babette K finished less than a penalty adrift on a total score of 51.5, having added two time penalties in the show jumping and 16.4 across country to their dressage score of 33.1. New Zealander Dan Jocelyn and Blackthorn Cruise completed the top three on a score of 51.7.

Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography

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