Event Reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners
Laura Phipps reports….
The UK is renowned for receiving a battering from the weather; namely the rain. Rather ironically, the lack of rain in recent months has been wreaking havoc with organisers, as events across the country strive to produce safe ground for competitors to run on. Aston -Le -Walls no exception. Over 75 bowsers of water was applied to the ground in the days running up to and including the first two days of competition. The organisers hard work was rewarded as a plethora of star names were attracted to this popular Northamptonshire venue.
Following a dazzling performance at Badminton, one such name rolled the bandwagon onto Aston-Le-Walls. Rosalind Canter brought two horses here and left with a win in OI Section H. Her ride, Pencos Crown Jewel, is an 8yo mare by Jumbo and this was their second win at this level in 2017. The top five all completed on their sub 25 dressage scores however Ros produced a superb score of 19.8 to lead from the outset. Ros also came away with an eighth place in OI Section D riding Spring Ambition. Ros wrote on Facebook “what a lovely sunny day at Aston. Amazing ground and amazing horses!” Ros also reflected further on Badminton by commenting “Here today, I have had so many words of congratulations. The enormity of what Alby and I achieved last week is only just starting to sink in but the genuine words and well wishes spoken by so many people just make it even better.”
The highs and lows of eventing are perilously divided by a thin line. From one competitors elation to anothers desperation. Izzy Taylor suffered an unfortunate fall at Badminton however ,wallowing is not something these stern competitors participate in, and Izzy arrived here with nine horses culminating with a win and a handful of placings. Be Touchable, an 11yo gelding by Touchable, won a CIC*** at Millstreet on his final outing last season and started this new season in much the same vein, by winning OI Section D on his fabulous dressage score of 20.5. They completed ahead of Oliver Townend and Black Tie on a score of 22.3. Oliver also enjoyed a largely fruitful time here with his five rides all completing within the top 10 in their respective sections without winning.
The precarious nature of the sport was rather unfortunately highlighted by two section winners. Both Kitty King and Laura Collett horses suffered minor injuries at an unfortunate time, forcing their withdrawal from Badminton. Slight recompense was afforded to both. Laura bought six horses here and left with four top ten placings including a win in Intermediate Section C. Her winner was Constance O Cool, a 7yo mare by Billy Be Cool, who completed on a score of 25.1 on her first attempt at this level. Kitty triumphed in OI Section I riding Vendredi Biats, an 8yo by Winningmood V/D Arenberg. This exciting gelding has gone from strength to strength; he has numerous good results at CIC*/** level including a second place at Belton in the CIC** this Spring. They consolidated their form here with a leading dressage mark and adding nothing thereafter to complete on 20.9. Kitty wrote on her Facebook page “Super day at Aston with Vendredi Biats jumping a brilliant double clear to finish on his fantastic dressage score.” Kitty also lead Novice Section M after dressage on Snow Wind, but had a pole down to drop to 5th. Kitty also finished 6th in Novice Section N with Drewmain Firefly and 2nd in BE100 Section S riding Cristal Fontaine.
One established riding star teamed up with a rising equine star to win Intermediate Section G. Gemma Tattersall was another to arrive here off the back of a superb performance at Badminton. Her mount here was Chilli Knight completing on their dressage score of 31.6. If Gemma has any ambitions to win Badminton with this horse, then his pedigree will not be a hindrance – as it stamps him a superstar. Chilli Knight is by a Badminton winner in William Fox-Pitts Chilli Morning, out of Kings Gem who competed up to 4* level with Gemma herself. They won here ahead of in second Izzy Taylor and Killdeers Cougar Girl who also completed on their dressage of 33.6. Gemma tweeted “Another win for Chilli Knight, what a horse he is turning out to be. Future star.” Gemma was full of praise for the ground commenting “I am hugely grateful to Aston for what they’ve done with the ground through tireless effort of watering and spiking. Its amazing.” Chilli Knight holds an entry for the CCI* at Houghton at the end of May. Gemma also finished second on Billy Hopeful, a 7yo mare by Billy Congo in Novice Section M.
Goose Leigh and Lancelot 359 recorded their first win together in Intermediate Section L on a brilliant score of 24.4. This success was also notable as it was the first of this 21yo riders BE career. This 12yo gelding of unknown breeding, was previously ridden by Jesse Campbell and Goose took over in 2015. ’The best things in life are free’ is very pertinent in this instance although perhaps not entirely expected as Goose tells their story to Eventing Worldwide “I was given Lance for free; he had been badly injured, unsure if he could event again. I bought him back very slowly and built him up. He is the kindest horse, a big 16.3hh Swedish Warmblood; he should be too big and strong for me as i’m only 5’5, but we have a special partnership and he really looks after me. I really could not enjoy riding him more and feel so grateful for being given the opportunity on such a talented horse.” She reflected further on their win here “Usually I am very careful about running him fast to protect him, but Nigel had done such a fantastic job with the ground so I decided to go for it and Lance really rose to the occasion.”. Discussing plans for the rest of the season, Goose remarked “I have to fit him around university but plan some more Intermediates and ultimately a two star; potentially at Gatcombe as we have good results there and being local we have a big support team.” This victory was all the more sweeter for the fact that the pair beat none other than Tina Cook into second place by a very comfortable 8.1 penalties.
Andrew Mcconnon is the holder of the proverbial golden ticket of eventing. Andrew moved to Dorset last year from North Carolina USA, to join none other than William Fox-Pitt as a rider. Andrew’s ride here, Andarilho , a 12yo gelding by R-Kazan Coussoul, is one of a ‘few horses’ William has allowed Andrew to compete. Together they added nothing to a first phase score of 27.0 to triumph in Novice Section M. Andarilho is owned by Carol Egan, who is new to the sport, and Andrew has had the ride since March. Andrew told Eventing Worldwide “He’s aimed at Houghton CCI* in a few weeks after which we’ll revaluate and plan an Autumn campaign. I’m really enjoying living and competing in England. William is how you would imagine: kind, supportive and very helpful. He wants horse and rider to perform at their best without added pressure or expectation.” When asked to comment on the differences between the two nations Andrew replied: “ The biggest difference is the amount of quality horses and sheer number of world class riders at every event – we have some very nice horses and excellent riders at home but the depth in the UK is greater. Being around the best in the sport pushes you to improve.” It is always exciting to see new owners come to the sport – we hope you enjoyed the buzz of a win Carol and welcome you on board of ,what hopefully, precludes a long and successful association.
Perhaps there was singing, perhaps there was rain dancing or perhaps the weather gods saw fit to relieve organisers – rain welcomed competitors to the venue for the final day of competition as the course enjoyed a natural watering.
There were two riders who added to wins here earlier in the week. Gordon Murphys dressage mark of 21.3 afforded him a pole down SJ and 1.0 SJT without relinquishing his lead in BE100 Section U. His mount, The Hornblower a 6 yo gelding by Mermus R, was gaining his first BE win. Gordons earlier win came in Novice Section N aboard Elmwood Czech Point on their dressage score of 20.8.
Georgie Strang’s mount, San Solo an 8yo gelding by San Amour, has limited mileage, but importantly now in the groove of winning. He won his last event at this level on his dressage mark and he replicated the feat here in winning BE100 Section T on 25.8. Georgie’s second win of the week came in Novice Section P aboard Capels Hollow Drift on a mark of 31.7.
Other section winners:
Section Q: Ibby Macpherson & Bountiful Bess
Section R: Maaike Van Wijk & Prospect Howzat
Section S: Ben Mcclumpha & Ridgeway Cross
Section O – Amy Louise-Harris & Bachelor Boy
Section A – Ludwig Svernnerstal & Paramount Importance
Section B – Tom Jackson & Courvoisier
Section J – Annabel Cathy & Diamond R
Section K – Louise Harwood & Omard Mickey Two
Open Intermediate under 21:
Section E – Lizzie Baugh & Quarry Man
Section F – Naomi Lawrence & So Quiet