Ruth Gregory reports …
Somerford Park is well known across the country for its first-class facilities and of course it’s superb annual international event, sponsored by Baileys Horse Feeds. So, it was with no surprise that the event gained mass entries once again.
Cheshire has seen a lot of rain fall over the last month, leading to the cancellation of key competitions, including the sad loss of the annual Pony Club Championships that were to be held at Cholmondeley Castle the same weekend.
Little let up in rain fall meant the event had to cancel its national classes that were scheduled on the Friday and Saturday, in order to save the ground for the international
CCI-S 2* and CCI-S 3* sections. So as planned the international classes would dressage on the Friday and Saturday on surface and then jump on the Sunday.
The team as always worked around the clock, determined to make the event happen. However, as Friday’s rain continued the King family had no choice but to cancel due to water logged ground on the David Evans designed cross country track.
With a very competitive field filled with eventing’s great stars, all queuing up to for a run across the Cheshire terrain, it is a great shame that the event was cut short.
Oliver Townend and Ballaghmor Class were leading the CCI3*-S after the dressage with the gelding’s PB of 18.8 whilst his European bound ride Cooley Master Class was close behind on 20.6 also a PB score for the double Kentucky winner.
Piggy French fresh off the back of her double international victory at Hartpury made up the top 3, scoring 20.7 with Jayne McGivern’s Calling Card.
Another European team member contesting the section was Gatcombe based Tom McEwen riding Toledo De Kerser who lay in 11th on 28.3.
Somerford based Andrew Heffernan finished on top in the CCI2*-S after dressage with Harthill Phantom, a gelding he owns with Kerry and Martin Richards. Andy had also been very busy out of the saddle as he’d designed the BE100 and Novice tracks.
Despite the loss of the event the team at Somerford Park should be credited on their huge efforts in preparation and battling the elements to try and keep it going. Their entry list being filled with the crème de le crème of the sport speaks for itself that the Baileys Horse Feeds Somerford Park International is hugely popular and a key fixture for many going into the Autumn campaign.
Eventing Worldwide thanks the King family and their team for their huge effort and are looking forward to the event next year, where fingers crossed the weather’s in favour.