Nicholson regains King of Barbury crown
Sarah Wells – Gaston reports ..
New Zealander Andrew Nicholson has regained his King of Barbury crown. With a win in the CCI4*-S (Section C) on Swallow Springs, it was his sixth win at this level.
Nicholson lives just down the road from the Wiltshire event and commented: “I love coming here. I like to support my local event and I’ve brought a lot of my nice novice horses this weekend. Swallow Springs has always been a very good horse, but he likes to look about – you can be coming to a difficult fence and his mind is on the bar or getting an ice-cream. Now, though, he’s very focused – he’s starting to feel like Avebury.”
Twenty-one-year-old Mollie Summerland had been the leader after dressage, but added 7.2 time faults from the cross country to finish second on Charly van ter Heiden. But she was delighted to put the ghost of Bramham, when her saddle slipped, behind her.
“I was very down after Bramham, but I have been working hard with the World Class sport psychologist and have realised that these things sometimes happen. I really want to make eventing my career. The only thing holding me back is lack of horsepower, but I hope that perhaps someone might notice me now and send me a horse. You never know.”
British rider Alexander Bragg rounded out the top three with Hester, and also came seventh with King of the Mill. He was full of praise for Alec Lochore’s track, saying: “Alec built a super track. They were all decent courses, as they should be. If you’re trying to produce a horse for the top, you need these types of tracks to bring them on. The ground had super grass cover, too.”
Zara Tindall produced the fasted time of the CCI4*-S, helping her rise more than 30 placed to finish fourth on Watkins.
Piggy French rode Alison Swinburn, John and Chloe Perry’s Brookfield Quality to a win in CCI3*-S Section A, the partnership’s fourth win of the season. French commented: “Brookfield Quality is a fabulous jumper and very professional. I’ve not been riding him long and at home he almost felt too careful. I still have work to do, but he can definitely go to the next level – we just need to cement our relationship.”
A single show jump down prevented Adam Harvey and Picasso V from successfully defending the class they won last year, opening the door for French, who recently got married to her partner Tom March, to climb above them on the leaderboard. Sir Mark Todd completed the top three with Leonidas II.
Dressage leaders Marcelo Tosi and Starbucks from Brazil had a hugely expensive show jumping round which saw them plummet down the leaderboard.
Such was the popularity of the CCI3*-S, two sections were run, and Andrew Nicholson took another win with the As, a full brother to Damaso, with whom Nicholson won Novice Section F.
French secured another podium position, finishing second with Brookfield Inocent and also finished fourth with Calling Card.
She commented: “I had a slight brake failure with Calling Card after a downhill gallop and couldn’t get my turn – but I’m sure it’s fixable. Brookfield Inocent is such a lovely, talented horse, I’m so excited about him. He just wants to do it.
Completing the top three were Laura Collett and Sir Papillon. Hannah Bate and Fanta Boy had led Section B after the dressage but dropped well down the order with penalties in both jumping phases.
Irish rider Austin O’Connor won the Open Novice Section D riding Calvin II. O’Connor took over the ride on the nine-year-old at the end of April this year, they have already had a win and a second place as a partnership. He narrowly pipped New Zealander Tim Price to the post, with Price settling for second place on Happy Boy. Price wasvictorious in Novice Section E, winning on Emotion II for a second win on the trot. Sue Benson’s Falco IV gave Price another win, this time in an Intermediate Novice Section I.
Barbury was also a qualifier for the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse – a window to view potential ‘five star’ horses at an early age.
Laura Schroter’s ride Marengo Bonaparte, owned by J Henrik Schroter, topped the line-up in the four-year-old class with a winning margin of six points. The 16.3hh gelding by Durango VDL posted the leading dressage score, judged by Angela Tucker, and best jumping score, judged by Sue Benson, before being awarded the maximum 10 marks by Annabel Scrimgeour in the Suitability and Potential phase.
Schroter has only been riding the horse since May, having bought him from Emily Llewellyn. She commented: “We did our first competition last Sunday, a small unaffiliated dressage show, and now this. He’s very chilled and easy, a really lovely horse to ride.”
Julia Norman’s ride, Kontendro WSH, owned by Chas Bright, came second with Klaas-Jan B, owned by Julian Podger and ridden by Emily Young-Jameson placing third.
Outback 11, was victorious in the five-year-old class. Ridden by Laura Collett the pair had a two point margin. Collett bought the horse as a three-year-old and has done a few BE100 classes to date; she is hoping to move him up to novice by the end of the season, and target Le Lion d’Angers six year old championships next year.
She commented: “He has always been one of my favourites. He was very easy and balanced from the moment we backed him. He has confirmed my good opinion about his potential in competition so we are delighted. I am lucky to have three very supportive owners in Yogi Breisner, Chris Clementi and Diana Chappell. They have deserved a good horse, especially after Diana lost Grand Manoeuvre last year. It’s particularly nice to have Yogi involved as he has helped me from the start when I was on ponies.”
Runner up was Gilly Kinloch’s Speedwell, ridden by Georgie Strang, with Direct Golden Girl, ridden by Sammi Birch in third.
Other section results: Novice Section G Libby Seed, Billy Alberto; Novice Section H Bill Levett, Dignified Hero; Intermediate Novice Section J Gubby Leech, Royal Harvest; Novice Section K Matthew Glentworth, Forthright; Novice Section L Jesse Campbell, Sportsfield Global Warrior.
Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography