EVENT REPORTS – Belton International

McEwen wins big at Belton Park

Sarah Wells-Gaston reports 

With a world-class field, Belton Park Horse Trials offered up an action-packed weekend of eventing action.

Tom McEwen wrapped a successful weekend at Belton Park International Horse Trials by claiming the 2019 Lycetts Grantham Cup – the feature class of the weekend. The class attracted a high-class field of 118 entries but it was McEwen came out victorious with Barbara Cooper’s Figaro Van Het Broexhof.

The pair had been 31stafter the dressage with a score of 33.5, but were elevated to the winner’s spot thanks to a clear round show jumping and coming home under the optimum time on cross country – one of only four riders to do so. It is the pair’s biggest result to date with McEwen taking on the ride at the start of 2018.

Runner-up behind Tom was Laura Collett on London 52 while Mollie Summerland, the Polly Phillips Memorial winner, took third position. The Polly Phillips Memorial prize is awarded to the highest-placed British rider who has not been part of a senior championship team, in memory of Polly, a British eventer who had been placed at Badminton and Burghley and also been part of the British team at the European and world championships.

It was one of three wins at the Lincolnshire event for McEwen, whose other victories came in CCI3*-S Section M with Dreamaway II and Open Intermediate Section G with No Excuse, who he is riding for Ros Canter whilst she prepares for motherhood. He is proving to be a great deputy for the World Equestrian Games Gold medallist, with Lordships Graffalo finishing third in Novice Section B.

Bubby Upton continues to make a name for herself as one of Britain’s best young eventers, winning the CCI3*-S Section H with Cola III, also finishing 11thwith Cannavaro. She also finished 4thin the CCI3*-S with Eros DHI. The 2017 Junior European Champion is aiming for selection to the Young Rider European Championships and to compete in her first CCI4*-L event.

Bubby told Eventing Worldwide: “It was great to have such a good start to the season and to have all my horses feeling on such amazing form at Belton. Cola III was pure class from start to finish so it was very exciting for him to win his section. It was a shame I couldn’t quite pull off a double CCI3* win – Eros DHI had a really unlucky pole which cost him the win in his section but I’m just so delighted with how they all feel at the moment and am so excited for the rest of the season.”

CCI3*S Section H was won by Kitty King and Cristal Fontaine. Piggy French continued her fantastic start to the eventing season collecting two wins at Belton. With Highdown March she won Intermediate Section J and then took victory in Intermediate Section K with Cooley Monsoon. These latest wins take her tally of first places up to 14 since the start of the year – a 31.8% winning rate. Even more amazing is she has tallied 33 top ten placings.

The Advanced Under 25 Class (section P) was won by Lizzie Baugh and Quarry Man. Lizzie purchase Quarry Man from Vere Phillips as a five-yearpold and together they have competed at two Young Rider European Championships.

Lizze told Eventing Worldwide: “I’m absolutely thrilled with Quarry Man as this was only our third run at Advanced level. He gave me a fantastic ride round the cross country and was with me all the way. This season is all about gaining more experience around the bigger tracks for us and our next big aim is the 4* at Chatsworth.”

Phillipa Ward and eight-year-old Tipperary William took their first affiliated win at Novice Level in Novice Section C.

Phillipa told Eventing Worldwide: “Willie was originally bought for Rebekah Lewis to hunt as that is all he had previously done. But she then broke her foot so I kept him ticking over for her and taught him some flatwork. It became apparent that he was more than just a hunter. He did his first event season last year where he was placed every time out.

“He was just fab at Belton. Although he’s more than capable we went with no expectations, not even thinking about him getting placed as it was a big test for him and we just wanted him to get round confidently. So when he won it was a massive shock. Willie will move up to intermediate and will do a 2* long, He’s also got some novice regional finals to do hopefully qualifying him for the Festival of British eventing at Gatcombe.”

Other section results;Novice Section A Willa Newton, Cock A Doodle Do; Novice Section B Ibby Macpherson, Ballinamurra De Valera; Open Novice Under 18 Section D Oliver Jackson, Viktor Krum; Intermediate Section E Ben Way, Ringwood Madras; Intermediate Section F Francis Whittington, Brother Bertie; Open Intermediate Under 21 Section L Heidi Coy, Carrigsean Tigerseye; Advanced Section M Laura Collett, Dacapo.

Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography 

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