Sarah Wells-Gaston reports …
Eventers from across the competitive spectrum descended on Bicton for three days of competition. Due to popular demand, and to minimise the number of competitors being balloted, the venue was granted an additional day of competition on the Friday, and ran classes from BE90 up to Advanced Intermediate.
And for spectators wishing to keep up with the action, live streaming of the event was available of the Advanced Intermediate – a class awash with top class combinations. One of these was Laura Collett and the ever popular Mr Bass, who was returning to competition after 447 days.
British Olympian Kitty King made the long journey south well worth it as she came home with three victories to her name. On the first day of competition, Wiltshire-based King took two victories in the Novice class: Section B with Monbeg Hendricks – who was taking a second win this month following victory at Tweseldown, and Section D with MHS Monbeg Junior – posting the lowest winning score of the event on 19.7
Kings third victory came in highly competitive Advanced Intermediate Section V (which used the FEI CCI5* B 2020 dressage test) with Vendredi Biats, with King also taking second with Cristal Fontaine. Third in the Advanced Intermediate went to Paul Tapner on Bonza King of Rouges, with the Australian making a return to the Eventing scene after a two year absence. The pair – who last competed on the national circuit at the Festival of British Eventing in 2018 – have not lost their competitive edge having also picked up a third in a competitive Open Intermediate class at Aston Le Walls. Tapner has been in the lead going into the cross country but a handful of time penalties just pushed them off the top.
Another British team rider Tom McEwen also benefited from the trip south, collecting two wins. His came in BE100 Open Section L with Brookfield Carnivan and Open Intermediate Section P with Braveheart B.
Anna Stilwell is a working pupil at GHF Equestrian and she took victory in Open Novice Section A with her own seven-year-old Rhode Island 19.
Anna Told Eventing Worldwide: “I was thrilled with Zack. I’ve had him since he was a four-year-old and have loved producing him up the levels, it’s been so rewarding and exciting going from competing him at his first ever event to now being entered for both his and my first intermediate in a few weeks. Bicton always has such great courses and we love competing there, so to win there at one of my favourite events was the icing on the cake. I feel so lucky to be able to be out competing this year and I feel like BE has done a great job of getting back up and running, the new regulations mean events run smoother than ever and so I’m looking forwards to the rest of the season.”
Elle Slack and Piltown Point we’re victorious in BE100 Open Section N.
Elle told Eventing Worldwide; “I brought Malty as a newly backed four-year-old when I was just 14 and have slowly produced him. He has been so compliant and can’t wait to see how far we can get together. It was so nice to be back out after the enforced break, and the new rules seemed to run really smoothly. Malty was definitely very happy to be back out competing. It was an amazing feeling to get our first BE win together, as it’s a rarity that I don’t let him down in at least one of the three phases. We hope, all being well, to finish the season at intermediate, having finished last season at Bicton competing in the 6/7year old CCI2*-S.”
Emma Edwards and Cataquack collected their second victory in as many weeks, topping BE90 Section G, having previously won at Launceston. Local riders were also amongst the winners. World Equestrian Games individual and team Silver medalist Padraig McCarthy topped Five Year Old Section O with Kane, whilst Mary King topped Open Intermediate Section Q with King Robert II.
Other section results: Novice Section C Alexander Bragg, Shannondale Aristo; Open Novice Section E Vittoria Panizzon, Secret Legacy; Novice Section F Alexander Bragg, Ginger Gold; BE90 Section H Ellouise Bragg, Sweet Riot; BE100 Section I Andrew Nicholson, Erin; BE100 Section J Bella Innes Ker, Temporada; BE100 Open Section K Tim Price, CHIO 20; BE100 Section M Rupert Batting, HSH Coombeland Crown Cruise; Intermediate Section R Laura Collett, Moonlight Charmer; Intermediate Section S Christopher Burton, Leopard’s Action; Intermediate Section T Dani Evans, Hollywood Dancer; Open Intermediate Section U Tom Jackson, Forrest Gump 24.
Images courtesy of Sophie Robins