Sarah Carless reports….

Doel takes CIC** win at Bicton

The first of this year’s three fixture’s at Bicton Arena attracted more than 700 horse and rider combinations over three days of top class conditions. 

Despite the dry spell preceding the event, the organisers’ hard work to produce good safe ground in lightDSC_5094 of the dry spell earned plenty of plaudits. 

Wiltshire-based David Doel made the trip down south a worthwhile one as he headed up the CIC** (Section A) riding Gillian Jonas’ Shannondale Quest. David took on the ride on the 17.2hh 12 year old gelding earlier this year and was thrilled with his performance. 

He commented: “He’s a really big horse, and it’s a bit like riding an oil tanker, but most of the fences at Bicton are in a straight line and the ground was great so I was able to let the handbrake off. He was beautifully produced by Louise Lockwood who my mum Maggie used to teach and we bought him in mid-February.” 

Since buying the horse David has focused on his horses fitness adding: “We’ve worked on this a lot, hacking him out around our farm where we have some fantastic hills. I dug out some old books on three day eventing fitness and he goes out for really long rides. I might do a schooling session with him, and then he goes up and down the hills.”

Seventeen-year-old Tom Hawke finished second on Andrew Nicholson’s former ride Mr Cruise Control. Tom was recommended the ride by Nicholson after the decision to downgrade him and plans to tackle CCI2* Young Rider class at Houghton International in May.

However, the teenager admitting that the 16-year-old has always been awesome cross country, but has struggled with the showjumping phase in the past. He commented: “He’d had a long time off and I really struggled with his show Jumping, but he feels completely different this year.” 

Rathbone Investment Management’S Regional Director Sarah Tobey was delighted to see her own On The Brash (Rufus) win the Advanced Intermediate Section G with Sam Griffiths on board. Sarah bought the 11-year-old as a foal from Ireland and after spending his first three years living in her fields, he was sent back to Ireland to be backed and ridden by her step-father Eric Smiley who started competing him before Bicton Arena’s manager Helen West took over.

Sarah commented: “Helen brought him up to intermediate level and when she took over running Bicton, Rufus moved to Sam Griffiths’ yard and Sam has successfully competed him since then. He has completed three CCI ***, running at Blenheim twice and Tattersalls.”

Sam, who also collected the win in BE100 in Section P win on Carphene, said: “I came here expecting to withdraw my horses after the show jumping, but the going was excellent with a good covering of grass and without any bumps, which meant I could really put my foot down with On The Brash. He was a machine and didn’t put a foot wrong.”

Riders were not the only people at Bicton to be rewarded for their efforts. Following the final prize giving, Arthur Stevens was presented with a picture in recognition to the 50 years he has devoted to British Eventing both as an organsier and a volunteer.

Tom Grant came away from Bicton with two wins to his name in Novice Section O with Argyle Diamond and Novice Section T with Leaping Lord. Michelle Harris continued her good form this season making it two wins from two with Elina St in taking victory in BE90 Section J. 

A former four-star horse took a win in BE100 Open Section Q with his new young rider. Emily Chaplin took over the ride on Simon Porloe this year and won the section with a score of 29.0 – four penalties ahead of the second placed combinations. 

Meanwhile, Hannah Townley took a second win on the year in BE90 Section L with The Domino Effect, with a winning score of 25.3. 

Hannah told Eventing Worldwide: “It was amazing to get another win. I knew we had done a nice test but didn’t think we would get such a fab score as Rhingo had had a little slip due to being barefoot and we had overshot one of our transitions but I was absolutely thrilled with our score of 25.3, our best to date! The show jumping is a bit of a blur as he zoomed around rather fast but was very pleased with the clear and cross country is his strongest phase so we just cruised round. I am so proud of how far we have come given that so many people thought we would never achieve anything because he is barefoot.” 

Other section results: Novice Section B Jo Rimmer, Tommy Tittle Mouse; Novice Section C Gemma Gurvidi, Elady Liberty D; Open Novice Section D Alexander Bragg, Spypark Ferro XS; Intermediate Section I Giovanni Ugolotti, Duke of Champion; Open Novice Section F Alexander Whewall, Chakiris Star; BE90 Section H Lewis Drew, Menai Cosmic Duke; BE90 Section I Bella Balian, Merlino; BE90 Section K Issy Halpin, Shanbo Hazel Nut; BE100 Section M Amanda Wreford Brown, Tetris Rock; BE100 Plus Section N Amanda Taylor Gorsehill Woodie; BE100 Under 18 Section R Jess Rimmer, Murphy Mayhill; NE100 Under 18 Section S Camilla Read, Cloonberry Flare; Novice Under 18 Section U Eleanor Hope, Porsch Pride. 

Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee

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