Sarah Wells-Gaston reports ..
Bicton Arena marked the finale of the British Eventing competition of the season. The fixture welcomed in excess of 700 horses on site for a jam-packed schedule which saw amateurs and professionals from all over the country make the trip to Devon.
The schedule featured the hotly contested Goodbye Flys BE100 three-day competition, which provides amateur riders with the opportunity to participate in an ‘old-school’ long format eventing competition, including roads and tracks and a steeplechase, a
Katy Mousdale won Section F with her own horse Conclusive on her first trip to Bicton. The pair started with a dressage score of 25.8 and added 3.2 time penalties on the cross country with a final score of 29 – leading from start to finish. This put their 1.5 penalties ahead of second placed rider Ellie Townend and Teo Van Het Trichelhof with Claire Deuten finishing third with Diamond Woods.
Katy said “Everyone is so helpful, the officials and volunteers are all there to help you. It’s a stunning venue and the team have worked so hard on the ground, we’re so lucky to come here, especially in this year like this.”
Charlie Piper, a Polden Hills Pony Club member, won the BE100 Open three day event (Section G) with Zadok D with a narrow 0.3 penalty victory. Charlie had been third after the dressage woth a score of 28, and took the win thanks to her clear show jumping and cross-country rounds. Amelia James finished second with Couragueen Jennie with Hani Milstien finishing third with Vlove D Or Ly.
Charlie commented, “Bicton is a great venue, everything is really well run and I’ve enjoyed being here, there’s not really a better way to finish off the year!”
Having re-routed from the CCI2*-L at Osberton at Thoresby International following an unfortunate elimination, Georgie Strang and Jakzent Tren topped CCI2*-L Section A ahead of Tom Jackson and HH Moonwalk and Georgina Herrling in third with Kilpatrick Knight. Stang led from start to finish, thanks to an impressive dressage score of 24.9 and clear jumping rounds. Indeed, the top three finishers remained in the same place as they were after the dressage.
There were two sections of CCI2*-S – section D and Section E. Winner of Section D was Ireland’s Alex Power and Lord Seekonig with Katie Burton topping Section E with Cornish Cabochon.
Winner of the Rathbones CCI3*-L (Section B) was New Zealand eventing stalwart Andrew Nicholson. Having been eighth after the dressage, the pair lept up the leader board thanks to a quick round on the cross country – adding just 1.2 time faults. Nicholson finished ahead of Gaspard Maksud and Zaragoza II in second and Heidi Coy and Corrigsean Tiger in third.
Nicholson commented: “Bicton has got some of the best terrain in the world for cross country riding. Yesterday, even with the rain, the ground still felt good to ride on. It’s a great place for a CCI3*-L, it’s got it all here.”
The short format of the CCI3* (Section C) went the way of Lauren Innes with Global Fision M. Innes had been in second after the dressage – which was led by Daiy Procter and Quarry Man (a ride she took on earlier this year, with the combination going on to finish sixth) – and added just 0.4 time penalties from the cross country to take the win. Tom Jackson took another second place with Ask for Machier with Will Rawlin and Ballycoog Breaker Boy rounding out the top three.
Padraig McCarthy scored a double victory at Bicton collection victory in Novice Section M with Pomp N Circumstance and BE100 Section J with MGH Jackpot. William Fox-Pitt was the run-away winner in Open Novice Section N with Under Oath. The pair finished on a score of 20.8 with the second placed combination finishing on 35.6 – an exceptional winning margin of 14.8 penalties, having already been 9.2 penalties ahead of the field after the dressage.
Helen West, Bicton Arena Manager, commented, “Whilst riders have missed out on a lot of the season this year, it was great to be able to finish on a high and put on a show for everyone to enjoy. It’s now full steam ahead to 2021, we’re already looking forward to welcoming competitors and hopefully spectators back through the gates.”
Other section results: BE100 Section H Saffron Cresswell, Max Ward; BE100 Section I Elizabeth Payne, Penolva High Hopes; Novice Section L Will Rawlin, Dominator PFB; BE100 Under 18 Section K Freddie Cooper, Maretta Ash; Open Novice Under 18 Section O Lara Chapple, Stambrook Masterful.
IMAGES COURTESY OF SOPHIE ROBBINS