Sonia Chapman reports …
Deniro Z and Liz Halliday Sharp showed they are very much back on form, with a win from pillar to post in the CCI3*S class at Brightling. This was Deniro Z first run back after an unfortunate virus at Kentucky CCI5* in the spring. This win is a good stepping stone for their next outing, which marks Liz’s first run at Aachen an aim she has had for a while, so best of luck. The CCI3*S was an exclusive affair, with 3 established advanced horses taking the top placings. Pippa Funnell was pipped by 0.2 to be trailing Liz in the dressage on MGH Grafton Street, on a very respectable score of 25. Pippa maintained this position to finish second. Third place went to a delighted Felicity Collins on home bred Just Amazing. No doubt providing Felicity with lots of confidence before the Young Rider Europeans at Maarsbergen on RS Contend’or next weekend.
The dressage for the CCI3*S at Brightling takes place on the lawn of the main house, in fact the lawn is perfectly sized for a 20 by 60 arena as if it was designed for the exact purpose.
The Isle of Wights top eventer Sarah Holmes, led an invasion and captured the CCI2*s section with Harley Brown owned by Ellen Brown. Sarah states “I think managing to lead from the start makes this win even more exciting”. A great dressage of 24.4 was followed up with a double clear, only adding 0.8 time penalties on the cross country. Although looking at Sarah’s eventing page it seems Harley was out practicing his dressage the previous weekend and managed to win a Prix St Georg and take second in an Inter 1. Belgium international Geoffroy DE Jamblinne picked up second place on his 9 year old advanced horse Consequent Pia Z, who consequently also picked up 0.8 time penalties cross country. Georgia Bartlett and Coolrock Wacko Jacko were the first combination to finish on their dressage score in third place, setting Georgia up for the Junior Europeans on her other horse. Gemma Tattersall and her Goresbridge GO for Gold purchase from 2017 Summer Stardust finished in 4th place in the 6 year old mares first CCI2*S.
The sparse section of NRF was won by Indiana Limpus and Billy Pacific, from the leading dressage position on 25.9 and a double clear with a few time. This section was sadly very limited with 5 entries, 4 starters and only 2 finishers.
The stunning pony stallion Prometheus picked up the win in Novice section J, just 2 weeks after his 6th birthday, with Melissa Joannides. In fact section J had 3 stallions in the small section of 16 starters.
Saturday at Brightling was bathed in sunshine, providing beautiful views but exceedingly hot weather. Most competitors chose not to wear jackets in either the dressage or show jumping. Although it was heard in the lorry park “I feel guilty for not wearing a jacket, after watching you ride in one”. “I have only been riding in a jacket, as I can hear my old DC’s voice in my head, its only for a short while just man up”! Without divulging names this conversation was between a former member of the Chiddingfold Pony Club and her former employer.
There were a number of lucky jockeys out at Brightling with expanded strings as their horses normal jockeys are currently on the side lines for the remainder of the season, due to being in the family way. It was also good to see Fiona Kashel’s ride Drumhowan Black Magic, have his first run back after missing Badminton 2017 due to a small set back. Although it must have been frustrating for Fiona to have to watch her stable jockey Amy Chittenden get the honour, due to Fiona expecting twins.
Sasha Hourigan had a good weekend with her team of homebred horses, with a BE90 win for Will She Be Dun, who I can confirm is not dun. Although sadly twins Double Act & Twice of Nice were unable to follow up their great result at Rackham, where they both won a BE100 section, as Double Act could only manage second this weekend.
Brightling is a great event, with galloping tracks around beautiful parkland including a rotunda, several waters, hedges, across lawns and a dedicated showjumping ring. Hopefully they can be persuaded to carry on holding the event, fingers crossed as it is one of the friendliest and has an amazing locations.