Sarah Carless reports…
Townend claims top prize at Burnham Market
Oliver Townend made it ten wins in ten years by taking victory in the CIC*** at the Barefoot Estates Burnham Market Horse Trials.
In doing so he also took the second leg of the Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam series, which offers a £50,000 prize to any rider who can win three events in the series. Riding Angela Hislop’s Cooley Master Class, Townend came meaning business. He had four entries in the CIC*** and having secured the win on the same horse who took the title 12 months ago, Townend was able to withdraw his final runner, Note Worthy, who could have given him a one-two. His other rides – Arctic Mouse and Ballaghmor Class – finished eighth and eleventh respectively.
Following his win, Townend commented: “Burnham Market is always the first event of the year where I really aim to be competitive. I trust the ground, I trust the course designer, I trust everything about the place. I think running here sets my horses up for what’s to come later in the season.”
Over the three days of competition, Townend won four classes stamping his authority on the event. On the opening day, he won Novice Section I with Sweep Crystal Cruise, and followed this up with wins in Intermediate Section J with Ececheira and Advanced Section M with Lanfranco.
Piggy French has returned to competition this year in style and finished runner up with Vanir Kamira. She said: “I hadn’t planned to run fast, but we were in a good position so I went for it. Vanir Kamira can get quite nervous and it’s taken a while for me to figure her out, but she was much calmer today and jumped fantastically well.”
Aside from her runner-up spot in the big class, French also took a one-two in BE100 Section D, winning with Fernhill G and second with AKD Corline and followed this up with another win in Novice Section N on Cooley Monsoon.
New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson finished third in the CIC*** on Byrnesgrove First Diamond, also finishing 15th with Swallow Springs, with Nicola Wilson fourth riding Annie Clover, who heads to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Sarah Cohen was the popular winner of the CIC**, riding Treason whose last run was at Burghley where the pair finished 12th. Cohen was, in fact, a double winner, sharing victory in the East Anglian Air Ambulance Camel Racing. She now describes herself as a ‘one horse amateur rider and mum’, saying: “I’m just down here having a fun weekend. I love coming to Norfolk and tomorrow will be on the beach with the family.”
Bubby Upton continued her fine start to the season, winning Novice Under 18 Section G on her new ride, Cannavaro. Their partnership is only three weeks old, but looks set to be exciting. The pair finished on their dressage score of 25.3 – 2.7 penalties ahead of the second placed rider. Bubby had the two highest dressage score in the section, having led with Cola III but time penalties on the cross country dropped them down to sixth.
Bubby commented: “He’s done a fair bit of show jumping before but only a few horse trials, so I had no idea how he would go, but he was a machine around the cross country course. Cola just went a little bit babyish out there, but having won at Lincolnshire Horse Trials last month I didn’t want to push him too hard.”
Other section results: BE100 Section C Izzy Taylor, MBF Harley Rebel; BE100 Open Section E Rosalind Canter, DHI Jura; Novice Section H Ben Hobday, Shadow Top Gun; Intermediate Section K Angus Smales, Ballinteskin Rado; Open Intermediate Section L Harry Meade, Orlando; Novice Section O Verity Becker, Corndu Savistanos; Open Novice Section P Caroline Smith, Cundlegreen Birthday Girl.
Photographs courtesy of Sue Westmoor