Sarah Wells – Gaston reports …
It was a truly international winning line-up at this year’s Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials.
Kazuma Tomoto from Japan and Julia Krajewski from Germany won the two sections of the prestigious Dodson & Horrell Challenge.
For Krajewski, it was her sixth international win in a row with Samourai Du Thot. The pair scire 21.3 in the dressage and added just 8.4 time faults from the cross country to finish on a score of 29.7. This put her 5.9 penalties ahead of her partner Christoph Wahler and Ignatz 22, who won the CW Sellars prize as the fastest rider across the Dodson & Horrell Challenge. Bella Innes Ker finished third with Cartown Wallabe.
“I am working my way around these lovely British events,” said Krajewski who won CCI4*-S Section C. “You can only hope that a weekend goes well after such a big trip but I wanted to bring my mare, Amande de B’neville to tackle something bigger. This is a cool course here – as long as you have a brave horse.”
Tomoto, who is being trained for the 2020 Olympic Games by former world number one William Fox-Pitt, was the winner in CCI4*-S Section B with Brookpark Vikenti. The pair scored 26.5 in the dressage and added 6.8 time faults on the cross country to finish on a score of 33.3 – a 10.5 penalty winning margin.
He commented: “My horse [Brookpark Vikenti] was very straight and very honest.”
Sam Ecroyd from Clwyd, who finished second on Wodan lll, won the Lismore Lord Charles salver, presented by Nibby Bemrose, for the best under-25 rider. Ireland’s Sarah Ennis finished third with Woodcourt Garrison.
Piggy French’s brilliant run of form continued with a double of wins at Chatsworth.French won two CCI2*-S sections with Sportsfield Top Notch (Section G), owned by herself and partner Tom March’s March Stud and Alison Swinburn’s Brookfield Quality (Section E).
Brookfield Qaulity is a new ride for Piggy and this was only their third event together, with the gelding previously being campaigned by Harry Meade and Kevin McNab.
Michael Owen was delighted to score his first international win at Chatsworth, winning CCI2*-S Section F riding Alison Allman’s Hawksmoor. Owen took on the ride of the gelding at the end of last year. He finished on the same score as Australia’s Christopher Burton, riding Jefferson 18, but took first prize because he was nearest the optimum time.
“This is our Badminton,” he said. “It’s a lovely event and so special to win here because it’s always so competitive. Really, I would have been pleased with a top ten result. I knew Chris was 11 seconds inside the time so I had a few seconds in hand to be closer. And I thought Chris had won enough!”
Vittoria Panizzon completed the quartet of two-star winners, riding Mandy Morrison’s Gebaliaretto to victory in CCI2*-S Section H.
“Chatsworth is a really good education for young horses,” said Panizzon. “It’s challenging but inviting and although there are some big fences out there, they are so well designed that the horses jump them well.”
Katie Magee scored one of the biggest wins of her career, taking the competitive Advanced class (Section D) on Dollarney, beating Japan’s Kazumo Tomoto on Vinci de la Vigne by the tiniest margin of 0.1 penalty.
Event Rider Masters
A field of 30 horses and riders gathered for the first leg of the Event Rider Master series (CCI4*-S Section A), and it was a pillar to post victory for Laura Collett and London 52, a 10-year-old former showjumper who won Blenheim in just his third season of eventing.
With its tight distances, up-to-height treble combination, and jump-off style rollback turns, the first of the jumping phases saw just seven clear rounds. Collett’s position on the leader board wasn’t to budge: she and London 52 a clear round over to hold their lead going into cross-country.
Chatsworth’s CCI4*-S track is always a test of speed and stamina. Only six people have made the time here over the last decade and nobody made the time on this occasion. Tom McEwen and Figaro van het Broekxhof, fresh off the back of their decisive win in Belton’s Grantham Cup CCI4*-S, came home with just 4.4 time penalties, rocketing them from eighth place to a final second. They shared the honour of being the fastest round of the day with Emily Philp and her talented up-and-comer Fallulah, who climbed thirteen places to finish fifth.
Time was far from the only influential factor on course. A smattering of problems led to stratospheric shifts across the leaderboard, as Pippa Funnell, Christoph Wahler, Alex Bragg, Bubby Upton, and Yasmin Ingham each took tumbles on course.
None of the problems across the board affected leader Collett. She and London 52 left the start box on a mission, and with an incredible 29 seconds in hand, it was their game to play. They didn’t need the entirety of the comfortable buffer they’d given themselves; instead, they sailed through the finish line having added just 7.6 time penalties.
“That horse is unbelievable,” said Collett who took her first win in the series. “He’s finished second so many times, and he only started at CCI4*-S last year. I just can’t believe it! I’m the luckiest girl in the world to sit on London 52. He is a very special horse and gave me some feeling. Three years ago, he’d never seen a cross-country fence – he’s come a hell of a long way, so roll on the future.”
Tom McEwen’s Grantham Cup winner Figaro van het Broekxhof is steadily establishing himself as a superstar and showed why with his joint-fastest cross-country round. Such was the influence of his speed that he finished second, climbing from seventh place despite an unfortunate pole.
“It’s brilliant!” commented McEwen. “I’m delighted for the horse, and delighted for the owners. It’s just been a great weekend. It’s a real busy track, and there’s a lot coming up very quickly on the hills, so you’ve got a lot to take into consideration out there. It’s about riding with your brain, rather than too much bravery.”
New Zealand’s Lucy Jackson rounded out the podium with Superstition, having produced one of the all-important clear show jumping rounds and added just 8.4 time penalties across the country
“This is my first podium ever in an international,” laughed Jackson. “I’m super, super, super chuffed with him. Unfortunately, I probably had too much control; if I’d gone that little bit quicker we could have been higher! But he’s green, he’s extravagant, and he’s pretty arrogant at times, so there were times when I needed to give him a second longer to assess the fences. It was busy out there.”
Dodson & Horrell’s Head of Marketing, Gemma Schwarz summed up a great three days: “It’s been an absolutely brilliant weekend of competition at Chatsworth House and there have been some very deserving winners across all the classes. Our thanks must go to all the people who have made it happen – the team at Chatsworth House, the volunteers who come to help, the riders and their support teams and everyone else involved in putting on such a great event – thank you all.”
Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography