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Sarah Carless reports …
Tattersall makes history at Chatsworth
Gemma Tattersall made history at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials by becoming the first female rider to win a leg of the Event Rider Masters series.
Tattersall took victory in the opening leg of the 2017 series with her Rio Olympics partner Quicklook V, having been in contention from the off. Lying second after the dressage with a score of 33.7 (just 0.5 behind the leader), the pair put on a masterclass in the jumping phases to take victory and the £16,000 cheque.
France’s Thomas Carlile had been in the lead after the dressage with the grey stallion Upsilon who performed an exceptional dressage test scoring 33.2. Of his test Thomas said: “Upsilon is such a wonderful horse and has so much ability. We’ve really worked on strengthening him up for this phase and he certainly delivered.” However, the pair had an uncharacteristic refusal in the show jumping dropping them to fifth. This promoted Tattersall into the lead going into the final phase having had one of only 11 clears from the field of 40.
The time on the cross country proved influential with only three riders coming home under the optimum time of 6 minutes and ten seconds. The most convincing of this was Elizabeth Power riding Soladoun who finished in five minutes and 49 seconds, moving them from 30th after the dressage to seventh in the final standings. Marcia Carvalho Jorge (Coronel MJC) and Thomas Carlile (Upsilon) were the other riders to come home time penalty free.
Going into the cross country Tattersall had 18 seconds in hand, and despite being eight seconds over the optimum time it was enough to give her victory with a score of 36.9 over Germany’s Bettina Hoy with Designer 10. Carlile’s fast round across the country boosted him back onto the podium for third.
Following her win Tattersall commented: “I tried to be relaxed and she tried her little heart out all the way to the end. She is not a naturally fast galloper but today she just kept going. We were super quick to and from every single fence and every jump came up in a really good stride so we didn’t waste any time anywhere. She has come back better than ever, a personal best in the dressage, super clear show jumping and an awesome round cross country I am chuffed to bits with her.”
Hoy put the disappointment of Badminton Horse Trials behind her when she retired Designer 10 at Fence Six. At Chatsworth she commented: “I’m so excited to compete here and be part of the Event Rider Masters. I’m very pleased with Designer 10 – he was still a bit strong cross country but I’m very proud of my horse.”
Hoy enjoyed further success over the weekend as she also triumphed in CIC*** Section C with Seigneur Medicott. It was a convincing win for the German rider as she finished 9.1 penalties ahead Bill Levett riding Athleet V WITH Emma Forsyth and Soltair Justice finishing in third.
Rising British star Tom McEwen took victory in CIC*** Section B on Strike Smartly, an attractive Irish-bred grey horse new to his Gloucestershire yard. Tattersall was in the prizes again, with second place on her exciting youngster Santiago Bay whilst another British rider Francis Whittington finishing third with Carlchen.
Riders representing Hong Kong made history with the first win for their country at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials. Remarkably, Patrick Lam, who won CIC* Section H on Jockey Club DYK5, only took up eventing this year – he represented Hong Kong in show jumping at the Rio Olympic Games last year.
Lam, who lives in Austria, admitted it had been a steep learning curve commenting: “The other riders told me that eventing is good fun and I am really loving it, but I have to say that today is the biggest cross-country course I’ve ever seen.”
There were further celebrations as his compatriot Annie Ho finished second on Baxo. She was inspired to start in the sport after working as a volunteer in the stables at the 2008 equestrian Olympics in Hong Kong. She said: “I just loved the atmosphere and wanted to be part of this sport.”
Other victories in the CIC* sections went to Dutch rider Andy Heffernan (Section G, Castle View Larry), Tom McEwen who had a one two in Section E, winning with The Magician and second with CHF Cooliser and Francis Whittington (Section F, Exellent R), who was paying his first ever visit to Chatsworth. Whittington paid tribute to course-designer David Evans saying: “I can’t believe I’ve never been to Chatsworth before – it’s an incredible place. The novice track was brilliant, very educational for a young horse and on really good going.”
British Eventing Novice & Advanced
Alongside the international competition, the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials also played hosted to three domestic British Eventing classes – one Advanced and two Novice classes.
William Fox-Pitt was the victor in Novice Section I with Georgisaurous. The pair scored 23.5 in their dressage and added just 1.6 time faults to finish on 25.1. The second Novice class, Section J went to another British rider, Paul Sims. With Dantes Inferno, the pair added just two time penalties to their dressage score to finish on 31.0. It was the pair’s second win this season, having won a BE100 class at Kelsall Hill.
Advanced Section D was won by Arthur Duffort with Toronto D Aurois. With just 0.4 time penalties from the cross country in a section where none of the competitors came home inside the optimum time of six minutes, the pair finished with a score of 32.5.
Burghley Young Event Horse
Owner-breeder Joanne Pullan had a ‘bittersweet’ competition when her home-bred youngster Grafiba won the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier for four-year-olds.
She explained that a second horse due to be competing at Chatsworth was recovering from sycamore poisoning, but that the victory of Grafiba had made up for the disappointment. Rider Samantha Jimmison said: “The plan was to come here to get experience for Grafiba and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
Emilie Chandler also booked a ticket for the finals at Burghley in September with first place in the five-year-old class on her own Hazzle Dazzle by leading British showjumper William Funnell’s stallion Billy Congo.
Chatsworth welcomed bumper crowds, who enjoyed thrilling competition and variety of entertainments on offer, from scurry driving to dog and sheep displays.
“We’ve had a wonderful weekend of competition here at the Dodson & Horrell Chatsworth International Horse Trials, with all level of riders taking part, from the true amateur to the very best professionals in the world,” commented Sam Horrell, Dodson & Horrell’s CEO. “It is always an honour to be a part of such an iconic event and we would like to thank all those who have made this weekend so special.”
Photographs courtesy of Hannah Cole