Millie Wain reports …
Four days of competition took place within the grounds of the beautiful Cholmondeley Castle. Having received over 950 entries for classes ranging from BE90 to Intermediate, two extra days were added, much to the delight of those wishing to resume the 2020 season. Cholmondeley attracted some top-class riders including Piggy French, Ros Canter, Oliver Townend and Tom McEwen, all of whom had their 5* horses competing over the weekend.
Vicki Ardern and Eddy Merckx M2S took the win in BE90 section A, finishing on their dressage score of 27 penalties. They were one of just three combinations to go double clear inside the time in the section. Eventing Worldwide caught up with Vicki following her win:
“It was a bit of a shock to win at Cholmondeley to be honest! I went with the plan of giving him a confident run before we stepped up to BE100 but he just felt like a real pro the whole day and gave me the best feeling across the country.
I bought Eddy through my trainer Maddy Moffett the back end of last year and she has helped us get a good partnership together. He’s a lovely horse that just wants to please but can sometimes get a little ‘distracted’ so we’ve been working on getting him on side; the last few months I’ve put a lot of work into our partnership and it just seems to be clicking.
I’m very excited about our future together. I hope to move up to BE100 now and just try to keep him progressing and growing in confidence. I think he has a very bright future but for the moment we are enjoying learning about each other.”
The Open Intermediate section Q was extremely competitive; each combination in the top 10 completed on sub-30 scores, the majority of which had quick double clears. Oliver Townend claimed first place in this section aboard Arklow Puissance. They were in 7th place after the first phase but added nothing to this, which was enough to take them to the top of the placings. Oliver also had Ballaghmor Class in the section, who jumped a steady double clear with a dressage score of 21.1 penalties. Second place in section Q went to Piggy March with Marchwood and in third place was Tim Price riding Falco IV. Tim was in the lead going into the cross country but added 5.6 time penalties; this was still enough for a top 3 finish.
Section B of the BE90 was won by Bethany Lee riding Creevagh Hannah. The pair scored 26.8 in the dressage phase and followed this up with a double clear inside the time to take the win by 3 penalties ahead of second place, which went to Emma Rarity and Kudu. This was the combination’s second consecutive win, after having taken the top spot at Warwick Hall two weeks prior to Cholmondeley. Here’s what Bethany had to say about her win:
“I work full time as a Marketing Executive at Bupa in Manchester. I got Zara (Creevagh Hannah) as a 4-year-old and she hadn’t done anything but I have now had her for 2 years. She was very green but had the best attitude so I have brought her on slowly. She did 2 BE80s last year; she won the first and in the second, we were leading the class and jumped a great XC round but I missed the penultimate fence so missed out on a 2nd win. We stepped up to BE90 at Warwick Hall (as soon as the lockdown was lifted) and my aim was to just remember the XC course! Amazingly, we won at Warwick and then won again this weekend at Cholmondeley. She is such a lovely mare with the best attitude and is always so willing.
It was an amazing feeling to win because it was a large competitive section and I felt our dressage wasn’t our best but she jumped 2 amazing rounds so I was really happy. I found out when we were back at the yard that I had won and was thrilled. I am planning to do another BE90 at Llanymynech then if all goes well, we will step up and to 100 at Kelsall Hill and then Weston Park.
It has been great that eventing has been able to resume.”
Yasmin Ingham had also had a second consecutive win with the 9-year-old Banzai Du Loir in the Intermediate section W. Yasmin was the only rider in the section to complete on their dressage score (24.6 penalties). This left them nearly 8 penalties ahead of second place, which went to Tom Rowland and KND Steel Pulse on a score of 32.4. Carolyne Ryan-Bell and Ballymoon Diamond completed the top 3 on the same score as second place, but were further away from the optimum time of 5 minutes and 22 seconds round Alex Lochore’s cross country course.
A third rider to win a BE90 section was Georgia Webb riding Pantheras Adonis. They had a double clear in section C and we spoke to Georgia after her win:
“I’ve owned George (Pantheras Adonis) for 2 years. I bought him as a lightly backed 6-year-old when I was looking for a project to bring on over the winter. 2 years later, he’s now my main horse because he is more talented than I could have ever have wished for. He can be a bit a bit quirky at times but that makes him who he is. He is a very clever horse and is so keen to work and please; it’s honestly been the most rewarding thing training and watching him progress and learn to trust me and trust himself. Last year he went from BE80 where he placed 8th with a DC at his first ever event to jumping his first BE100 again going DC to finish just outside the top 10. He’s gone from spaghetti legs to achieving a 26 Dressage, something I never dreamed would happen.
Winning at the weekend was incredible. I wasn’t expecting anything at all due to the situation this year. I just wanted to go out and enjoy him whilst I could, as I honestly didn’t think we would be out this year. This year has been hard for me and having George has been the only thing that kept me going so the fact that he performed so well was his way of giving me a hug and telling me it’s all going to be okay. I had no idea of my score until I finished cross country as I don’t like pressure. When my dad told me I was in the lead after my cross country, I cried! My mum had stayed at home and was following the live scores called to congratulate me whilst I was still cooling George down.
I am hoping to get into Solihull BE where we will do another 90, and then step up to BE100 again at Llanymynech.
I just want to thank BE for their hard work being able to give us some sort of a season this year and also to all of the volunteers that make it possible to run the events.”
The best dressage score of the weekend (18 penalties) went to Holly Smith riding the 7-year-old gelding Mexikann. Having taken to eventing this season, Holly and Mexikann have accumulated three top 10 placings in four runs. Christopher Whittle and P G Withernay came second on a score of 26.8 penalties and Emma Rarity picked up third place with Zummertimes, who had a 27.3 dressage and 3.2 cross country time penalties to add to that.
Laura Collett had a win with Dacapo in section Y of the Open Intermediate. The combination led from the dressage and despite accumulating 1.2 cross country time penalties, they finished nearly 3 penalties ahead of Bubby Upton and Cannavaro in second place. Bubby also finished in fourth with her second ride, Cola III. Completing the top three was Heidi Coy riding Russal Z.
Image Courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography