EVENT REPORTS – Firle Place International

Event reports sponsored by Elite Horse Owners 

Millie Wain reports…

At Firle Place International Horse Trials, there were national classes ranging from BE90 to Intermediate Novice. Additionally, a CIC* ran over two days. The Sussex event has been on the British Eventing calendar for 41 years. 

The competition started on Saturday, with BE90 and BE100 classes taking place. There were two BE90 regional finals, where the top 20% of eligible starters qualified for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup held at Badminton next spring. The winner of one of the regional finals was Jenny Naylor-Davis. She was riding Jump Que and they completed on their dressage score of 31. They were in 4th place after the dressage phase but a double clear inside the optimum time of 5 minutes and 3 seconds was enough to take the win. The timing on the cross country was influential, with a number of riders picking up reverse time penalties for being more than 15 seconds under the optimum time. The other regional final, section H, was won by Harriet Gillam and Milchem Las Vegas, finishing on 28.0 penalties. 

There were 50 starters in the CIC* and the winner was Michelle Kenny riding RLE Nuans T Volt. They added 1.6 cross country time penalties to their dressage score of 48.9 penalties. Michelle had a successful weekend riding two six-year-old geldings: she also finished in 4th place with RLE Cavalier Vivendi. The cross country optimum time proved difficult to achieve and just 0.2 penalties separated 1st and 2nd place. Second place went to Lucy Goodey and the 11-year-old Ballybolger Mischief. In third was Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp riding Cooley Quicksilver on 52.8 penalties. 

BE90 section A was won by Zara Schroter and Ramera; they were one of two combinations in the section to complete on their dressage score – Ken Spencer and Sally Doonaveeragh were the other pair to do so and they came second on a score of 28.5. This was 0.5 penalties behind the leaders. In third place were Jasmine Wilks and Harestone. Both of the jumping tracks were influential, with only five clear rounds in the showjumping and thirteen clear cross country rounds in this section. 

There was an impressive win for Lisa Pilbeam and Bellatrix III in BE90 section C. This is Bellatrix III’s first season of eventing and the mare has been placed five times out of six runs. At Firle, the combination completed on their fantastic dressage score of 17.3, which was 12.5 penalties ahead of second place. This went to Sonia Chapman riding Just So Cheeky on 29.8 penalties. 

Hannah Savage and A Cooley Deal Breaker were the only combination in section F to post a sub-30 dressage score. They were also the only competitive combination to finished on their dressage score (the other pair to do so were running HC). Emily Morris and Millpark Houdini achieved a double clear, adding just 0.4 time penalties from the cross country phase to their dressage score of 35.8. In third place was Harriet Peters riding Cavalina Bella, completing on 39.3 penalties. 

The winner of BE100 section K was Melissa Joannides, who also took the top spot in BE100 section R. In section K, she was aboard Silken Creme and they were in the lead from the dressage phase with a score of 23.3. In fact, the top three was unchanged throughout, with Tom Jackson and Grafennacht finishing second and Francis Whittington riding Holiena DHI coming third. Having evented since 2015, Silken Creme has never been out of the top 10 and Melissa has had lots of success aboard the 7-year-old mare, winning eight times in thirteen runs. 

Two BE100 regional finals took place and the top 20% of starters qualified for the 2018 Mitsubishi Motors Cup. The winners of section Q were Jenna Good and Trewithian Hawkeweed, completing on their dressage score of 27.5 penalties. Second place went to Alyson Parker riding J J Malone, who sit third in the foundation points table with 126 FP accumulated this season. In third place was Karen Maurice riding Panache II on 34 penalties. The winner of the other regional final section was Ricky Hilton riding Bank C IV on a score of 31.8. 

It was a 1-2 for Francis Whittington in the Intermediate Novice section. He was the only rider to complete on his dressage score and he did so with both horses. Nimrod II won on a score of 25.2 and Carlchen was second on 26.8. 

Laura Collett came first in the Open Novice section with Calmaro. The pair scored 26.5 in the dressage and had 4 faults in the showjumping but a quick and accurate cross country round inside the optimum time of 5 minutes was enough to take home first place. The 6-year-old grey gelding has had four wins this season and has amassed 29 points. After her win, Laura tweeted (@CollettEventing) : “Calmaro got the ⭐️today … WINNING the ON ????The others all had good parts mixed with “baby” moments????”

Other section winners:

BE90 section B – Bryony Whittington riding Burlington Bourree, 31.8 penalties

BE90 section D – Suzanne Ashwell riding Pumlon Ashwell, 28.8 penalties 

BE90 section E – Amanda Bernard riding Cailin II, 34.1 penalties 

BE100 section J – Sam Penn riding Burntwood Sorrel, 27.5 penalties 

BE100 section S – Simon Leadbetter riding Casino Royale 007, 31.0 penalties

BE100 section T – Elizabeth Halliday-Sharp riding Cooley Moonshine, 32.6 penalties 

BE100OPEN section I – Atlanta Jayne Brown riding Zippos Hirl, 23.3 penalties 

Novice section O – Gaspard Maksud riding Pizazz II, 30.0 penalties 

Novice section P – Georgie Strang riding Monbeg Maximus, 33.5 penalties 

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