Badminton bound riders enjoy successful runs at Great Witchingham.

Bryony Skinner reports ..

Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th March saw the British Spring arrive in time for over 580 competitors to travel to the Norfolk
countryside and compete at Black Water Farm in the first Great Witchingham International event of 2019.

The CCI-S2* section was won by Imogen Gloag, who took 1st and 4th place on her rides Woodend Scooter and Quitus De Louan respectively, finishing on their dressage scores. Imogen took the win on a score of 34.3, with 35.6 being the score that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th combinations all completed on, in a tightly contested section. Imogen commented on facebook: “Henrietta Cain’s Woodend Scooter is a winner!
The 1.30am start yesterday was well worth it with Woodend Scooter winning the CCI2*-S at Great Witchingham Blackwater Farm. Sonia Smith’s Quitus De Louan was also fab in the same class, a smart test and double clear to finish 4th.  MHS Cooley Flash nearly nailed it, doing a great test and SJ in the intermediate but unfortunately went green on the XC, he is a super horse and his day will come.”

Imogen Murray took first place in the AI section E, on Ivar Gooden and also 8th in the OI section D on Roheryn Ruby. Imogen  commented; “Ivar Gooden is an experienced 4* horse using Great Witchingham as a prep run for Badminton; he’s not really a dressage diva but we’ve been working hard over the last few years and he led the dressage which we were delighted with! So far this year Ivar Gooden (Sir Charles to his fans) has led the dressage and was also 3rd after dressage, so all the hard work seems to be paying off.
Roheryn Ruby is a feisty mare who made the step up to advanced at the end of last season although she is still quite inexperienced she will aim to step to CCI4*-S this spring and hopefully the long format later in the year. I really enjoy the course at Great Witchingham the ground was perfect and the course has a bit of everything to test the horses at this time of year. The waters are fairly strong but both my horses made the course feel easy.”

The busiest and most successful rider of the weekend had to be Piggy French, who rode 10 horses and completed 10 double clears, with 5 wins. Piggy reported on her Facebook page: ‘Really fantastic couple of days at Great Witchingham. An event I’ve been going to for years and years so always nice to come back with some rosettes!
Five winners! Wins for Jayne McGivern’s Calling Card in the Open Intermediate and Igel in the BE100, March Stud’s Sportsfield Top Notch in the Intermediate, Lancer Stud’s Cooley Lancer in the Novice, and March Stud and John and Judith Addicott’s Highdown March in the Intermediate Novice.
Three 2nds for Sue Paybody’s Castletown Clover in the Advanced Intermediate and then both Trevor Dickens’ Carolines Air KM (Novice) and James Midgley, Susie Wood and Susie Wrighton’s Carnival March (Intermediate Novice) finished 2nd behind their stablemates.
Finally, two steady double clears for the Lancer Stud’s First Lancer (ON) and Susie Wood’s Cooley Goodwood (BE100).”

Hannah Norvill continued the run of success from Piggy French’s yard as she took the win in the the Intermediate section B (Hannah works for Piggy). It has been a good start to the season for Hannah and her own horse Magic Roundabout IV having come 3rd in the Intermediate at Oasby. Hannah commented, “Magic is a 9yr Irish sport horse, who we are progressing together. I thought he course rode very well and the ground was amazing. We are at Belton next weekend and then aiming for Tattersalls in Ireland. And hopefully Blenheim 8 &9 yr class later in the year.”

The OI section D was won by Matthew Wright (riding Rapide GII), who also came 6th in the OI section C on Prince Mayo. Matthew and Rapide GII added 9.6 x-country time penalties to their dressage score of 33.2 to take the win. Matthew commented:

“This was my first run with Rapide GII and it was so nice to have a win on our first spin together. It was especially nice for Pele’s owners Judi Thurloe and Caroline Goodwin who adore him and have always believed in him. We’ll crack on now and hopefully have some fun together. Prince Mayo felt on great form and looks a picture. I’m hoping to take him back to Tattersalls this year for the CCI4* and see where that takes us. Both horses head to Belton on Friday next and then to Burnham Market.“

The BE100 sections also saw riders preparing for Badminton, but for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. Jasmine Wilks won the BE100 100 section I, completing on her dressage score of 32.6. Jasmine said, “I was so pleased with Harestone who I’ve owned now for 3 years, we are currently preparing for the Mitsubishi Motors cup at Badminton, so to get a win in the lead up to that gives me a great deal of confidence. I selected Great Witchingham for the pure fact that the dressage is held in a long arena format, the show jumping is up to height and the cross-country is a strong test of big obstacles, speed and stamina. The ground conditions were spot on and the course had been set up and presented beautifully. Next we’re heading to Portman for a run in the Novice and after competing at the MMCup we hope to work up to finishing the season with an International as Harestone is now 9 and has the talent to move up through to the higher grades.”

After coming 11th at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup in 2018, Joanne Watts and Churchside Reflection are preparing to return in 2019 and have had a very encouraging start to the season in preparation. The combination won the BE100+ section, adding 2.4 x-country time penalties to a very good dressage score of 26. This follows a win at Poplar and a 2nd at Isleham. Joanne commented:

“Churchside Reflection known as Lex, is owned by Deirdre Hunt who bred him herself out of her own (again homebred) mare. He is by Future Illusion. He went beautifully on Saturday in the dressage and then did a double clear. The cross country time was proving influential. He is naturally a fast horse so I let him bowl on more than usual and he was just over the optimum time. The course rode really well-it’s always up to height at Great Witchingham but it’s inviting and flows really well. We are off to Burnham Market next, then Horseheath and then the Mitsubishi Cup”.

The BE80T section W was won by Shannon Stratton on her own 8 year old Marlin Diamond Starburst, adding only 3.2 x-country time penalties to their dressage score to complete on 34. This was 5.3 points ahead of the 2nd placed combination. A delighted Shannon said: “Marlin is amazing!! I can’t even describe what a good horse he is! Xc was fab he is so bold and keen I just sit tight and steer we fly round! Dressage he is really good and just does his job and showjumping again he flew round. My plans are to go up the levels and do everything with him, we are planning to do the Horse and Hound Festival Championships; he will stay with me forever.”

Additional winners: Novice section F; Pippa Funnell, Billy Wonder: BE100 section J; Simon Grieve, Wish He Was Yours: BE100 section K; Chantelle Boyden, Boy IV: BE100 section L; Rosie Ringer, Knave of Golden Hearts: ONu18 section N; Josh Moore, Courvoisier: ON section P; Tom Jackson, Forrest Gump 124: BE90 section R; Toby Bancroft, The Captain: BE90 section S; Claire Fielding, Bonafide Allusion: BE90 Open section T; Caroline March, Chianna: BE90PC section U; Iona Sclater, Macho Excaliber: BE80(T) section V; Sophie Mann, Danesfort Boy: BE100 Open Section X; Mary Edmundson, Tashkaldou.

Images courtesy of Eventing Focus


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