Grieve starts 2017 with a hat-trick

Isleham once again proved a popular opening weekend fixture on the British Eventing calendar, with nearly 400 entries and a host of top riders competing at the Cambridgeshire event. 

Holly Needham was victorious in the Novice Under 18 (Section K) with Strike a Pose, also taking third place with Cruz V, both of whom she is aiming to compete at Juniors this year. Holly finished on her dressage score of 24.8 and was the only rider in the section to make the optimum time, giving her a 10.1 winning margin. 

Holly, who is based in Worcestershire told Eventing Worldwide: “I am thrilled to get the season off to a great start. I’m pleased that the winter training has paid off thanks to my trainers Nick Gauntlett and Islay Auty. It was worth travelling three hours to Isleham for the excellent ground.”

Simon Grieve got his 2017 eventing season off to a fine start at Isleham, coming home with a hat-trick of victories. The Leicestershire-based rider had a frightening fall at Hartpury last August suffering a dislocated shoulder. But with this now behind him, Grieve showed fine form winning Novice Section H with Mr Fahrenheit III, BE100 Open Section F with Wallstreet VB and BE90 Open Section D with Bonhunt Bertie, which marked his 60th win under BE rules. 

Oliver Townend, last year’s Event Riders Masters champion and British Eventing’s leading rider in 2016, also kick started his season, taking home two wins. He was victorious with Arctic Mouse, a former three star campaigner, in Open Novice Section J with the pair being the only combination to come home under the optimum time, giving them a five penalty winning margin. Townend’s other victory came on board Val and Peter Ryan’s Lanfranco in Open Intermediate Section M. Again Townend showed his form across the country to be the only rider coming home inside the time, winning with the 16-year-old gelding on a score of 27.1 – 11.7 penalties ahead of the rest of the field. It was a successful weekend overall for him – out of his ten rides over the two days, Townend came home with seven top ten placings. 

Holly Woodhead also got her season off to a flying start with three top ten finishes, including a win in Novice Section I with Finduss PFB. She also placed fourth with Mr Sneezy in Intermediate Section N and seventh with new ride RLE Barina in Open Novice Section J. 

Other section results; BE90 Section A Claire Elbrow, Rathcline Cori; BE90 Section B Lisa Clarke Spence, Eyebrooks Cosmos; BE90 Section C Alice Shickell, Springwind Da Vinci; BE100 Section E Joe Wise, Annsfort Quality; BE100 Open Mary Edmundson, Dinky III; Open Novice Section L Naomi Lawrence, So Quiet; Intermediate Section N Izzy Taylor, Direct Cassino. 

Photographs courtesy of Sue Westmore

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