Sarah Carless reports …

Popular Portman gives May his first BE win

Roberto Scalisi 

This year’s Portman Horse Trials attracted a bumper field of entries with many local international riders supporting the spring event. Nearly 600 entries were received for the two days of competition, with classes running from BE90 through to Intermediate Novice. 

The Portman Horse Trials were started in 1976 by Susie and John Woodhouse. Having run over four different venues, the current event is held at Rushmore Park, inspired and supported by the Late William Gronow Davis MFH who sadly died at the end of 2015. The Adrian Ditcham designed cross courses run over lovely old turf in the magnificent setting of Rushmore Park. 

Daniel May and Just The Thing were the winners in BE100 Open Section O. This is Daniel’s first season eventing, and Portman was his first competitive outing having competed HC in two BE90 classes at Tweseldown and Mustead. Daniel whose main competitive discipline is show jumping, has been riding Just a Thing for the last year and hopes to compete at 1*. 

Daniel told Eventing Worldwide: “Winning my first competitive event of the season was so rewarding. 

I took up the ride on Tom a year ago whilst his owner Paul Wedge has been occupied with other sports. I started off taking him out showj umping. My boss and Paul’s wife Bryony Holloway has trained me on Tom ever since I started working for her in January 2016. My eventing passion stemmed from a mood board that Bryony encourages the whole team to be involved in which inspires us to be driven to set and achieve goals for the future. I always thought I would be a show jumper and that’s where my heart lay but now I’ve had a taste of eventing I really do love that buzz that going through that start box gives me. I am truly grateful for all the support and opportunities that both Bryony and Paul have given me and I owe everything to Tom for showing me the ropes and allowing me to enjoy my partnership with him more and more every day. He truly is helping to transforming my dream of competing at 1* into an achievable reality.”

There was an unusual tie for first place in BE100 Section G. Both Flora Harris riding Swanview Tarco and Sam Griffiths riding Grapheneboth scored 28.5 in the dressage and both had 0.4 time faults cross country leaving them tied for first on 28.9.

The lowest dressage score of the event went to Roberto Scalisi and Goonhilly Down. With a score of 18 penalties, they added four faults from the show jumping but still finished three penalties clear of William Fox-Pitt and Shannondale Percy in second in Open Novice Section E. William went one better in Novice Section G with Yes I Can taking victory. 

Emily Young Jamieson also had an impressive dressage score of 20.3 which, despite one pole down in the show jumping and 0.8 time faults for going too fast, gave her ride Shannondale Carlina the win in BE100 Section H. This win came fresh off the back of her victory in the CIC* at Belton Park International last weekend. 

Another winner with an impressive dressage score was Alexander Whwell riding AKD Terra Nova in Open Novice Section D. Scoring 21.3 the combination added a pole down in the show jumping to finish on 27.3. 

Alexander Whewall
Alexander Whewall

It was a first time out win for Sarah Parkes and Cendora, who was previously ridden by her finance Ben Way, when they took victory in Novice Section A, whilst Georgie Spence and Calvin II took the win in Novice Section B. 

Other section results: Intermediate Novice Section F Kirsty Johnston, Classic IV; BE90 Section I Paul Whitehead, Cooley Wingman; BE90 Section J Sophie Gardner, Knockdrunagh Lad; BE90 Section K Nicola Mariann Wilson, CVS Super Ted; BE90 Open Section L Tom McEwen, Braveheart B; BE100 Section M Oliver Townend, A Sportsfield Diamond; BE100 Section N Alex Kennedy, Gilexio; BE100 Plus Section P Kitty King, Drewman Firefly.

Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee

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