Millie Wain reports ..

Smiths Lawn Horse Trials hosted two days’ of competition, with 15 sections of BE100 and Novice level classes. The event attracted some of the top names in the sport, including Tom McEwen, Laura Collett, Pippa Funnell and Tim and Jonelle Price. Nigel Taylor designed two fantastic cross country courses across Windsor Great Park, by kind permission of Her Majesty The Queen. This year, there were some changes to the layout of the event, such as the dressage being located on the polo pitch. The event was well-supported by sponsors and there was a range of prizes awarded, such as in the Cathean Ltd Owner/Rider BE100 section; the Ian White Memorial Trophy was given to the best unsponsored owner/rider. In addition, the Willow prize was awarded to the horse and rider combination with the best mark in this class. Nigel and Ann Taylor from Aston-le-Walls also donated a schooling voucher, with the Moose prize for the best cross country score, nearest to the optimum time.

The 2019 GB European team was announced last week, and team member Laura Collett had a successful day at Smiths Lawn. Laura was riding 4 horses in the BE100 and was either double clear or placed with each horse. This included winning sections K and M with Outback II and Laola respectively; Outback II led BE100 section K from the first phase, with the only sub-30 dressage score in the section (25.8). The pair completed on this score to take the win by over 5 penalties. Laola was also a winner on her Eventing debut, finishing on a dressage score of 25.3 penalties. Fireball III had led the dressage in section M, but had one pole down in the showjumping. Nevertheless, a clear cross country round within the optimum time was enough to secure fourth place. Laura was also riding Sarazen Bridge in his first BE event and on Twitter, she expressed how pleased she was with him: “Sarazen Bridge – winner of 5 Point to Points and now jumped a lovely double clear on his Eventing debut just 3 months after his last race!!!”

BE100 section J was the owner/rider-specific section and Katy Lawrence took the win aboard Whitemoors First Flight. The combination finished on their dressage score of 24 penalties to finish 6.3 penalties ahead of second place, which went to Michele Hill and Terrygreehan Dempsey. We spoke to Katy after her win:

“Flynn is my best friend, he is such a fun loving dude. I have had him just over a year now and he has grown loads in both character and inches. I have taken things nice and slowly as he is only 6, but we seem to be going in the right direction. To win the owner/rider section at Smiths Lawn in memory of Ian White was a special privilege. We got so many lovely prizes and a fantastic trophy; we even managed to get an additional prize for best dressage. My Mum, a good friend, Mother in law and two young daughters all came to watch too as it is such a lovely venue as well as the summer holidays!! It was a great day. Our hope is to try and qualify for the Badminton Grassroots next year. With the regional finals fast approaching, it is fingers crossed that we haven’t peaked too early!”

Fresh from her win at The Festival Of British Eventing, Jonelle Price continued her winning run in Novice section N with Faerie Magnifico, a 6 year old gelding bred by Trisha Rickards. The combination scored 24.8 in the dressage and they were in fourth place after the first phase. Despite lowering one rail in the show jumping, they climbed up the leaderboard to finish in the top spot. This was also Faerie Magnifico’s first win at novice level. Second place in section N went to Lisa Pilbeam and Regane after jumping a double clear. In third place was Ella Dettori aboard Trinity O Really.

It was a close finish in BE100 section F, with Pippa Funnell and Aofie Clark finishing on the same score of 26.5 penalties. Pippa took the win with Billy Cassidy due to being one second closer to the optimum time of 4 minutes and 20 seconds round the cross country course designed by Nigel Taylor. The top four combinations in the section completed on their dressage scores, so the jumping phases proved to be influential in determining the final placings.

Austin O’Connor won novice section C with Castor H Z; they completed on their good dressage score of 26.8 penalties, to finish nearly 3 penalties ahead of the rest of the section. In second place was Tom McEwen riding Something Extra and third place went to Steven Smith and Tinka S De Niro, who were in the lead going into the final phase, but accumulated 3.6 time penalties on the cross country to have a finishing score of 30.1 penalties. Austin O’Connor also took the top spot in the Open Novice section with the 9 year old Calvin II. The win at Smiths Lawn was the combination’s second win in as many runs and in 6 outings, they have had 6 clear show jumping rounds. Emily Llewelyn and Exclusive had the joint-best dressage score of the whole event (21.5 penalties) but had one show jump down. However, a clear cross country round inside the time meant they claimed second place.

Other section results –
Novice section A: Andrew James riding Shannondale Warren
Novice section B: Victoria Robbins riding Silver Skywalker
Novice section E: Jesse Campbell riding Dolittle
BE100 section G: Tom McEwen riding Shannondale Aero
BE100 section H: Sacha Hourigan riding Double Act IV
BE100 section I: Susan Bill riding Heaven For Everyone
BE100open section L: Imogen Webber riding Byrneskill Ruby
Novice section O: Harriet Wright riding Woodcroft Harvest

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