Ruth Gregory reports …
As September drew to a close South of England held their annual autumnal fixture. It was with no surprise that it was accompanied with a drop-in temperature that reminded us all of winter being well and truly on the way. The Sussex based event once again ran smoothly under the expert guidance of Jennifer and Tim Nolan, with classes from BE90 through to Intermediate.
It was another family affair for the Nolan’s as besides being on chief flapjack baking duties; Pippa Funnel bagged herself an Open Intermediate win on Ruth McMullen’s Billy Wonder. The eight-year-old son of Cevin Z jumped another class double clear, a result we’ve become custom to seeing from the exceptional showjumper, who’s only rolled four poles in his four seasons of eventing.
The time in the section proved very tight as no rider completed without time faults, the closest being Tom Jackson and Billy Senora who were placed fourth.
Tom went on to win section N with Ask for Manchier, again being the closest to the optimum time. They lay in provisional fourth place after dressage, but the speedy cross-country round brought them top honours in another competitive section with a surplus of double clears. The gelding has proven he’s one to keep an eye on having been nothing but class over the last two seasons with a 100% clear cross-country record to his name.
Fellow Sussex based rider Tom Crisp piloted homebred Liberty and Glory to the runners up spot. It was another perfect prep run for the fiery little mare, who’s owned by Tom’s wife Sophie and her father Robin, as they aim for Pau for her fourth shot at 5* level later in October.
It was a triumphant week for Ben Lee Liles and Westceffyl Kingsdway Lad as they added to their Intermediate win at Pontispool with another win here at South of England.
“It was a perfect week with a great run earlier on at Pontispool and to follow that up here- I was over the moon. I originally aimed him to step up to Advanced this season, but the delayed start put that out of the window. We had entered Little Downham Intermediate before the others thinking he’d need it but now after the two wins we wish he had gone Advanced, typical now it is the end of the season. But looking ahead to 4* next year it is a real confidence boost.”
Ben purchased the now ten-year-old from a friend. He said how he’s always had the physical ability but lacked mentally so needed time to mature. This led to Ben’s decision to focus the gelding on dressage where he had a successful spree on the British Dressage circuit before coming to eventing.
“In the boards in the atmosphere he can become tense, so I was very pleased with how relaxed he was within the bigger arenas and busy warmups here. At Pontispool Eric Winter put a tough track out so I was surprised he was one of the few to make the time. And here at South of England it was also tight, so I was pleased with how he rolled on and was confident taking me into fences. He likes to take time to weigh up fences and sometimes lacks bravery when jumping from an open stride. But here he really showed that he’s coming into himself and I am excited to move him up the levels next season.”
The Open Novice Under 18 winner was Archie Humfrey riding Rose Carnegie’s Landine, a thoroughly well-deserved victory for the pairing as they were the only combination to finish double clear inside of the time on their dressage mark of 33.3.
Archie told Eventing Worldwide;
“I got the ride almost two years ago now and she has been nothing but incredible. She lives for the thrill of cross-country and comes through the finish like it’s the start! She can’t be touched for a good hour after finishing if you want to remain in one piece!”
The result is particularly impressive considering they only contested their first novice together in August at Wellington.
“The more you challenge her the more she gives back, and she really did on Sunday. To win really made the preparation and hard work seem completely worth it, it was very overwhelming.”
Harry Dzenis won BE100 section F with his own and Charles Macdonald’s Wellpark Athos. The five-year-old only began his eventing career in August, with four runs under his belt he is yet to be placed outside of the top eight!
Sam Sweeney had a brilliant run of results across multiple sections.
She told Eventing Worldwide;
“I was thrilled with all of my horses over the weekend!”
She won section G with Burntwood Sorrel- the gelding certainly proved that age is just a number at twenty-one-years young he led from the off to complete on his dressage score of 24.0. It was a great result for owner and breeder Becky Rignall, who is also a regular volunteer at events across the South East.
Sam then jumped a polished double clear in section H to finish second with Jamesson II.
“He is an ex racehorse who was having his last run before taking on an easier life having dropped down from Novice, which he has been doing well and scored a career best mark.”
Winners of that section were Jemima Upton and Centre Stage. Jemima has competed the six-year-old for the last two seasons bringing him up the levels from BE90 to Novice, but their win here is their first together!
Finally, Sam and Foodys Classic Dawn were just pipped to top spot in the BE90Open section D finishing on a very good score of 20.3.
“He’s a six-year-old who’s only just started eventing and was having his second ever outing. He really seemed to understand what the game was about this time.”
Heading that section above Sam was Sophie Van Der Merwe with Island George. Their performance was foot perfect as they achieved the lowest finishing score of the whole event with 20.0.
Whilst Gemma Tatterall showed that showjumping isn’t her only speciality by scoring the lowest dressage mark of the weekend of 19.5 with Chilli Rocks on his eventing debut. Christopher Stones’ youngster is certainly heading in the right direction of being a future superstar and potentially filling the boots of his famous parents- Gemma’s ‘unicorn’ Quicklook V and the notable Chilli Morning.
Other results; Open Novice section L; Kevin Mcnab, Scuderia 1918 Vivian; Novice Section K; Harriet Colderick, Ashwey Laurenzo; Novice Section J; Charlotte Ord, Scarlet Tamarind; Novice Section I; Bubby Upton, Cooley As Ice; BE100Open Section H; Jemima Upton, Centre Stage; BE100OpenU18 Section E; Jessica Pidgley, Bookhamlodge Pennylane; BE90 Section C; Kate Oppenheimer, SOS Sealpoint; BE90 Section B; Melissa Joannides, Quality Quick Decision; BE90 Section A; Anna Currie, Domino III