Sarah Carless reports…
Australian event rider Chris Burton stamped his authority on this year’s St James Place Barbury Horse Trials walking away with three victories to his name.
Riders from 21 nations and around 1,000 horses were in action across the four days of top class competition with entries including the world number one and number two riders in Oliver Townend and Gemma Tattersall.
But it was the Australian who dominated the event. His most impressive win came aboard Lawtown Girl in Novice Section F. The led from start to finish having scored 14.5 in the dressage with faultless jumping rounds finished 9.5 penalties ahead of the rest of the field. It was a repeat of their win at the event in 2017, in what was their first outing since then.
Burton also scored a win in Novice Section I with the popular stallion Caliber Royale. Once again, the pair led from the first phase finishing their dressage score of 20.8 in what was the horses first Novice competition.
The Olympic rider’s third win came in CIC** Section E with Bahira M – their second win of 2018 at this level. The pair lay ninth after the dressage on a score of 29.6. And proving he is one of the fastest riders across the country he came home inside the time – one of only two riders in the class to do so – to finish on their first phase score.
The mare has Swedish owners, SHE Eventing, but is based in Christopher’s Surrey yard. “She’s a lovely, competitive horse to have around,” commented the Australian Olympian, who was full of praise for the hard work done by the cross-country team to provide such good footing in the hot weather.
Second went to Laura Collett and Calmaro on their first competition at this level. Collett had been leading after the show jumping but added 4.8 time penalties from the cross country phase to finish just 0.3 penalties behind the winner. British Young Rider Phoebe Locke finishing third with Union Fortunus – rising from 14thafter the dressage to finish on the podium. Dressage leader Alex Hua Tian withdrew DHI Jet Set after three poles fell in the show jumping.
Adam Harvey’s victory in CIC** section C WAS his first at this level, but was all the more credible as he has a full-time job as a graduate chartered surveyor in Reading. Based in Windsor, he has three horses to compete, of which the nine-year-old Picasso V, by the jumping stallion Van Gogh, is his most experienced. The pair were third after the dressage but rose to the top of the standings thanks to clear rounds in the jumping phases.
“This is quite special to win at Barbury,” said Adam. “I really didn’t expect it, especially looking at the quality of the field. I’ve had the horse since he was a just-backed four-year-old. He’s quite a character – he very much has his own routine and likes to be number one.”
Second went to Swedish Rider Ludwig Svennerstal and Fit for Fun RAA with Lissa Green, now riding under the Australian flag, finishing third with Hollyfield II.
Cheshire’s Hannah Bate also scored a first Barbury international victory, taking CIC** section D with eight-year-old Fanta Boy, with the pair leading from start to finish.
“This is my first international win since I had my son, Billy, who is two and a half now,” said Hannah. “Fanta is a fabulous horse; quite quirky and arrogant but extremely generous across country, and we seem to have cracked the dressage this year, too.”
American rider Elisabeth Halliday Sharpe finished in second with Cooley Quicksilver, and David Doel finishing third with Ferro Point.
The British World Equestrian Games long-listed combination of Nicola Wilson and Bulana led CIC3* section B from start to finish.
The feisty black mare, on whom the Yorkshire rider won team gold and individual bronze medals at the European Championships last year, has had an interrupted season, due to a wet spring and Nicola’s knee injury, and the lack of work hasn’t played to her temperament.
“I felt we were at sixes and sevens and my main aim this weekend was to get our partnership back on track, but she has been great in all three phases and feels back to her best,” explained Nicola.
Second place in such distinguished company was a great result for young Richard Coney riding his own Kananarskis, who is only 15.1hh and were resrves for the British Young Rider squad this year, with the in-form Gemma Tattersall and Chris Stone’s Chilli Knight, by the 2015 Badminton winner Chilli Morning, finishing in third; the pair rose from 17thafter the dressage thanks to clear sheets in the jumping phases.
Alongside the international classes were a host of domestic classes at Novice and Intermediate Novice level. Piggy French topped Novice Section G by seven marks to take their third win of the season.
The Long-listed riders for the Great British Charles Owen Pony Squad for the 2018 FEI European Championship for Ponies were also in action at the final trial (Pony Open Novice, Section M).
This was won by Connie Gill and Movie Star II, runners up from the British Pony Championship earlier this year – who led from start to finish. Second went to Ibble Watson and Brookham Lodge Pennylane with Saffie Osbourne and Little Indian Feather in third.
The event also saw the eventing superstars of the future in action for the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes. Hannah Freeman won the four-year-old section with Helen Watkins’ Spye Morning Star, a son of the Badminton-winning stallion Chilli Morning. Hannah bred and backed him herself, and this was their first attempt at a BYEH qualifier. Yasmin Olsson-Sanderson took the five-year-old class with her own Inchello DHI, a son of Chello III VDL.
Other section results;Intermediate Novice Section G Harry Meade, Brookfield Quality; Novice Section H Ludwig Svennerstal, Calvadoz; Open Novice Section J Rafaek Losano, Fuiloda G; Intermediate Novice Section L, Christina Wiederkehr, DG Canta.
Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography