Millie Wain reports …
The Whatley Manor & Spa Gatcombe International Horse Trials took place from 7th-9th September and it was a key fixture for the top international riders with 1*, 2*, novice and intermediate classes. Now in its 24th year, the event uses a different area of the Gatcombe Estate from that used for the Festival of British Eventing, which was held a few weeks before. This was the third and final BE event of the season held at the estate and Captain Mark Phillips and HRH The Princess Royal designed the cross country courses, which proved to be influential in all classes.
The winner of the CIC* section was Italian rider Giovanni Ugolotti with the 6-year-old Penhill Celtic. The pair led from the dressage phase and added nothing to their dressage score of 28 penalties. This was the combination’s third win in as many runs, taking the top spots in their runs before Gatcombe. In second place were David Sheerin and Todays Special, completing on their dressage score of 31. In third place was young rider Phoebe Locke with the consistent Union Fortunus.
The CIC** section was won by Tom Jackson riding Dusty II. The combination scored 27.8 penalties in the dressage phase and jumped a double clear, adding 1.2 time penalties to their score to complete with a total of 29. Alice Tracey and Freedom Hill led the dressage with a score of 21.8 and they went on to jump a clear cross country round within the optimum time of 5 minutes and 43 seconds but lowered two rails in the show jumping, but this was still good enough for a credible second place. Alexander Bragg took third with King Of The Mill, and the pair was one of two combinations in the 2* section to add nothing to their dressage score. Both the show jumping and cross country courses proved to be influential, with only 44 clear cross country rounds out of 87 starters.
Izzy Taylor had two wins in intermediate sections at Gatcombe with Fonbherna Lancer and Monkeying Around. Fonbherna Lancer is an 8 year old gelding and this was their second win this season. They posted an excellent dressage score of 24.1 penalties and jumped a double clear, adding 8 cross country time faults to finish nearly 3 penalties ahead of second place, which went to David Doel riding Galileo Nieuwmoed. Izzy’s other win came in section H with Monkeying Around, who won the 6yo world championships in Le Lion at the end of last season. The pair completed on 34.7 penalties and having been in 14th place after the dressage, they added 2.4 penalties to their score after completing a fast cross country round, which took them to the top of the leader board.
Another rider to take home two top placings was Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp. Elisabeth and Cooley Copresenter won novice section I on an excellent dressage score of 21.5 penalties. This is the horse’s first season of eventing; the pair has never been out of the top 10 and they have been either 1st or 2nd six of their nine events. Section I was very competitive and the top three were just 0.2 penalties apart from each other. Sarah Bullimore took second place with Starbucks I, having posted the best dressage score of the weekend of 16.8 and adding 4.8 time penalties to that. Third place went to Kitty King and MHS Fernhill Finale, who were another combination to post a sub-20 dressage score. Elisabeth also won Open Intermediate section F with Cooley Quicksilver on a score of 34.4 penalties.
Having finished 6th at Burghley the week before, Harry Meade headed to Gatcombe International with 8 rides over the weekend. He picked up a first place in section P of the Open Novice riding Brookfield Quality. They have been a partnership for just over two months and have not been out of the top 5 in their six events, winning three of those. Second place in the open novice section was Molly Faulkner with Call Me Cooley and in third place were Laura Schroter and Billy Senora.
Other section winners:
Novice section J – Tom Grant riding Caravaggio II
Novice section K – Arthur Duffort riding Arkos Lad
Novice section L – Alexander Peternell riding Antigone II
Novice section N – Oliver Townend riding Tremayle
Novice section O – Emily Philp riding Unchained Melody
Open Novice section M – Katie Bleloch riding Goldlook
Intermediate section D – Paolo Torlonia riding Bambino De Lilatte
Intermediate section E – Alexander Bragg riding Quindiva
Intermediate section F – Carlos Parro riding Goliath III
Images Courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography