Ruth Gregory reports ..
West Wilts held its third and final event of the season last weekend. Although it shared the date with the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials it was not in the shadows as eventing stars in the likes of William Fox-Pitt, Andrew Nicholson, Tom McEwan, Laura Collett and Kitty King, to name a few, graced the entries from BE80(T) up to Intermediate Novice.
Laura Collett bounced back from her mishap at the Europeans to secure a hattrick of wins. She rode Fiona Rutland’s 5YO gelding Fireball III to top spot in the BE100 section Q. They lead from start to finish, adding nothing to their dressage mark of 24.5. The win is an eventing first for the gelding who only started eventing this season and has only had 5 runs, 4 of them finishing within the top 10.
Laure also won the BE100Open section F with Esther Lewis’ Randalstown Quest. The 7YO gelding Laura has ridden over the last 3 seasons and together they’ve tallied 5 top 3 placings at Novice level including a win last season. The gelding contested his first ON at Twesledown back in March but then was off until now, with a winning return hopefully it’s a sign of good things to come.
Her final win was in the Novice section A with Lyjador. It secured back to back wins for Maggie Sargent’s gelding as he also won a Novice section at Aston-Le-Walls at the start of August.
Runners up were Ollie Martin and his own Martin’s Irish Eddie. Ollie has produced the gelding up the grades since he was a 4YO and stepped him up to Novice level in May. Since then the gelding has not finished outside of the top ten at any of his Novice runs and has jumped 4 double clears.
It was an event to celebrate for Ollie as he also took the win in the BE100 section G riding MIH Gladiator. It was a second win on the bounce for the pairing who won the BE100 regional final qualifier at Borde Hill on their last time out.
“We haven’t been to the event for a few years and travelled the distance from Kent with two horses. MIH Gladiator is a 5YO we imported from Ireland at the end of last year, he did a super dressage of 25 and a super double clear inside the time for the win! He’s a lovely horse who always tries his hardest!
Martin’s Irish Eddie added a second in the novice to add to a fantastic weekend, a very good event and well organised!”
Tom McEwen picked up a BE100 win in section H with Carol Kirkham’s Shannondale Aero. They posted an exceptional dressage mark of 20.8 before jumping a lovely double clear with minimal time penalties to finish on a winning score of 21.6.
Sara Squires won the Intermediate Novice section with her own Denali. They noted the best dressage mark in the highly competitive section of 22.5 and then added only a few time penalties to take the win. It has been a brilliant season for the gelding who has picked up 3 wins and 5 top 3 placings at Novice level.
Finishing a close second was Sam Sweeney and Just a Jewel. They finished on their dressage mark of 25.9 to just miss out on the win by 0.2 penalties. Whilst Laura Collett rounded off the top 3 with Moonlight Charmer on a score of 27.3
Dannie Morgan rode Equites Mail to the mare’s dream Novice debut taking the win tin section C. The 5YO stepped up the level following a third placing at Wellington BE100 a few weeks earlier.
BE100 Section O; Louisa Lockwood, Ballyengland Dawn, BE100 Section P; Vicky Tuffs, Trend De La Cruise; BE80(T) Section N; Kathryn Virijee, Royal Gunner; BE90 Section I; Louise Craig, Holy Bizarre; BE90 Section J; Georgie Silvery, Rudgeway Spanish Guinea; BE90 Section K; Bronte Monks, Ardwholihane Hero; BE90 Section L; Holly Norris, Benevisum Volo; BE90 Section M; Jennifer Jaques, Harthill Bridget; N section B; Marcio Carvalho Jorge, Seych’elle; N section D; Christina Weiderkehr, Lilas Girl
Images courtesy of Sophie Robins