Wilson and Price dominate Weston.
Abigail Unwin reports …
Set in over a thousand acres of rolling wooded parkland, fourteen sections from Novice to Advanced ran over the two days at Weston Park.
Course Designer, Janet Plant spiced up the Advanced somewhat; giving it a ‘New look’ at the Sunken Road and Water Splash, with the combinations designed to ‘test the best’. ‘’Giving riders an ideal warm up heading to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May’’
Bulana and Nicola Wilson had a great warm up, adding just 1.2 time penalties to an impressive Dressage score of 24.3 to take Advanced Section L. With two confident runs in the bag, they will no doubt head to Badminton in high spirits.
One win wasn’t enough for Nicola, she piloted the striking black Gelding Yacabo BK to top spot, where the pair led from start to finish to take Advanced Section K.
Hot on her heels in Section K ‘Perfect Poppy’ as she is nicknamed by Hayden Hankey, left Nicola no room for error; to finish 2nd. He kept a clean sheet adding nothing to his Dressage score of 28.6 to finish runner up.
Hayden told Eventing Worldwide: ‘’To say I am proud of Poppy would be an understatement, we went to Weston confident and ready to tackle an Advanced track. Never did I expect to do such a competitive Dressage at this level though, as it is all fairly new to her. She tried her heart out in the SJ, with a bit of luck on our side thrown in. The XC was a nice first time track for her, not too big but with plenty of honest questions and encouraged forward riding, which suited her! She will be aimed at Kelsall AI, Chatsworth and then hopefully Tattersalls. Our main aim is to be selected to represent GBR in a Nations Cup Team and to finish up at Boekelo’’.
James Robinson took 3rd on Native Spirit, with Millie Dumas finishing an impressive 4th and 6th, slotting Badminton bound Kristina Cook and the fabulous Billy the Red into 5th. Kristina, also finished 4th on Calvino II and 5th on Star Witness in Advanced Section L; behind Izzy Taylor and the very striking grey gelding Fonbherna Lancer, who added just 1.6 time to a Dressage score of 27 to finish 2nd.
Last year’s Badminton winner, Jonelle Price took both OI classes on Cooley Showtime and Cloud Dancer II, also finishing 6th on Kindred Spirit IV.
Jonelle told Eventing Worldwide: ‘’This was our first trip to Weston Park in a while, they are both lovely horses Cooley Showtime and Cloud Dancer II and I am very pleased with their performances. The SJ wasn’t the easiest, and was quite holding in places, horses had to work quite hard in there. I wanted to give both horses an experienced ride across the country, for me it was simply about riding the horses to a plan for them. I felt the XC was strong in places, with three water complexes in total, with one coming quite quickly at Fence 6. Cloud Dancer II will now head to Withington to do the Advanced, and will hopefully contest some of the ERM classes this season. Cooley Showtime is currently on the market and would be perfect for a Young Rider. He has shown quality throughout his career, having finished 3rd at Le Lion as a 7 year old.’’.
Alex Hua Tian finished 3rd, after leading the Dressage on 26.6 in OI section M riding Don Geniro. Whilst Laura Collett and the stunning grey Calmaro on their first trip out this year, took 3rd in Section N.
Oliver Townend led from start to finish in Intermediate section J, on the 8 year old mare Newmarket Caro, who takes her second win of the season at Weston. A name starting to appear more and more in the top ten, full time Solicitor Katie Corteen.
Eventing Worldwide caught up with Katie, after finishing 5th in Intermediate Section J with Forgeland Tiger Tot. ‘’This was our first visit to Weston, and our second Intermediate together. Weston is known for its tough XC where the time is tight, she is a machine XC, and with the course walking big, bold and technical I knew it would suit her. She did a safe test, followed by a great round SJ, with just an unlucky pole – an area we have been working on, as this is her weakest phase. She then stormed the XC, finishing 10 seconds inside the time, never wavering and as bold as ever. It’s always been a dream to compete against professionals, and finishing 5th has given me a huge sense of achievement. Totty will now head to Floors Castle, where we will tackle our first 3*, and then I’m hoping for an Advanced qualification, and the dream is Blenheim 8/9 year olds. However, we may need some bubble wrap and a lot of luck on our side’’
Hannah Bate and Galvinised took ON Section M, Eventing Worldwide caught up with Hannah after her win
‘’Galvinised was having an easy run before stepping back up to Intermediate at Kelsall. He is a lovely big Irish Sport horse type, with loads of blood and gallop. The ground was pretty gluey in the SJ, he had a fence, but 1 down was like a clear round on Saturday! He has been a slow developer, and deserved a good result here as he is feeling very well this year.
The Charles Owen Pony Trial always attracts a large number of entries, with some of the best ponies coming from all over the UK to compete – Daisy Bathe and the Stallion SF Detroit picked up their 2nd win of the season with an impressive 22.1 finishing score in Section G, 15.5 points ahead of Charlotte Bull and Cheeky Casper in 2nd on 37.6.
Other section results; Intermediate Section I Daisy Berkeley, Cooley One Too Many; Novice Section A Izzy Taylor, Hartacker; Novice Section B Martyn Johnson, Patrickswell Scorpion; Novice Section C Holly Bradshaw, Sharaz; OIu21 Milo Kennedy, Moher Prince; Open Novice Section E Lucinda Mesquita, Jem Rose; PT Section F Freya Partridge, Master Macky.
Images courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography