Sarah Carless reports …
The 42nd Vizard Whitehead Wilton Horse Trials once again hosted an exciting weekend of eventing action in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside. Set against the backdrop of Wilton House, the event welcome nearly 300 competitors in classes from BE100 up to Open Intermediate.
Molly Evans and Wellan Graffitti were the winners in Novice Section C – their first time competing at this level. Molly is a working pupil for Australian event rider Sam Griffiths and she started competing Lulu – by Grafenstolz out of a Cavalier mare – last September. They scored 24.8 in the dressage and added 4.8 time faults on the cross country to take victory. Her mentor finished seventh in this section with Graphene.
Mum and I bought Lulu before I set off to join Sam as a working pupil – Eric Smiley helped place me here with Sam and I’m so grateful for their help it’s been a great move. Sam thinks a lot of Lulu and so we’ve taken our time with her. He made us wait ages before doing novice and he was right not to rush her because she has just got better and better after each run out, it’s given her great confidence. Early last week he casually said I think it’s time to go Novice, and I dashed off to phone the secretary before he changed his mind. So to win at Wilton proved his point, nothing good comes from rushing. I didn’t actually know I’d won or was even in the lead until I came back from a fantastic run cross country so when Sam, my dad and the owners told me I was sitting in first I couldn’t believe it. Lu is such a pleasing mare and really gives her all every day of the week. We’ll just let Lulu enjoy taking on these bigger tracks for now and play the rest of the season by ear. But I’m looking forward to what the future holds for this little mare. Training here with Sam is fantastic. I came over from County Down nearly two years ago and I’ve learnt so much, he’s really improved my position, he’s a great trainer and I’m loving it.”
It was a double win for New Zealand’s Mark Tood. With his Burghley nominated ride he won Open Intermediate Section K and also won Novice Section M with Cool Tide.
The Open Intermediate Under 21 (Section J) was won by Phoebe Locke and Ardeo Fun Size. Phoebe acquired the ride just after Christmas and prior to this he had only competed at one Intermediate.
Phoebe told Eventing Worldwide: “With the cancellations I threw him in at the deep end at are first event and went straight out to an Intermediate. Then again, I threw him in at the 2* Rockingham followed by the CCI** at Tattersalls which was his first ever long format event where he did a fantastic double clear round a tough course. I think he has all the talent and still has so much more to come; he’s not the finished article but he’s still strengthening up as he’s still young. At Wilton he was perfect especially with the torrential rain and wind. I thought the cross country was a very tough course especially as it became slippery. My plans next year would be campaign him at Young Riders and maybe at the end of the year if he’s ready. He’s the carbon copy of my top European horse in every way and that’s why we brought him. I think we have formed a great partnership and I think that shows in how quickly we have moved up the levels.”
Other section results;Open Novice Section A Jamie Lee Day, Kato Ridge; Novice Section B Alexander Whewall, Hisco; BE100 Section D Alexander Bragg, Cobalt De Dugny; BE100 Section E Kat Raybould, Pro Dante; BE100 Open Section F Ben Lee Liles, Urlingford Tom; BE100 Plus Sophie Arundel, Fiocco Blue D Amerloo; Intermediate Section H Alexander Bragg, King of the Mill; Intermediate Section I Dickon Reader, Ferdi II; Novice Section L Francesca Brough, Emorka P; BE100 Section N Richard Waygood, Bounty Castle.
Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee
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