Sarah Carless reports…
German team triumph at Houghton Hall as Wilson takes individual honours
The German team produced another strong performance to win the third leg of the FEI Nations Cup™ Eventing 2016, taking victory at Houghton Hall for the second year running, narrowly beating Australia by just 0.4 penalties.
Britian’s Nicola Wilson successfully threw her cap in to the ring with a bid for the Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam bonus, taking individual honours in the CICO3* with a faultless performance on One Two Many.
Gemma Tattersall had been the leader after dressage in the CICO3* with Chico Bella P having scored a personal best of 32.7, but subsequently withdrew. Gemma explained: “It was always my plan not to go cross country here, because Bella is going to Bramham for our final trial. The ground is a little firm for her, and there’s a small event down in South America this summer that we hope to go to.”
Germany, who won the FEI Nations Cup at the event last year, took the lead in the team competition after the dressage phase, with their team score of 127.5 benefitting from a 39.2 mark posted by Bettina Hoy riding Seigneur Medicott. The Australians lay in second place with New Zealand close behind.
Nicola Wilson kept her individual lead after the show jumping with One Two Many heading stable mate
Annie Clover in second and France’s Matthieu Van Landeghem rounding out the top three with Trouble Fete ENE HN. Liz Halliday Sharpe, who had occupied second place after dressage dropped down the order after four faults with Fernhill by Night.
In the team standings, it was all change in the show jumping. Just one time penalty between the three qualifying scores moved the Australian team to the top of the leaderboard as Germany dropped to second place after Bettina had two rails down, whilst Britain moved up to third.
The Cross Country track at Houghton had been verti drained in the dry weather and rode well with few faults incurred. The most influential fences were a double of corners at fence 10 and the four-element water complex at 12. However, the German team showed their strength as the Australians could not match them for overall cross country speed, finishing a close 0.4 penalties behind. France completed the top tree, with Great Britain finishing fourth.
When asked the secret of Germany’s extraordinarily consistency, team trainer Christopher Bartle replied: “We have a great team spirit, which I treasure, and we work to maintain it. The riders support each other and they respect each other’s opinions because they all want to get better, however good they are. I like Houghton. It’s a good cross country track in a lovely park. The timing is right for us, as it runs in May, and we are always very well looked after when we come here. I certainly never have any problem persuading German riders to come.”
Peter Thomsen, a long-standing member of the German team, agreed: “This is my first time at Houghton and I am very impressed. The course is good for galloping and for training horses. It has typical British questions and you have to ride fast to make the time. We have a good system of getting information back to each other during the day and Chris gives us feedback in the warm-up.”
After two events, France and Ireland were joint leaders in the series with Great Britain in third. After the latest leg, France have taken the lead in the series on (250 points) whilst Great Britain are in second (225 points) and Germany in third (200 points).
Of her individual win Nicola said; “If I’d been asked last week whether I would be riding at Houghton today I would have said no. The last few weeks have been bumpy for me; Badminton didn’t go my way, I had a nasty fall at Chatsworth and then fell off a young horse at home. I’m so grateful to the people at the Jack Berry House rehabilitation centre in Malton. I’ve been there every day since my fall and their care enabled me to ride at this fantastic venue.”
The Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam has now had three different winners at each of the events in the series so far, as the world’s top event riders battle it out to be in with a chance of taking home the £50,000 prize money. With two legs to go – Hopetoun International and Burgham International – the competition is still all to play for.
Describing the start of the competition Managing Director of Shearwater Insurance Jeremy Lawton said; “We are thrilled at how all the riders have got behind this brand new event, with the caliber of entrants so far being exceedingly high. It has meant the competition across the board has been exciting for the events, sponsors and general public as a whole. We are excited to see how it progresses for the rest of the season.”
In the CCI2* Thursday’s overnight dressage leaders, Tim Price and Danturano K, dropped to third after the completion of the dressage phase. France’s First Regis Prud Hon and Kaiser HDB took the lead by 1.2 penalties, but their pole position was short lived as Britain’s Pippa Funnell and Billy Walk On produced the best test of the two days to go forward on a score of 35.6 – a 1.9 penalty advantage.
Pippa retained lead lead after a cross country round which was well inside the optimum time. She said afterwards: “I’m really chuffed. He’s a big striding horse and I just kept the rhythm – I was a bit cautious on my first horse, probably because of my recent fall at Withington, so I learnt from that.”
After Regis Prud Hon dropped out of contention when Kaiser HDB had a refusal on course, it allowed Tim Price (Danturano K) and Harry Meade (Vrolijk) to move up a place apiece.
Pippa kept her cool in the final phase to take victory and finish on her dressage score. She said: “ “He’s really special. You only have to look at his record to see that. We’ve not put him under any pressure and don’t run him often. He’s strong in all phases and I barely need to train him at all, it’s like he’s read the book. I’d jump him round an advanced track tomorrow without batting an eye.”
Tim Price’s Danturano K also finished on his first phase score for second place, as did Harry Meade’s Vrolijk in third.
The Askham Bryan College CCI2* National Championships
The Norfolk event also hosted the British Eventing Askham Bryan National Under 21 Championships., It was an important competition with British selectors keeping an eye on the combinations participating ahead of the 2016 Young Rider European Championships, which takes place in Italy in September.
The competition was led from start to finish by defending European Young Rider champions Will Furlong and Livingstone II. The pair regained the title they first won in 2014, having finished as runners up last year.
With a first phase score of 34.5, the pair were 2.4 penalties ahead of Emily King on Dargun, who also finished the dressage phase in fourth place on Loxley, with Sam Ecroyd on Opera House taking up third position.
The top three combinations kept clean sheets in the cross country and final days show jumping with Sam Ecroyd moving up to fourth place on his second ride Master Douglas with King’s retirement of Loxley on the cross country.
Will commented afterwards: “I’m delighted! I did feel the pressure a bit as last to go in to the show jumping, but it was the same in Strezgom at the Europeans last year. I hope that we are selected for the British team again this year, which is my last in Young Riders, so that I can have a go at defending my title.”
Will Furlong took an early lead in the CCI1* with Collien P 2, who was produced to three star level by Germany’s Josephine Schnaufer. He was trailed by Daisy Dick and Ballinteskin Cooper S while JP Sheffield slipped in to third place aboard Woodlander Wesuvio.
The standings remained unchanged after cross country with Will keeping his lead with the on Collien P 2. This was all the more impressive given the fact that Will only took on the ride two weeks ago and has been cross country schooling just once. He said: “She’s a three star horse but we have yet to build a partnership. I took the long route at the water because the ground is fast here and the time was easy to make. She cruised round.”
Daisy Dick remained in second place on Ballinteskin Cooper S, with JP Sheffield and Woodlander Wesuvio also maintaining their third place going into the show jumping.
The final phase saw a change in leaders with the leader and second placed rider had costly rails down. while two phase leader Will Furlong dropped to eighth after two rails down, whilst despite one pole falling, Daisy Berkeley and Ballinteskin Cooper S held on to second. Willa Newton produced a clear round to finish third on Lauries Laudatio 2.
These faults handed the win to JP Sheffield who went clear to finish on his dressage score with the 12 year old working stallion Woodlander Wesuvio, who is owned by Maria Delves and Alison Walton. Of his victory JP commented; “He covered four or five mares last week, but has a fabulous temperament. He has the busiest stable in the yard, next to the wash box, he travels happily with mares – the only time he gets excited is at a trot up. If all stallions were like him there would be more of them in the sport.”
The Combined Training was won by Sarah Bullimore and Reve Du Rouet, with Bill Levett second on Improvise and Daisy Berkeley just behind on Strike Smartly. Izzy Taylor and Ellie won the straight CCI/CIC3* dressage class with Izzy also being runner up with Olls.
In the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse classes Jane Heerbeck’s Horatio, ridden by JP Sheffield, made it two wins on the trot having taken the Four Year Old class at Rockingham last weekend, and finishing two points ahead of Ros Canter on Lordship Graffalo. Virginia Turnbull rode Demi Minutus into third place.
Sarah Bullimore took the honours in the Five Year Old section riding her husband’s Corouet, this horse also winning his class at Rockingham. She finished on an identical score to Judy Bradwall’s Grappa Nera ridden by Alex Postolowsky, but it was Corouet who posted the better ‘wow’ factor final mark, gaining the maximum 10 points. JP Sheffield was back in the prizes, third on Celine.
Also in action on Thursday were the Sema Lease Arena Eventing 100cm competitors, and Rosie Chinery was the comfortable winner aboard Stan.
Photographs courtesy of Lorraine Porter