Top class riders descended on Montelibretti and Barocca D’Alva as international eventing kicked off the 2016 season in Europe.
Montelibretti International offered one of the last chances for riders to gain points for the ranking list that will decide which countries will have chance to go to the Olympics in Rio.
There were 22 starters in the CCI3* which was dominated by Australian Andrew Hoy. After the dressage he held first, second and third placed with Cheeky Calimbo (40.2 penalties), Rutherglen (46.9) and Algebra (47.4).
The cross country course caused a number of problems but Andrew held his composure and at the end of the stay retained his lead, with Cheeky Calimbo only adding 4.4 time faults to their dressage score. Andrew also kept his second place with Rutherglen picking up only 2.4 time penalties. Algebra dropped to fifth after picking up 10 time faults.
Italian Pietro Roman and Barraduff was closest to the optimum time on the cross country, only missing it by one second to move into third position before the show jumping. Spaniard Albert Hermoso Farras with Hito CP had the biggest leap up the leaderboard after cross country moving from 20th to 6th in the standings.
Several retirements and eliminations on the course meant only 10 combinations were presented final inspection before the show jumping.
A clear round gave Cheeky Calimbo and Andrew a clear win, 8.7 penalties ahead of Andrew’s second placed horse Rutherglen, who collected four penalties in the final phase. Switzerland’s Melody Johner moved up to finish in third place with Frimeur Du Record CH after Pietro Roman tipped three poles to finish in 6th. Albert Hermoso Farras moved up another two placed to finish fourth – the only double clear of the competition, whilst Andrew Hoy retained fifth place with Algebra.
A contingent of UK-based riders have travelled to Barocca D’Alva for their first competition of the year in the Portuguese sunshine.
The CIC1*, with a strong class of 79 combinations, was won by Frenchman Regis Prud Hon with Kaiser HDB. The combination only added four show jumping penalties to their dressage score of 37.8 to take the win. India’s Ajai Appachu and Cocky Locky finished 2.5 penalties adrift on 44.3 to take second place with the Netherlands Eff Hammers and Balou in third.
The best of the British riders was Gemma Tattersall with Christopher Stone’s Chillis Gem. Matthew Heath finished 12th (Kilgarron Kontender) and 51st (Abbeygate Frederick) and Nick Burd finished 48th (Sacrosanct) and 61st (Play The Joker). Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy finished 26th (MGH Kings Street ) and 38th (MGH Annagmore).
The CIC2* attracted 49 entries, with many riders taking more experienced horses for a pre-season warm up. The class was won by Germany’s Andreas Dibowski with FRH Butts Avedon, a horse which was fourth at the CCI4* at Pau last October. Second went to Brazillian Ruy Fonsecca with Tom Bombadill Too and Belgium’s Vincent Martin in third with Ardenco.
Ireland’s Padraig McCarthy finished in fourth with Mr Chunky, having led after the cross country. He also finished 12th with Bernadette Utopia and 15th with Fiveberry. Sarah Bullimore and Reve Du Rouet were the highest placed British combination in fifth, with Sarah also finishing 11th on Lily Corrine. Gemma Tattersall finished 10th with Jan Butler’s Shannondale Mel and 29th with Chico Bella P. Matthew Heath completed on Cooley King Cobrwo, in 14th, and One Of A Kind, in 35th. The other British representative, Emma Hyslop Webb and Waldo III finished in 33rd.
Overseas riders based in the UK also made the trip with Tiana Coudray finishing 13th with Aloha, 17th with Sambuca and 20th with Ringwood Magister, whilst Sweden’s Hedvig Wik finished 9th with Chippieh and 18th with Direct Cruising.