EWWs Event Reports sponsored by RACESAFE
Sarah Carless reports..
New Zealand riders had a stronghold on the international classes, taking victory in the CIC* and CIC** at Gatcombe International Horse Trials.
The event, sponsored by Whatley Manor Hotel, marked the 21st consecutive year the event has been run
annually at the home of HRH The Princess Royal with more than 700 entries. Christian Landolt, the owner of the Whatley Manor Hotel, has announced that the hotel will continue its sponsorship of the event for a further three years taking their support through until September 2019, thus guaranteeing the ongoing future of this popular and well supported local event.
Mike Etherington-Smith who has designed some of the most important and prestigious Eventing Cross Country courses throughout the world, including the Olympic Games and the World games, joined the organising team in order to work with Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal on the design of the International CIC** course. Mike said “I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with The Princess and her organising team at Gatcombe which is certainly one the most popular events in the UK Horse Trials calendar
Dan Jocelyn and his Badminton ride Beaucatcher were the winners of the CIC** by the narrowest of margins, ahead of Kitty King and Vendredi Biats and Sam Griffiths and Paulank Kings River.
The cross country proved influential in this class. Griffiths had led the competition after dressage with a score of 39.7 but picked up 10.8 time faults dropping him from the top spot, with four of the top ten after dressage dropping out of the competition during the jumping phases.
Jocelyn and Beaucatcher lay in 17th after the dressage with a score of 48.3 but clear rounds in both the show jumping and cross country, with just 0.4 of a time fault pulled him up the order for victory.
King, a member of the Great British Team at the Rio Olympics, had two top ten finishers with Billy Bounce completing in eighth position.
Another Olympian took the win in the CIC*. This time victory went to Tim Price and Falco IV, with Paul Tapner taking second on Wickstead Kangeroo and Britain’s Gemma Tattersall in third with Chilli Knight.
The top two placings came down to time faults accumulated on the cross country. Tapner led after the dressage with a score of 39.1. But 4.4 time penalties compared to Price, who was just 0.3 penalties behind the Australian after dressage and collected just 0.4 faults, changed the final order. Tattersall moved up the order following a solid performance in all three phases.
Seventeen year old Storm Straker held her own against the top riders finishing fourth with her own Well Designed. The gelding has been with Storm’s family since he was four, and was previously ridden by her sister. Storm took the ride on him when she was 14
She told Eventing Worldwide; “I was very pleased with him! It was amazing -to have three Olympians with only a couple of points away from the leader was phenomenal. I think the time was definitely influenced the placings as well, but fortunately the course suited me horse. It was such an honour to have the prizes handed out by the Princess a royal.”
Storm will step up to Young Rider level in 2017, and added; “Obviously it’s a step up, but he is definitely improving every time I go out and his dressage is getting better and better which has always our weak point as he is normally a double clear machine.”
As well as the international classes Gatcombe also played host to Novice and Intermediate national classes over the three days of competition.
As well as a top three placing in the CIC**, Tattersall took victory in Novice Section G with Billy Hopefull. In fact, a host of top international riders took class wins. Open Intermediate Section F went to Paul Tapner and Bonza King of Rouges, Intermediate Section D was won by Tom McEwen and Barina 50, Laura Collett won Intermediate Section C with Ontario II, whilst Ireland’s Auston O’Connor won Open Novice Section L on Billy Black Cat.
Up and coming young rider Caroline Harris has a string of great eventing prospects and proved this with a win in Novice Section K with Cuffesgrange Craven Carel. Gunny Howe is another rider with lots of great horses to ride, and she was victorious in Novice Section I on Echo P. The pair had an impressive dressage of 23.0 and added just 6.8 time faults to take the win.
The remaining national classes were won by Hannah Bate (Novice Section J, Fanta Boy), Kylie Roddy (Novice Section H, Euro Power) and Fiona Breach (Intermediate Section E, Kilcannon Harley Cruise).
Photographs courtesy of Phil J Photography