Success for Sam at Nunney International

This year’s Nunney International Horse Trials was one of the best to date with more than 800 riders competing at the Somerset event.

Set against the backdrop of Southfield House near Frome, the event provided three days of top class competition, including a CIC** class. The event has grown in popularity since it was first run in 2012 with a host of top riders bringing horses to compete.

Competition kicked off on Friday with Five Year Old, BE100, BE100 Open and Novice classes. The Five Year Old Class (Section Dipper), sponsored by KBIS, was won by Zoe Wilkinson riding Francoe PFB. It was the combination’s second win on the trot, and their third win of the year, as they were victorious at Aston Le Walls in May and Larkhill in April. The pair produced a dressage score of 19.5 and went on to complete a double clear.

Based in Wiltshire, Zoe was the winner of the 2014/15 Mark Todd Bridging the Gap (MTBTG) Scholarship and was recently named on the shortlist for the British Riding Club’s CIC2* Eventing Team. Of Frankie she said: “We’ve had him since he was two and he is a lovely straight forward horse and we were very pleased with his result. He’s had a few wins this season and last year. He’s for sale, and if he isn’t sold beforehand he’ll go to Osberton.”

Zoe had further success later in the weekend in the CIC**, with Parkfield Quintessential coming third. Of Quinty she added: “He is a really lovely horse who has always been consistent in producing good results. Nunney was perhaps the toughest track he has done so far, and he went round happily and answered all the questions. He’s on track with where we want him to be in his career and we’ll look to the Le Lion seven year old championships at the end of the year and look to step up to advanced and three star next year.”

Padraig McCarthy picked up a brace of wins on the first day of competition – riding Garrybritt Lando to victory in BE100 Section Avocet, and Wisbeach River Deep to success in BE100 Section Curlew. Other Friday winners included Emily Philip on Narramore My O Silver (BE 100 Section Buzzard) and Georgina Joynson on Gorfelyn Peter The Great (BE 100 Plus Section Eagle).

Kitty King was another double winner. Her first win came on Friday (BE Novice Section Falcon) on-board Acis. The combination added just 2.4 time penalties from the cross country to their dressage score to finish on 27.2 penalties. Kitty returned on Saturday to collect her second victory (BE Novice Section Goshawk) with Vendredi Biats, with whom she also won a Novice class at Rockingham Castle in May. Other Saturday winners were Rosie Thomas on Killbunny Now or Never (BE Novice Section Jackdaw), Holly Wright on Minacks Maid (BE100 Section Lapwig), Laura Collett on Sir Papillon (BE100 Section Merlin), Emma Roberts on Enumero (BE ON U18 Section Kestrel), Hannah Gadras on Champion Owens (BE 100 Under 18 Section Nightingale), and Caroline Harris on Epica (BE Novice Section Harrier).

A total of 70 combinations came forward for the CIC** class sponsored by Hopkins Concrete Ltd. The class was won by Sam Jennings riding the 10 year old Cole Play, with Will Rawlin on VIP Vinnie finishing second.

Owned by Gill Johnson, Cole Play was bought as a three year old from Cavan Sales in Ireland, and has been produced by Kent-based Sam. The combination lead after the dressage with a score of 35.8 adding just 5.6 cross country time penalties to complete on 41.4 – 5.4 points ahead of second placed Will. The pair will now head to Barbury International for the three star next month.

Sam said: “He was bought as a project and he has a really great attitude. It’s a challenging course, but the organisers have done the most fantastic job with the ground as it rode really well.”

However the gelding nearly didn’t compete after finding the excitement of galloping across country too exciting. Sam explained: “He was feeling so full of himself that my groom Camille had to lead him down to the start and then legged me up while the starter was counting down.”

Sunday’s competition also included Intermediate Novice, Intermediate, and Open Intermediate classes. Intermediate Section Peregrine was won by first time intermediate winner Roberto Scalisi on the seven year old Goonhilly Down, owned by Ros and Laura Hayward.

Roberto, who is based in the Cotswolds, commented: “I am absolutely thrilled. It was his second intermediate – he was 4th in his first intermediate – so to come out and win was amazing. He’s good on the flat and over a fence and is getting braver cross country. He was full of confidence and very positive – the cross country course was a galloping and forward thinking track and not there to catch you out. This horse was bred by his owners – and they had his mother – so it was really special for them to see him win. He has qualified for the novice championships at Gatcombe which is very exciting and we’ll have qualified for the Intermediate Championships next year. After he has competed there he’ll have a break and then we’ll bring him back and aim for a 2*. He’s a horse with a bright future.”

Roberto’s weekend didn’t get off to the greatest start when Master Tarka took a dislike to the dressage arena in the 2* class and was retired. He added: “Horses are great levellers – one minute you are on cloud nine and the next your back down again. He trotted down the centre line, turned left and just froze. He wouldn’t go anywhere near the flower pots. So I retired him. The helpful team at Nunney got me into an Intermediate class on the Sunday and he did a PB in the dressage. We’ve also been working on his jumping and he went on to jump a clear round. Unfortunately he had his first cross country fault on the cross country at the triple brush coming out of the water – he crossed his jaw and just ran past it, he didn’t even see it. It’s a shame as he could have been a winner too. He’ll be doing Barbury 2* and hopefully we won’t have the same problem with flower pots!”

Other intermediate class winners were Gemma Tattersall Santiago Bay (Section Quail) and Rebecca Gibbs on Woodlands Springtime (Section Robin). The Open Intermediate winner (Section Sparrowhawk) was Izzy Taylor on Thistledown Poposki, who also won the Intermediate Novice (Section Woodpecker) on Legende Top Secret.

Jasmine Abraham on Catherston Coh I Noor took the honours in the Open Intermediate under 21 (Section Teal), sponsored by Askham Bryan, a class in which she took a one-two, with Wolfgang Penelope picking up second place. Jasmine also competed Genuine Pearl in the 5 Year Old class, a horse she says has a lot of promise for the future.

Jasmine, who has just completed her AS Levels and hopes to go to University to study physiotherapy on completion of her studies, has been longlisted for the Racesafe sponsored British Junior team for the Junior European Championships, which take place in Bialy Bor in Poland in August. She told Eventing Worldwide: “It’s my first British Eventing win so I am thrilled. This was Catherston Coh I Noor’s third intermediate and I have been trialling her for junior selection all season. This was just the result I needed to catch the selector’s eye. We’ve had the mare since she was three and I have taken the ride on her this season – she was previously ridden by my mum Sam and Gemma Tattersall. I’ve been riding Wolfgang Penelope for two and a half years and I’ll aim her for Young Riders next year. She was great – she is such a school master and has given me all the experience I could need. We’ve got two more trials for the junior team and training with Caroline Moore. Hopefully if I can keep this form up I have a good chance of being selected. But its horses at the end of the day and you have to keep them sound.”

Organiser of Nunney International Alisa Hunter-Gordon commented after the event: “It was three fabulous days of competition and we’re delighted with all the positive comments we have received from competitors. Visitor numbers were up quite considerably to the point where we had to print off extra car passes and we were pleased that Friday, which is free, attracted plenty of spectators. Our title sponsors, Hopkins Concrete, who won the sponsorship through our Nunney 200 Club, had a wonderful weekend enjoying hospitality. There are so many people to thank, including all our volunteers and committee member Sam Griffiths, who is incredibly busy as a professional rider but provides us with so much help and advice.”

Rachel Kennedy, marketing manager at Kilver Court, said: “We were thrilled to be the Friday sponsor for this year’s event. It was a fantastic day of eventing with some really talented young riders competing alongside the seasoned professionals. It was also great to see a number businesses from the surrounding community coming together to be part of such an exciting local event – we’re looking forward to 2016 already.”

Report written by Sarah Carless.

Photographs Courtesy of Tanzy Lee




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