Australia’s Paul Tapner was crowned the winner of this year’s MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge at Hickstead. Paul produced a foot perfect round on his grey Bonza King of Rogues in the International Arena, beating a high-class field of eventing combinations.
No strangers to the International Arena, the winning duo improved from their experience and 8th place in last year’s competition, to speed around the tricky cross-country course in 127.57 seconds. Paul’s masterful cross-country riding was highlighted throughout his round, as the rider picked tight lines to save time and put pressure on the remaining riders.
Second was Britain’s Abi Walter on Perfick Miss Amber who put in a superb round to finish best of the home team. Whilst Olympic rider Joseph Murphy and Electric Cruise for Ireland finished in third place to complete the podium. Joseph was delighted with his 16- year old gelding who recently returned to competition after a lengthily break.
The MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge is never without its share of thrills and spills. Pippa Funnell looked likely to complete a fantastic round when falling at the last fence, whilst Austin O’Connor also slipped out of the saddle on course. Luckily all riders were quickly to their feet and their horses reported to be fine.
Paul Tapner, winning rider of the MS Amlin Eventers’ Challenge, said: “I do enjoy this class. My horse is very careful, brave, and fast. You would expect him to excel in a class like this.”
David Ashby, Managing Director of class sponsors MS Amlin, said: “It was a thrilling competition to watch and we were delighted to see a number of our clients’ horses go so well. Congratulations to the winning combination. Paul rode a superb round, and we hope to see him competing here again next year.”