Pippa Funnell took the title in Chatsworth’s CIC*** and rode straight into the record books as the only rider to win this class three times. Pippa led from the start with her own, Jennifer Nolan and Ruth McMullen’s Sandman 7.
“I’m absolutely delighted with him. I felt he was ready but it’s so difficult in this circumstance [when you’re in the lead with a young horse] to know what is best because you can either progress the horse or set him back,” explained Pippa.
The pair went into the lead with a polished dressage performance for 38.5 and left all the show jumps in tact which meant they were last to go on the cross country. As the competition unravelled it became clear that a fast cross country round was vital as only three competitors – Holly Woodhead (DHI Lupison), Jodie Amos (Wise Crack) and Paul Tapner (Prince Mayo) – managed to break the sub ten cross country time penalty mark. With Pippa’s nearest rival, the speedy Irish rider Sarah Ennis steering last year’s victor Horseware Stellor Rebound, already out on course the three-time Badminton champ new she had to kick on to be in with a shot of the prize.
“It was a gamble, but it’s paid off and I’m so delighted because he is a special horse to our family.”
In the end Pippa clung onto the trophy by one penalty over Sarah. Third placed, and best under-25 competitor, belonged to Emily King – a career best for the Devonshire young rider riding Brookleigh.
Despite being over ten penalties behind the leader after the first phase, Paul Tapner further cemented his reputation for being a speedy cross country rider and brought home eventual fourth placed Prince Mayo in 6 minutes 41 seconds – just 24 seconds over the optimum time. This allowed them to climb the leader board. As did Jodie Amos’s impressive round on Wise Crack in 6 minutes 41 seconds for fifth and Holly Woodhead’s 6 minutes 38 seconds on DHI Lupison. Christopher Burton (Graf Liberty), David Doel (Chap), Emma Forsyth (Soltair Justice) and Olivia Wilmot (Zebedee De Foja) rounded off the top ten.
The ground was perfect and the course rode well with a smattering of 20 penalties marking the final leader board and just five of the 50 cross country starters walking their mounts home.
“It is testament both to the huge amount of work that the whole team does behind the scenes and to the wonderful setting and exciting competition that Chatsworth provides,” said event director Patricia Clifton.
Course designer Ian Stark was pleased with how his course rode.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this year’s course is easier, because it’s definitely still challenging, but it’s perhaps more horse-friendly. Riding a clear round at Chatsworth gives competitors a sense of achievement because the terrain is testing and the whole backdrop of the house and park gives the event such a big-time atmosphere.” said Ian, who also won the international class back in 1999 on the Duchess of Devonshire’s horse, Stanwick Ghost.
The popular event was brimming with eventing fans enjoying the Derbyshire countryside. The crowds also had chance to see Andrew Nicholson in action as he won both advanced sections on Perfect Stranger and Jet Set IV. The Kiwi rider also gave the crowd value for money when he fell off Ulysses in both the show jumping arena and on the cross country course.
Report by Natalie Clark
Photographs Courtesy of Tim Wilkinson – Eventing Images
NOVICE AND 1*
ADV AND 3*