Report By Rika Nile
Port Eliot is one of the most southwesterly events on the eventing calendar, hosting BE80(T), BE90 and BE100 classes which attracted a good range of entries from professionals and grassroots riders alike. Organised by Tamsyn Hutchins, the parkland next to the estuary provided perfect going in a beautiful setting.
Stacey Littlejohns and Churchpark Chaos led from start to finish in BE90 section A, just adding 0.8 penalties to their dressage mark of 29.8. This was the combinations third win at Port Eliot, after winning their section each year since the event started in 2014.
Stacey took on Churchpark Chaos after losing her horse of a lifetime, [emember_protected custom_msg=’This content is only available to Members, to read more of this article please Join HERE or if you are a member please LOGIN‘]and despite a tricky start to their eventing career, they haven’t looked back since winning at Port Eliot in 2014, which Stacey put down to a season of hunting.
“We had a dazzle year last year with a rosette at every BE we entered and won the South West Eventing BE80 league 2015. The win resulted in a free membership for myself and him for this year at BE. I thought I might as well give BE90 ago and see how we get on.
“Chaos has surprised me, we missed our first run at Howick BE which should have been a simple BE80 run and went straight into BE90 at Bicton with a convincing 3rd and then onto his amazing win at Port Eliot.
“I have been having lessons with Debbie Randall to fine tune our dressage, I had an aim to achieving best dressage this year and wanted to lead from the start; I didn’t think it would happen at his second BE90 mind!” Stacey said.
Working in an office full time, Stacey juggles having five horses and eventing with work, with the win marking a huge achievement for Stacey’s effort to keep everything going.
“I now have two regional tickets for Badminton grassroots and would love to qualify him for it next season.” Stacey added.
The best dressage score of the day went to Holly Wright and her mum Linda’s Minack’s Maid, who were the only combination of the day to break into the teens. Holly and Minack’s Maid, known at home as Twiggy, took BE100 section F, leading from start to finish just adding a few time penalties to their dressage score of 19.
Holly dedicated the score of 19 to Linda who bred the 8-year-old mare and does all of her schooling and fitness work. Hoping to step her up to Novice this year, Holly, was particularly pleased with Twiggy’s clear show jumping round, after she had the tendency to be a bit careless in this phase last season.
Holly, who also placed 3rd in BE90 section A on another homebred horse, Primitive Star II, commented “She is the kind of horse that you always know you’re going to have a lovely day out with. She’s angelic to handle, but she’s still really forward going and keen to jump.
“Port Eliot is a really lovely event and I really hope it goes from strength to strength in the future and grows to have bigger classes!” she added.
Another rider to praise the event was Janou Bleekman, who rode Hal Andersen’s Sea Yin to a win in BE100 open section H. Of the venue Janou said: I haven’t been before, it was a beautiful setting. I was surprised how hilly the course was but it rode really well and it was great to have a lower level event which isn’t just around two small fields and 4 minutes long. It was a proper cross country and asked some decent questions across all classes.”
Janou stepped in to compete the Spanish mare whilst owner Hal is off with a broken arm, along with his other horse Ballyea Rose. “I’m very lucky to ride two such nice horses! I’ve now done 4 BE100s this year with her (Sea Yin) all double clear, and a 3rd at Bicton which we’ve improved on at Port Eliot!” Janou commented.
Close on the tails of both Holly Wright and Janou was Charlotte Rowe who took 2nd on both HHS Leacourt Cavalier (BE100 section F) and Eventing Worldwide’s The Night Traveller (BE100 open section H), as well as 9th in BE100 section G with Langaller Diadem.
BE80(T) section D went to Roxi Foster and Dowhills Providence, finishing on their dressage score of 29.5 to win their first BE event together, just fractionally ahead of 2nd and 3rd placed Katie Shobrook and Moonpride and Louisa Blagdon with Dune Corrib Princess, who finished on 29.8 and 30 respectively.
BE80(T) section E winners, Charlotte Hoare riding Easkey Pride, also jumped a double clear to finish on their dressage mark of 30.5. Hoping to step up to BE90 after her exams, Charlotte said, “we’ve come close to winning before but never quite managed it so I’m thrilled to have come out on top at his first event of the year!”
Another section which had less than a penalty separating the top three was BE90 section B, which was won by Charlotte Clarke and Early Call on 31.5, whilst Sadie Horner and Huntingfield Lady D took 2nd with 31.6 and Laura Wilson came 3rd on Chef Van Hilsberg on 32.4.
An impressive 24 dressage and double clear gave Emilia Dart and Maybee their first BE win in BE90 section C, and BE100 section G was won by Amanda Wreford-Brown and Midsummer Dazzle.
Photographs courtesy of Tanzy Lee