Townend claims second Gatcombe win as Clark triumphs in Corinthian Cup

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Sarah Carless reports ..
The Festival of British Eventing, presented by the British Equestrian Trade Association, finished in thrilling fashion with the conclusion of the Event Rider Masters, incorporating the British Open, with the first British winner of the series.
Oliver Townend, who triumphed in Saturday’s Advanced class, piloted Cillnabraddon Evo to victory, finishing on a score of 49.5. Townend set himself up for victory after a clear show jumping round. Overnight leader Andrew Hoy and Cheeky Calimbo had an uncharacteristic 20 penalties in the show jumping dropping the pair to 19th before they withdrew. The show jumping caused some issues and there were only four completely penalty free rounds.
1ST PLACE OLIVER TOWNEND RIDING CILLNABRADDEN EVO
Sheer determination by the winners over the last fence – OLIVER TOWNEND with CILLNABRADDEN EVO
Townend went out on to the cross country with a 7.1 advantage over his nearest rival with the gap becoming even bigger after Izzy Taylor dropped out of contention with an unlucky stop on the cross country with KBIS Briarlands Matilda. However, the pairing only collected 10.4 time penalties giving them a clear victory.
Afterwards he said: “It’s a special place for me and I love coming here. I’ve been coming here since I was about eight years old. I watched my father compete her and got here as soon as I could to compete and it’s been a lucky place for me. It’s my tenth championship win and I’m happy to be back and happy to win another championship. I’m going to aim him at a few of these classes. He’s proven that he is built for the test. We don’t really have a plan as he has had a few blips in his career so we just do what we can and on his day he is very competitive.”
Frenchman Thomas Carlisle rose from sixth after the dressage to finish in second with Upsilon. He said: “It’s a real consolation for missing the ticket to Brazil. It’s a fantastic series. I’d heard legends about Gatcombe with the demanding terrain and I was expecting it to be a little bit harsh for Upsilon being so young. But he has so many qualities and so much scope – he tries so hard. Coming up the last hill he was finding it hard but he kept digging.
2ND PLACE THOMAS CARLILE RIDING UPSILON
2ND PLACE THOMAS CARLILE RIDING UPSILON
Elizabeth Power had a dramatic rise up the leaderboard to finish third on Soladoun. The pair were 25th after dressage and had one pole down in the show jumping. But they produced the fastest round of the day to incur just 1.2 time faults to take their place on the podium. A delighted Elizabeth said: “I brought him to Gatcombe because he is speed horse and I knew that would be important – clearly it was. I wasn’t expecting to move up so much but it is brilliant. We very nearly made the time. If we didn’t have the little mistake in the water I think we would have been inside the time. But I can’t fault my horse.”
3RD PLACE ELIZABETH POWER RIDING SOLADOUN
3RD PLACE ELIZABETH POWER RIDING SOLADOUN
Young rider Sam Ecroyd finished seventh with Wodan lll to win the Horse Trials Support Group’s £500 prize for the best British rider 25 and under.
Earlier in the day, Andrea Clark and Murphy’s Bonanza triumphed in the TopSpec Challenge for The Corinthian Cup, Novice Restricted Championships. Placed 13th after dressage, a rare clear in the influential show jumping phase elevated the pair to joint first going into the cross country, and when their nearest rivals – dressage leaders Rebecca Woolley and Zeno Das Gluck – failed to complete Captain Mark Phillips’s track, Andrea’s penalty-free round ensured she took the mantle.
1ST PLACE ANDREA CLARK RIDING MURPHYS BONANZA
1ST PLACE ANDREA CLARK RIDING MURPHYS BONANZA
“We took an absolute flyer over the wall at fence 5 and my hat fell down over my eyes, so the next few jumps were a bit of a blur,” admitted the 44-year-old from Doncaster, who works full time as a manager for a mobile crane operator. “I had hoped for a double clear, so to win is incredible.”
Andrea was particularly pleased with her clear round in the show jumping. “The Course Designer, Di Boddy, is local to me so I have jumped quite a few of her courses. I knew to expect a twisty, up-to-height track, so I was prepared for that.”
Only two penalties separated the top seven going into the final phase, so a fast clear was essential to feature in the final reckoning. Yvie Jeanne and Oh Star II Z finished tantalisingly close in second place, just 0.3 of a penalty behind the winners.
2ND PLACE YVIE JEANNE RIDING OH STAR II Z
2ND PLACE YVIE JEANNE RIDING OH STAR II Z
Emma Corner completed the podium line up in third with Iamwotiam, one of her two rides in this class. “To be honest, I was expecting my younger horse, Edmonton ELS, to go the better of the two as this one’s quite cheeky, but he stepped up to the plate,” said Emma. “Competing here has been the most amazing experience. As I rode into the show jumping arena I cantered down the long side and took in the atmosphere – then I took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on my round.”
3RD PLACE EMMA CORNER RIDING IAMWOTIAM
3RD PLACE EMMA CORNER RIDING IAMWOTIAM
Reflecting on this year’s Festival of British Eventing, Event Director Tim Henson commented: “We’ve had the weather, we’ve had the going, we’ve had the competition – it’s been a stellar Gatcombe. I think everybody will be going away with a smile on their face. Some of the names have been in Rio but we’ve been watching that too and blended them together.”
Photographs courtesy of Lorraine Porter

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