The Eventing Spring Carnival, at Thoresby Park, was beset by weather issues last week. Persistent and heavy rain hampered preparations but didn’t dampen the BEDE Events team spirits enough to dissuade them from running, in a true the ‘show must go on’ spirit. From an original record breaking CCI4*S entry, littered with Olympic, World and European champions and medallists, to a more streamlined final day, the Eventing Spring Carnival still delighted onlookers with winning performances from some of the sport’s biggest stars.
The Lycetts Grantham Cup has been regarded as one of the sport’s most prestigious 4* prizes for over a decade, with many a great still yet to get their name engraved on the trophy. This weekend saw the turn of a young rider, who’s surpassed what her mother was able to achieve in terms of winning the Grantham Cup and kept a pair of world champions at bay in doing so.
Emily King delivered a superb performance to deliver one of the biggest wins of career. Riding her own, Mr Philippe Brivois, Event Horse Owners Syndicate, Mrs Jacquie Shere and Mr Jeremy Shere’s Valmy Biats to finish on a score of 41.2, adding 14.4-time faults to their 26.8 dressage.
Of the win Emily King commented:
“I can’t really believe it! He’s been fantastic all week, and it’s his first run of the season. If he was a bit excited, I’d have completely forgiven him. He’s getting more and more established with his movements and calmer with it.
Showjumping this morning he was superb, and I couldn’t have asked any more from him. Cross-country he was just super. I wanted to let him travel on the good ground, but I made a conscious effort to go a bit steadier over the slightly deeper patches that we’d noticed when walking the courses.”
Ms King was one of the sixty-six horse and rider combinations heading to Badminton Horse Trials in early May.
“I wanted to go a bit speedy, but I was also a bit – what will be will be with the time as well, with badminton in mind.
They’d done such a fantastic job considering, and now it’s just so good. It was a nice balance for one like him who hasn’t run, not too big and too crazy and technical but there was enough to get your eye in with accuracy and testing, but also a good confidence boosting one. He finished how I wanted him too. He was in a good frame of mind, and it was all about getting him listening to me ahead of Badminton”.
Taking second place on the Lycetts Grantham Cup podium was 2018 World Champion, and current world number 3, Ros Canter with Annie Makin and Kate James’ Pencos Crown Jewel who completed on 43.9. From a former world champion to the reigning champion, Yasmin Ingham completed the all-female podium riding her championship partner Banzai Du Loir, owned by Janette Chinn and The Sue Davies Fund.
The second CCI4*S section saw a back-to-back Thoresby win for Piggy March and Brookfield Equestrian. A reunited partnership, with Piggy having ridden Brookfield Cavalier Cruise as a 7-year-old, the pair led from the start to complete on a score of 36.6 for owners Alison Swinburn, John, and Chloe Perry.
Speaking of her win, and new ride Piggy March commented:
“He’s a beautiful horse, and I’m very lucky to have the ride on him again. He’s a real talented horse who really enjoys his job. He’s a very exciting horse and one who’s been off the radar. He’s one who won’t run a lot as he doesn’t need to, but he’s a very cool horse and an exciting horse and I’m a very luck girl to ride him”
Image: Piggy March and Brookfield Equestrian. Courtesy of Hannah Cole Photography
With weather affected going and a significant number of withdrawals there was a lot of talk regarding the cross-country course and how it is now playing a crucial role in preparing horses and riders for their Spring CCI5* campaigns at Kentucky or Badminton.
Speaking of the Stuart Buntine and Captain Mark Phillips cross-country course Piggy March added:
“It’s definitely a step up from last year. I think they’ve done a very good job and they’re going the right way in making it a course to prepare you for Badminton, which was my worry last year when I wrote about it. But it did have that right feel. I think a lot of us have learnt a lot from Thoresby this year. It’s still a new place and relatively unknown. I think a lot were quick to judge it and its amazing, and a lot of us were amazed at what the ground was like and how it dried. Fair play to the team here who did an amazing job to keep the show on, which was what the sport needed. A lot of people might be negative as they saw the lorry park on day one and they were up against it, with emotions flying everywhere but I’m personally very glad I did stay on. I could have very easily not been here after Friday, but I’ve learnt a lot from the ground, and I hope that it has a very positive look for next year and that it hasn’t put a dampener on the team who might have seen the numbers pull out. There has been a lot more positive to take out of it than there initially looked to be, and a huge well done to these guys here.”
The rest of the podium, and top five, was dominated by Harry. Harry Mead took second with Alexandra Robinson and Nigella Hall’s Red Kite, as well as fifth with Charlotte Opperman’s Cavalier Crystal. Meanwhile young rider Harry Mutch claimed the final podium spot taking third with, his mother Carole Mutch’s, Shanbeg Cooley and forth with HD The One. A young rider who’s spend time as part of the Wesko Young Eventer’s Programme with mentoring from Pippa Funnell delivered a text book ride on both horses, also delivering the fastest round of the day with Shanbeg Cooley, adding just 3.6 time faults to their 39.4 dressage score.
Rounding up the wins from Friday and Saturday’s international classes, the Investec CCI3*S at the Eventing Spring Carnival came down to one second splitting two former young rider gold medallists.
Finn Healy held on to the win by the narrowest of margins to claim the Investec CCI3*S title with Amy Hawley’s Treamble, ahead of Bubby Upton and Viktor Krum. The former Pony European team gold medallist produced a 27.7 dressage and double jumping clear in a time of 6.07 to hold onto the win, by 0.4 penalties – just 1 second. Both riders had been neck and neck in the dressage, with everything hinging on the cross-country.
Of the win Finn Healy commented:
“Treamble was amazing! Its only her second CCI3* with me and she was absolutely incredible in all three-phases. She did a really good dressage and was really obedient as she always is and jumped two mega rounds and I couldn’t be more pleased with her. I must say a massive thank you to Stuart and the whole of the BEDE team, they’ve done an incredible job with the ground, considering the weather, and it’s an absolutely amazing event to come to. Thorebsy is one of my favourite events to ride at and they’ve done amazingly considering the weather.”
Despite the persistent and challenging weather conditions that particularly affected Friday’s competition the Warner Leisure CCI2*S proceeded as planned, amidst a revised competition schedule. Rising to the top of the field, with the only cross-country clear within the optimum time, was Nottinghamshire’s own Lizzie Baugh, riding Toni Dalby Rose’s 8-year-old Shannondale Cedric.
Of the win Lizzie Baugh commented:
“He was a little bit excited in the dressage and didn’t really produce his best work, he was a little bit tense, but he rose to the top in the Showjumping. He really tried hard in the mud. Cross-country he’s a really good cross-country horse and he’s always straight and honest on his lines so that was never an issue for him, he covers the ground so well. I knew he might be competitive as the Showjumping had caused issues, I didn’t necessarily ride for the time, and he comfortably galloped round in the time. I’m just really grateful to the whole team here for all the extra effort they have gone to, we are all just so grateful of the run at the moment.”
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