Austin O’Connor (IRL) won today’s Open Novice section riding Calvin II. Austin took over the ride on the nine-year-old at the end of April this year, and already had a win and a runner up spot on their joint card before today. He narrowly pipped Wiltshire’s very own Eventing World Ranked number one rider Tim Price (NZL) to the post, Tim settling for second place on Happy Boy, who was having a non-pressured run after moving up to intermediate level earlier in the season.
Tim was, however, victorious in novice section E, winning on Emotion II’s dressage score of 26 penalties and moving above Chris Burton (AUS) after Kiltown Sherlock had a showjump pole down. This was the mare’s second win on the trot.
The Kiwis were undoubtedly on form, with Andrew Nicholson claiming novice section F riding Damaso (pictured). A leading dressage score of 21.5 gave Andrew a big enough margin to have a rail down and still win – just. He finished on the same score as Vittoria Pannizzon (ITA) and Caraghs Royal Quality but with just 0.8 of a cross-country time penalty against Vittoria’s 2.8 Andrew had the advantage.
Libby Seed (GBR) was a more comfortable winner of novice section G, enjoying an almost three point difference on Billy Alberto over Michael Jackson (GBR) riding PSH Lets Tango. Austin O’Connor was back in the ribbons, third on Silver Don.
Amy O’Connor, Austin’s wife, also had a good day finishing runner up in novice section H behind another antipodean, Bill Levett (AUS). Bill was riding Dignified Hero, a horse belonging to one of his pupils, Moroccan rider Noor Slaoui, and he was delighted with the seven-year-old gelding’s dressage score completion.
Sue Benson’s Falco IV also gave Tim Price a win, this time in an intermediate novice section. The 10-year-old had already won 108 British Eventing points, and was another horse stepping down a level for a consolidation run at Barbury. Gubby Leech (GBR) came closest to catching Tim, finishing second – and well ahead of the rest of the field – on Timolin.
Whilst Timolin had to settle for second place behind Tim, Gubby was the clear winner in the remaining intermediate novice. Royal Harvest posted a 4.5 penalty advantage over Charlotte Rowe on Redbarn Lux Ury Biscuit, owned by online eventing magazine Eventing Worldwide.
The two 3* sections have seen a change at the top of the leaderboard on the completion of their dressage phases. Marcelo Tosi (BRA) holds a half penalty lead over last year’s winners Adam Harvey (GBR) and Picasso V in section A, while Hannah Bate (GBR) and Fanta Boy, Andrew Nicholson with As Is, and Piggy French (GBR) riding Calling Card fill the top three spots in section B over yesterday’s leader Izzy Taylor.
The overnight leader in the 4* is American racing driver Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp riding Deniro Z. Elisabeth toppled long term leader Alex Bragg (GBR) on Hester in to second place with more riders still to perform their dressage tests in the morning.
It was a long and hot day with a few thrills and spills, but happily all came home with no more than perhaps a few bruises and battered pride. The action kicks off again at 9am tomorrow.