Saturday was primarily Intermediate day, with the big story the return to competition for William Fox-Pitt after his serious fall last autumn. Crowds were out in force to see William back in action, and his first show jumping round prompted an enthusiastic burst of applause.
William admitted that he had chosen his first competitive partners carefully, opting to ride the experienced Cool Mountain and Parklane Hawk. “They are both old pros and literally carried me round – I only had to hold on,” he claimed, still the master of understatement. Always planning to take both horses steadily across country, he enjoyed two confident clear rounds, saying afterwards: “It’s a great relief to finish in one piece and feeling good.”
Ireland’s Meghan Healy proved herself an exciting up and coming talent, winning section J on her own Lui D. Meghan is based with Tiny Clapham and now rides full time, having just finished a degree in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology – not your run of the mill rider. This was her first intermediate win, and next time out she will tackle both her and her horse’s first advanced class at Belton Park.
Jo Ward won section K riding DHI Up Beat, while Oliver Townend posted his first win of the weekend with Lanfranco in open intermediate section L and Tim Price got his new partnership with OBOS Cooley, previously campaigned by Piggy French, off to a flying start with a win in open intermediate M. In the process Tim denied Oliver a second win, Oliver taking both second and third places in this section. All five of his finishers so far have finished in the ribbons.
The day finished with more novice competitors, Julia Norman on Joblesse van Bareelhof taking section N and Emily Llewellyn the Open Novice with Exclusive. The final winner of the day, in the Under 18 Open Novice, was Heidi Coy riding Forrests Foxy Lady.