FEI Nations Cup
Germany retained her hold on the British leg of the FEI Nations Cup, although the competition went to the wire with the lead switching from Germany to Australia and back to Germany with the completion of each phase. The German team of Josefa Sommer, Peter Thomsen, Josephine Schnaufer and Bettina Hoy produced a final team score (three scores to count) of 137.1.
Team trainer Chris Bartle explained: “I like Houghton. It’s a good cross country track in a lovely park. The timing is right for us, as it runs in May, and we are always very well looked after when we are here. I certainly never have any problem persuading German riders to come.”
The team from Australia, Sam Griffiths, Andrew Hoy, Kevin McNab and Tim Boland finished in the runner up spot, with France completing the top three, and Great Britain fourth.
Nicola Wilson (GBR) successfully threw her cap in to the ring with a bid for the Shearwater Insurance Tri-Star Grand Slam bonus, a new initiative in which a rider has to win three of the five CIC3* competitions in the series. Oliver Townend (GBR) won the first leg at Burnham Market, Chris Burton (AUS) won the second at Belton Park, and with two remaining legs, at Burgham and Hopetoun, any of the three riders could take the £50,000 bonus.
Nicola won the CICO3* section in some style, One Two Many topping the leaderboard while stable mate Annie Clover dropped a place to third with 1.2 time penalties. “If I’d been asked last week whether I would be riding at Houghton today I would have said no. The last few weeks have been bumpy for me; Badminton didn’t go my way, I had a nasty fall at Chatsworth and then fell off a young horse at home.
“I’m so grateful to the people at the Jack Berry House rehabilitation centre in Malton. I’ve been there every day since my fall and their care enabled me to ride at this fantastic venue.”
Separating Nicola’s rides was French team rider Matthieu Van Landeghem riding Trouble Fete ENE HN, who climbed from sixth after the dressage to the runner up spot with a clean sheet in the jumping phases.
British Eventing Askham Bryan National u21 Championships CCI**
Houghton International is a happy event for Will Furlong. He has just regained the title he first won in 2014, Livingstone II having also finished runner up last year in the Askham Bryan National Young Rider Championships. The reigning Young Rider European Champions were foot perfect all weekend, leading throughout.
“I’m delighted! I did feel the pressure a bit as last to go in to the show jumping, but it was the same in Strezgom at the Europeans last year. I hope that we are selected for the British team again this year, which is my last in Young Riders, so that I can have a go at defending my title,” said Will.
Emily King and Dargun finished in second place, over two points behind Will, with Sam Ecroyd third on Opera House and fourth on Master Douglas.
Pippa Funnell (GBR) was over the moon to win the CCI2* on Nick and Barbara Walkinshaw’s Billy Walk On. “He’s really special. You only have to look at his record to see that,” she said of the seven-year-old. He is out of Shannon Line and therefore half brother to a previous ride of Pippa’s, Billy Shannon, which she admitted makes him ‘very special’.
“We’ve not put him under any pressure and don’t run him often. He’s strong in all phases and I barely need to train him at all, it’s like he’s read the book. I’d jump him round an advanced track tomorrow without batting an eye.”
Tim Price’s Danturano K (NZL) also finished on his first phase score for second place, as did Harry Meade’s Vrolijk (GBR) in third.
The CCI* went to JP Sheffield (GBR) on the good looking and extremely relaxed stallion Woodlander Wesuvio. They finished on their dressage score, climbing up from third after dressage. Owned by Maria Delves and Alison Walton the 12-year-old son of Walentino is a working stallion. “He covered four or five mares last week, but has a fabulous temperament. He has the busiest stable in the yard, next to the washbox, he travels happily with mares – the only time he gets excited is at a trot up. If all stallions were like him there would be more of them in the sport.”
Daisy Berkeley and Ballinteskin Cooper S held on to second place with a rail down, while two phase leader Will Furlong dropped to eighth and Willa Newton slipped up in to third on Lauries Laudatio 2.