Barbury Horse Trials leg of 2018 Event Rider Masters goes to France - with an amazing performance by Tom Carlile & Upsilon
Frenchman Tom Carlile defended his Barbury Event Rider Masters (ERM) title in magnificent style, leading from the front on his striking grey stallion - a fitting climax to the 2018 St James's Place Barbury Horse Trials.
Upsilon who showed no signs of the diffidence that has marred some of his runs in the past year and who jumped like a stag around Capt Mark Phillips’s testing, undulating cross-country track.
“Only a couple more wins and he’ll be a legend,” joked Tom, whose relief at having his star horse back on form was obvious. “The way he jumped the first skinny fence, straight through the flags with no hesitation, showed the mood he was in. It was just what we needed. Upsilon loves Barbury and so do I.”
Sussex-based British rider Gemma Tattersall is known for rising to the challenge in high-pressure situations and she rode a brilliant round on Clive Smith’s Pamero 4 to finish second, just ahead of the speedy Australian Christopher Burton on Trisha Rickards’ Polystar l, winners of the Arville ERM leg a fortnight ago and the only combination to achieve the optimum cross-country time at Barbury.
The lead in this year's ERM series was taken by Christopher Burton. Wearing the leaders arm-band at Barbury was Laura Collett on the relative novice Decapo having decided not to ride Billy Bounce on such hard ground.
But he gave me a super ride round the cross country - he's a very exciting horse for the future."Decapo looks set for a great future - as Laura put it: "Super proud of Decapo finishing ninth in ERM. He's only nine years old and inexperienced at three star level.
Marlborough-based British rider Flora Harris came fourth - riding twelve year-old Bayano.
She led the CIC3* section B from start to finish on the super-talented but sensitive Bulana.Elsewhere in the competitions, Nicola Wilson was another relieved rider.
The feisty black mare, who took the Yorkshire rider to win team gold and individual bronze medals at the European Championships last year.
Nicola has had an interrupted season, due to a wet spring and Nicola's knee injury, and the lack of work hasn't played to her temperament: “I felt we were at sixes and sevens and my main aim this weekend was to get our partnership back on track, but she has been great in all three phases and feels back to her best."
Second place in such distinguished company was a great result for young Richard Coney from Lincolnshire riding his own Kananarskis, who is only 15.1hh, and in third place was the in-form Gemma Tattersall on ERM chairman Chris Stone's Chilli Knight, by the 2015 Badminton winner Chilli Morning.
This concluded the thirteenth running of St James’s Place Barbury, conducted in searing heat. Despite the very dry conditions, riders praised the extremely hard work of the organisers and the ground care team to produce the best possible footing for the horses. “Other events should take note of what they have done here,” said ERM winner Tom Carlile.
The Berkeley Hunt South branch of the Pony Club won the 90cm Pony Club team showjumping, and the VWH Owls took the 100cm Pony Club team competition.
Event Director Martyn Johnson said it had been a 'fantastic four days of great horse sport at Barbury': "Tom Carlile’s achievement in winning the Event Rider Masters class for the second year in a row is superb, and Nicola Wilson and Bulana were very popular winners of the St James’s Place CIC3*."
If you wanted to know how some riders begin their careers, there entertaining the crowd during a pause in the ERM contest, were the young riders in the Shetland Pony Grand National. Three teams riding ferociously fast races over a tight course with mercifully small jumps.
The first race was won by Lily - daughter of jump jockey Leighton Aspell. The rosettes were handed out by Bob Champion - and this series of races not only gives youngsters a fine start in racing, it raises funds for the Bob Champion Cancer Fund. Memorable scenes!
For more information, visit www.barburyhorsetrials.co.uk.