Barbury International Day Three: Andrew Nicholson wins again - on As Is
Piggy French (GBR) rode Alison Swinburn, John and Chloe Perry's Brookfield Quality (pictured above) to a win in 3* section A, the partnership's fourth win of the season.CCI3*-S section A:
Dressage leaders Marcelo Tosi (BRA) and Starbucks had a hugely expensive show jumping round after which they jumped a steady cross country clear to plummet down to 58th place.
A single show jump rail down prevented Adam Harvey (GBR) and Picasso V from successfully defending the class they won last year, opening the door for Piggy French to climb above them on the leaderboard.
Sir Mark Todd completed the top three, finishing 0.2 of a penalty behind Adam riding Leonidas II, a five-star horse who is back competing after time off.
CCI3*-S section B: Second after the dressage phase, Lockeridge-based Andrew Nicholson and the Spanish bred As Is claimed section B, having show jumped clear and come home three seconds over the cross-country optimum time.
As Is is a full brother to Damaso, a winner for Andrew in a novice class on day two. The horse recently finished seventh in the CCI4*-L at Bramham so this was a relatively easy spin for the horse.
Dressage leaders Hannah Bate and Fanta Boy dropped well down the order with penalties in both jumping phases.
Piggy French was back in the money, this time riding Brookfield Inocent in to second place. Disappointingly Calling Card dropped from third to fourth after picking up 3.2 cross-country time penalties when having to circle between fences in the second half of the course: “Brookfield Inocent is such a lovely, talented horse, I'm so excited about him. He just wants to do it."
Completing the top three were Laura Collett and Sir Papillon who were faultless in both the jumping phases.
CCI4*-S: After its dressage stage, the star-studded showpiece CIC4*-S class is headed by 21-year-old Mollie Summerland on her smart-moving Charly Van Ter Heiden on the excellent score of 23.8. She holds a 3.3-penalty lead over her trainer, Pippa Funnell, riding the Badminton trailblazer, MGH Grafton Street.
Mollie, who is now running her own yard in Lincolnshire, only has the one horse at this level so a lot is riding on tomorrow’s jumping phases, especially as she had the disappointment of her saddle slipping on her last major outing, at Bramham:“I was very down after that, but I have been working hard with the World Class sport psychologist and have realised that these things sometimes happen.”
American rider Liz Halliday-Sharp is in third place on Deniro Z, Australians Catherine Burrell (Milan) and Kevin McNab (Scuderia 1918 Don Quidam) are fourth and fifth and Somerset-based Alex Bragg completes an international top six with sixth place on Hester.
The CIC4*-S class will be show jumping in the main arena early on Sunday morning, followed by cross-country over event director Alec Lochore’s revamped course.
The 2019 Inter-Hunt Relay was as fast and furious as ever, with the North Cotswold team crowned the winners.
The first heat in the finals was between the North Cotswold and Wilton Hunt. Too many rails down, at five seconds apiece, relegated the Wilton to the playoff.
There was more drama in the second heat when the Avon Vale team ended up with two riders on their feet. One fell off at the first fence and a second had to dismount after dropping the whip - and the Cotswold team went through to the final.
Holly Farr, who was involved in the running of Barbury International from its inception, presented the rosettes - with a bottle of Pol Roger for each member of the winning team. Final Results: 1st North Cotswold - 2nd Cotswold - 3rd Wilton - 4th Avon Vale.
EDITORS' FOOTNOTE: The charity Champions Challenge - a popular and fun relay between teams of eventers and jump jockeys - did not happen on Saturday. It had been mentioned as a fixture in our June 3 preview of the Barbury International.
It is not clear whether this was due to lack of a sponsor or lack of time to organise it after Event Rider Masters pulled out in late February. The Injured Jockeys Fund and the public were the losers.