Eventing: first CCI5* title for Tom McEwen - another ducking for Tim Price
The major fixture on France’s eventing calendar, and one of just six 5* events around the globe, Les 5 Ètoiles de Pau was contested over the weekend by a world class, international field.
Following Friday’s dressage, Marlborough’s Tim Price sat at the top of the leaderboard on his old friend, Wesko. But, in Saturday’s cross country, he encountered the same incredible bad luck that he and Ringwood Sky Boy did at Burghley last month.
In each case, Tim ended up in the drink as a result of his mount losing his footing cantering into a water complex.
With Wesko eliminated, the pressure was on Tim’s other ride, the 11-year-old Holsteiner, Ascona M (owned by Mrs Suzanne Houchin, Lucy & Ben Sangster and Sir Peter Vela) with whom Tim won the Luhmühlen 5* in Germany in June.
Lying 7th after dressage, they maintained that position post-cross country, with just some time faults to add to their tally.
Not the easiest horse to ride around a show jumping track, ‘Ava’ very much has her own technique. However, Tim describes her as an exceptionally powerful and gutsy mare who knows where the poles are and is adept at avoiding them.
Their beautiful clear round on the final day of the competition saw them finish in 6th place.
Tom McEwen and the fabulous, French-bred Toledo de Kerser (owned by Jane Inns, Tom’s mother, Alison and Fred & Penny Barker) were crowned 2019 champions, having scored a 24.9 in the dressage phase and led the field from start to finish.
This combination helped Great Britain to team Gold at last year’s World Equestrian Games, but this was Tom’s first 5* win, despite coming very close at Luhmühlen, finishing just 2.1 points behind Tim and Ava.
Meanwhile, Baydon-based Christine Bates and Adelaide Hill, whose story we covered earlier this month, finished 2nd in their 4*-L competition at Montelibretti in Rome, 1.2 points ahead of fellow countryman, Andrew Hoy.