Australia’s Clayton Fredericks has been crowned British Open Advanced Champion. Partnering Nullarbor, Fredericks jumped a stunning cross-country round to receive the £10,000 first prize from Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal. Lucy Wiegersma finished 3.6 pen behind with In the Purple and Ruth Edge and Two Thyme took third place.
Fredericks is delighted with Nullarbor’s performance. “He’s been second everywhere – always the bridesmaid,” he told HHO afterwards, “But I’ve always rated him as a top horse. I just needed to wait for the right day to pounce.”
Defending Open Champion William Fox-Pitt’s decision to withdraw earlier this afternoon left the competition up for grabs. The cross-country ran in reverse order of merit ensuring that by the time the top five left the start box, an intense atmosphere filled the Park and crowds flocked to the Park Bowl, determined to get the best view.
Ruth Edge, 11th at Badminton this year, held the lead after the show jumping – just under seven penalties ahead of Clayton Fredericks. A clear cross-country round and just 8.8 time penalties from Fredericks put the pressure on Edge as she set off on the cross-country. Unfortunately Two Thyme was slow to turn at the Pet Plan corners, losing Edge valuable time. The pair jumped flawlessly around the rest of the course but the delay cost them 12.8 time penalties, relegating them to third position.
Lucy Wiegersma and In the Purple, lying sixth after the show jumping, produced a masterful cross-country round. By wasting no time on the flat and taking all the direct routes the pair earned just 6 time penalties – thrusting them into runners-up position. Devon-based Wiegersma has been enjoying an excellent season on In the Purple, finishing 20th at Badminton in May and seventh at Barbury Castle last month.
Young rider Harry Meade (pictured) produced a sparkling cross-country clear with Midnight Dazzler. The pair, who finished13th at Burghley last year and 21st at Badminton in May were awarded eighth place in today’s British Open Championships.
News of the death of Hiawatha II, Christine Hardinge’s horse, tinged the day with sadness. Hiawatha suffered a broken neck at fence eight, the British Energy Feeder, and had to be put down on site. Hardinge and Hiawatha won the Glentrool Trophy at Badminton this year for the highest rise after the dressage.