Nicola Wilson’s berth on the World Equestrian Games eventing team seems secure after she won the St James’ Place Wealth Management Barbury CIC*** with the infallible cross-country machine, Opposition Buzz.
Wilson, for whom this was only a second ever international win, has focussed on dressage since Badminton, and it showed. The partnership’s 45pen score was good enough for third place going into cross-country. This enabled them to capitalise on the cautious time of Pippa Funnell (Redesigned) and cross-country error of Andrew Nicholson (Avebury), her only two opponents for the £4,000 first prize.
“A place for Kentucky would be lovely, but I am just thrilled with how the horse went,” said Nicola, 33. “He did his best dressage score by far here, and he just tried so hard. He’s always been a fantastic horse to ride.”
Runner-up was Emily Llewellyn, who stormed round for just 2.4 time penalties on Society Spice. Nearly as fast (2.8pen) with Pardon Me II (10th), 21-year-old Emily is already chosen for the Young Riders squad and, while deservedly catching the senior selectors’ eyes, is prevented from competing at both levels in the same season by FEI rules.
“It would be absolutely amazing to go to WEG, but 2012 is the huge aim for me. It does feel a bit wild to ride that quickly; I don’t often ride that competitively, but seeing it was such an important competition I went for it.”
Andrew Nicholson moved up 21 places on Armada with the fastest time of the day, but lost his overnight lead with a run-out at the influential quarry fence on Avebury. He gained some compensation by winning his CIC** section with Le Lion d’Angers-bound Quimbo. The other two-star was claimed by Ruth Edge and Applejack after leaders Andrew Hoy and Cheeky Calimbo had an early run-out and retired.
Action from Barbury Horse Trials
Don’t miss H&H’s full report from Barbury, on sale Thursday 15 July