Andrew Nicholson was the outstanding rider of the weekend at Gatcombe’s Festival of British Eventing. Following victory in both advanced classes on Saturday, he scored an impressive one-two on Deborah Sellar’s Nereo, his dual world bronze medallist, and the handsome grey Avebury.
Andrew was joined by a new Kiwi face in rising star Jonathan Paget, third on the quality Clifton Lush. Fourth in the Kiwi whitewash was Mark Todd on the steadily improving Major Milestone. The trio showed just what a strong force their nation could be come London 2012.
Australian Christopher Burton was fifth on the 16-year-old Newsprint, while the highest placed British rider was sixth-placed Pippa Funnell riding Mirage D’Elle, who collected the national title.
Emily Baldwin, lying third going into cross-country, took a nasty fall when Drivetime hit the wall (15) with his shoulder and crash-landed. She was taken to hospital where she was found to be suffering no more than bruising.
Angus Smales won his first Gatcombe title, the Smith & Williamson intermediate championships, in fine style, riding Charlotte Straker’s Clover Hero. He produced an excellent clear round inside the time, despite his horse losing a shoe early on the course.
Angus beat his former employer, Oliver Townend, who set the standard with three excellent performances on Arctic Mouse, second, Belmont Virlande, fourth, and Gorsehill Star, sixth.
Vittoria Panizzon was the only other rider besides Angus to finish on her dressage score and came third on the lovely little mare Borough Pennyz.
“She’s fantastic for a course like this,” said Vittoria. “She turns well, doesn’t pull and doesn’t back off. She met every fence on the stride I wanted, which made up for our less than perfect dressage score!”
The newlywed Zara Phillips was in the lead after dressage and showjumping, but her chances faded away when Silver Lining ducked out at the BETA Crossing.
Read H&H’s full report on all the action from Gatcombe in Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday 11 August