27 May 2002

Catch up with all the latest news from the world of horse trials in our weekly column from Eventing magazine editor Kate Green

Blyth Tait’s ultra-professional win raised the stakes at a wet and muddy Arena Leisure Windsor three-day event last weekend.

Although top international riders were thin on the ground – most two-star horses seem to have been entered at Punchestown and Blarney – Blyth was surprised by his victory because Ronnie Bartlett’s Ironic is not his usual nippy Thoroughbred type.

A near 17hh German warmblood, who has been successful in the north with Scottish rider Alan Gilbert, Ironic’s prowess on the flat and over the coloured poles was not in doubt, but Blyth wondered whether Windsor’s hilly course would be a step too far for the horse’s first two-star event.

However, in Blyth’s skilful hands, he only added 0.8 of a time penalty. “He will have learned a lot,” said Blyth, “because he hasn’t really learned to gallop. He’s pretty green across country.”

Up-and-coming British rider Chris King, 25, enjoyed one of his best results so far, second on the Tolleys’ 10-year-old Sir Lancelot, who had been downgraded to regain confidence.

Matt Ryan finished with a clean sheet on Malcolm Sleet’s Bonza Katoomba and 16-year-old schoolgirl Nicola Wilson was fourth on Nikkelaj, a part Oldenburg horse, previously ridden by her Young Rider sister Helen.

The Castle section, for less experienced horses, was a first three-day victory for 23-year-old Hannah Bate who led from the start on the stunning big bay Welton Rip Rap. The victory was extra special because the horse’s sire, Sam Barr’s leading eventing stallion Welton Crackerjack, was put down the previous weekend at the age of 28.

Fellow young riders Louisa Lockwood and Sacha Pemble were second and third while veteran Robert Lemieux made an international comeback, riding in his first three-day event since breaking his leg in 1997, to finish fourth.

British success in Saumur

Meanwhilein France, Pippa Funnell, who seems unable to put a foot wrong at present, headed a crack international field at the three-star CCI at Saumur, France. She won on Anne Burnet’s Jurassic Rising, who was recently runner-up to Blyth Tait and Ready Teddy at the Chatsworth CIC***.

Visit www.saumur.org for full results.

Catch up with all the latest eventing news, in the July issue of Eventing magazine on sale 14 June, which includes a full report and pictures from Windsor, or visit www.britisheventing.com

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