Matthew Wright continued his strong showing in the Express Eventing series with his third 2011 win out of three, at the CLA Game Fair (24 July).
He led from start to finish on Sir John Pearce’s horse, If You Want II, finishing on a score of 21.00 ahead of Alex Hua Tian in second, on Grafenstolz, and Harry Meade with Tinka’s Time.
However it was not all plain sailing for Matthew with a testing cross-country phase and excitement in the showjumping.
Going into the showjumping, Alex was sitting only four points behind Matthew and had the opportunity of jumping the final eraser fence, and knocking four points off his score, to draw level.
However the second fence fell, meaning Alex was still four penalties behind Matthew after jumping the eraser.
And when Matthew knocked a pole out of an oxer he also had to jump the eraser successfully to take the victory.
He kept his cool to clear it and take the £3,000 first prize.
Matthew Wright said: “I’m obviously thrilled to have won the qualifier, it’s a great competition and it’s always good for the crowd when a competition goes down to the wire.
“I’m very much looking forward to Gatcombe on 6-7 August. The prize money is second to none in the Express Eventing series, and fingers crossed that you’ll see me with that winner’s cheque again at the fourth qualifier.”
Both Alex, highest placed young rider, and Harry, highest placed over-25 not already qualified, have qualified for the Express Eventing finals at Horse of the Year Show in October.
David Eckersby, of the Country Land and Business Association, said: “I think that having the Express Eventing Qualifier at the CLA Game Fair has been a phenomenal success.
“It attracted large crowds and brought eventing to a new audience; we’ll certainly be talking about hosting the competition again next year.”
The last chance to qualify for the 2011 final will be held during the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park on 6-7 August.
For more information about Express Eventing, including footage, visit www.expresseventing.co.uk <http://www.expresseventing.co.uk> .