RUTH Edge was a much-deserving and popular winner of the British Eventing Open Championship at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe, leading from first to last on Mayhem III.

Carina Campbell’s son of Mayhill posted an impressive 27.1 in the dressage, jumped one of just two show jumping clears and went fast enough cross-country — with 7.2 time-faults — to win by six marks.

This is Ruth’s second win here — she took the title four years ago on Two Thyme, with whom she was short-listed for the Olympics in Hong Kong.

“He’s always been a reliable horse across country,” said Ruth, “but we’ve never managed to get both of the other phases right at the same time before.”

It was a dramatic end to the day — two of the top four failed to finish — although the overall quality of the class was depleted by the lack of Olympic riders and several withdrawals.

Buck Davidson, in second for America, was going brilliantly on Bally Noe Castle RM when he was stopped towards the end of the course. It turned out that he had jumped the wrong fence at fence four. And James Robinson, in third on Comanche, fell into the final water and retired.

Nicola Wilson scorched round on Opposition Buzz for second place, the fastest of the day with 1.6 time-faults. Oliver Townend finished third, on an equal score to Nicola (40.5), but slower across country on Flint Curtis.

Five marks behind Oliver was Piggy French on What A Performance. Fifth was Paul Tapner, riding Inonothing, while Lucy Wiegersma (Woodfalls Inigo Jones) was sixth and Tim Price finished seventh on Vortex.

Oliver Townend won the EHOA-Martin Collins Intermediate Championship for the second year running, this time on ODT Land Vision. A good dressage test of 30.8 left him in fifth, but less than a mark behind the leader, Andrew Nicholson on Avebury.

Oliver show jumped clear while Andrew had one fence down, and Land Vision absolutely flew across country to collect just 1.6 time-penalties, much the fastest of the section. This pushed him ahead of Ruth Edge, who led after show jumping on Zakarius III but wasn’t quite as quick across country.

Ruth Edge finished second on the 10-year-old Zakarius III, who has been lightly competed this year, six marks behind Oliver on 38.8. And Brook Staples, yesterday’s novice championship winner, picked up another cheque by taking third place on Staying Cool.

Andrew Nicholson and the talented grey Avebury dropped to fourth, just ahead of Lucy Wiegersma (French Leave), while Oliver was also sixth on ODT Master Rose.

Second after dressage, Polly Williamson got a ducking when Madame Follie Bergere left a leg at the fence in the water. View picture

Read H&H’s full report on the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe in Thursday’s special Olympics preview issue, on sale 7 August, ’08