Second time lucky for Michael Eilberg at BD Winter Championships

  • Michael Eilberg topped the invitational Superflex intermediate I music freestyle at the second gala evening at the British Dressage Winter Championships aboard his father Ferdi’s 11-year-old gelding Torino.

    “We came second last year,” said Michael, who scored 72.75%. “I was gutted not to win but I had a mistake in the three time changes. He’s got such good basic paces that if I can get round the test clean then he’s on sevens, so he’s always up there. I’m pleased he’s come and done it justice today.”

    Torino is by showjumping sire Corland and was not originally destined for a career in dressage. “I showjumped him until her was six,” 24-year-old Michael explained. “Dad [Ferdi] kept telling me that he should be a dressage horse, and I guess he was right!”

    Isobel Wessels celebrated a double victory aboard her leggy Hanoverian gelding Chagall winning both the Elevator medium freestyle to music and the British Horse Feeds advanced medium open on Saturday in commanding style. Second to go in the morning’s music class, Isobel’s 76.61% proved unbeatable. “After we won the music class he erupted in the prize giving so I was a bit worried about the next test half an hour later.”

    But she needn’t have worried. Despite already riding one test and contesting the prize-giving, Chagall had lost none of his sparkle as he danced through the advanced medium. “We come to Hartpury quite a lot to compete and when the arena’s full of things like today, sometimes the horses don’t like it, but he really listened to me,” said Isobel of her 17.2hh mount.

    Prelim winner Sandra Graig had a more fruitful trip to these championships than previously, taking the KBIS British Equestrian prelim championship crown with her own Valstar. “Last year as we went down the centre line, they put the roller blinds down in the cafe which blew his brain and I couldn’t get him back,” she said. “This year it all went to plan, but I couldn’t have done it without my friend Becky Whalley who’s been riding “Dante” for me while I’ve been off having my baby.”

    For full reports see Horse & Hound magazine, on sale 21 April.

    prelim (A Bennie, S Batholomew, K Mepham). 1, Valstar (S Greig) 70.61; 2, Blues Knight (C Parry) 70.15; 3, Dettori F (C Booth) 69.39. med fsm (K Myhre, P Lang, H Payne). 1, Chagall (I Wessels) 76.61; 2, D-J (M Griffin) 73.59; 3, Smash Hit (J Burtwell) 72.14. adv med (S Petty, M-A Horn, A Fransen Iacobaeus). 1, Chagall 74.39; 2, Shadowfax (R Edge) 72.98; 3eq, Zero (R Edge) & Charlesfield Dante (R Edge) 70.88. inter I (A Fransen Iacobaeus, K Myhre, C Halsall). 1, Torino (M Eilberg) 72.75; 2, Fabioso (P Hayler) 70.67; 3, Pompidou (R Tong) 70.25.

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