Lucinda Fredericks and Headley Britannia rise through the ranks to clinch the title in an exciting finish at the Blenheim Petplan International CCI***
There were endless dramas in the final show jumping phase at the Blenheim Petplan International CCI*** ,which turned the leaderboard upside-down.
Jessica Irvine-Brown, who had led the competition from the first, booted out four poles to end up in a disappointing 15th place with her mare Belcam Aaberdeen.
By contrast, another Australian rider, British-based Lucinda Fredericks, rose slowly and deliberately up through the ranks thanks to a superb clear round aboard the mare Headley Britannia to capture Blenheim’s crown and the £9,000 first prize.
No one was more surprised than Lucinda herself, who won this competition back in 1990, to be sporting the winner’s sash.“I’m gob-smacked,” she exclaimed.
Headley Britannia, who is sired by Jumbo and a full sister to another top eventer, Claire Chamberlayne’s four-star ride Headley Kingdom, came to Lucinda’s yard to be sold on. She is owned by Emma Robson, who had evented the 15.3hh mare herself at the lower levels.
“I’m now hoping that someone will buy her for me to ride,” said Lucinda with a smile.
France’s Jean Lou Bigot, who had lost his second placed dressage advantage on cross-country day, made up ground in the show jumping with just one rolled pole to finish as the runner-up.
“He was green and spooky yesterday,” said Jean Lou, who works as a gardener in his home town of Saumur. “He’s a good horse at home, but in competition he’s not been good up until now.”
In third place was Tim Davies, 37, who was enjoying by far his best three-day event result to date – he was previously 14th at Bramham and has also completed Burghley and Badminton with Gymcrak Fortune.
Tim, who only began eventing seven years ago after concentrating on pure show jumping, was the only rider in the entire competition to finish on his dressage score.
He was partnering the eight-year-old Carnival Drum-sired chestnut mare Quackers, who was bred by Tim’s father in Winchester.
In fact, Tim’s father has bred a lot of horses and those who are good enough are kept for pure show jumping, while the others are switched to eventing.
Rodney Powell rose from 30th after dressage to fourth place with Major Sweep, while Lucinda Greenrecorded her best three-day result for some years with a fifth placing aboard the grey mare Miss De Meena IV, who also completed Blenheim last year.
Lucinda required all her considerable skills at the final show jump, however, which Miss De Meena dived through.
Lucinda Fredericks husband Clayton piloted Ben Along Time into sixth place, thus ensuring that there are major celebrations at the couple’s Devizes yard tonight.
Clayton also finished 29th with Mr Moonstone, while the Fredericks’ pupil, Ireland’s Steven Smith, finished 19th with One Dove.
France’s Franck Bourny, a winner of this event in 1999, finished seventh with Gambler’s Fancy, while Karen O’Connorwound up a disappointing eighth.
Karen had been lying third with the good looking Joker’s Wild after a clear cross-country round completed spot on the optimum time, but three show jumps down ended her dreams.
Ireland’s Edmund Gibney and King’s Highway improved vastly on their 43rd dressage placing to finish ninth, while Milla Clayton-Bailey rounded up the top 10 with Zarzoo.
This result also brought disappointment for Milla, for she had been well poised for victory in second place on Saturday night.
All in all, Blenheim 2002 was a major success. The crowds came out in force, despite the odd heavy shower, and they were treated to some great and dramatic sport before everyone turns their eyes to the World Games in Spain.
To read the final results click here
To read Saturday’s Blenheim report click here
To read Friday’s Blenheim report click here
To read Thursday’s Blenheim report click here
Keep in touch with the latest news with our daily online reports from Blenheim, plus see full report with pictures in next week’s Horse & Hound (12 September), plus expert opinion and review of this event in the October issue of Eventing magazine