Tomorrow’s Amlin Plus eventing grand prix at Hickstead’s Royal International Horse Show should be a classic running of the contest.
It’s the 13th time the eventing grand prix has taken place, and there’s no doubt about who is the one to beat this time round.
Gary Parsonage goes into the class bidding for his third victory in a row on Peter Street, and his fourth in total after also winning back in 1999 on Just So.
If he succeeds, Gary will become the only person to have won four eventing grand prix titles, having equalled Pippa Funnell’s record of three (1998, 2000 and 2001 with The Tourmaline Rose) last year.
“I’m trying not to think about the record — a lot can go wrong in that 70 or 80 seconds. But the horse loves it at Hickstead and I’m looking forward to riding him there again,” says Gary.
Pippa Funnell is in the class this year as well, so she too could set a new record, but as she rides the promising eight-year-old Billy Landretti, she may wish to preserve his confidence for the future rather than throwing all caution to the winds — normally necessary for victory here.
On the eventing side, Caroline Powell could be another one to watch. Her mount, Lexi Mackinnon’s experienced four-star campaigner Lenamore, makes his first assault on this class, but he’s a great jumper and generally records fast times cross-country so he could be tailor-made for the eventing grand prix.
Former winner Shane Breen heads up the showjumpers’ challenge on Dorada, who he rode into second place last year — just ahead of his brother Trevor, who is not entered this year.
Nicole Pavitt is another to keep an eye on as she rides Blake with whom she was fourth in 2009.
Only two showjumpers have ever won — Michael Whitaker in 2003 and Shane Breen in 2006 — so they have some way to go to beat the eventers’ tally. Could they get one step closer tomorrow, or will the eventers triumph again?
A full list of entries is below.
H&H eventing editor Pippa Roome and showjumping editor Jennifer Donald will be providing live interactive written commentary on the eventing grand prix from 2.45pm tomorrow. Head to www.horseandhound.co.uk/egp-live to set an email reminder and to join in.
- Paul Tapner on Tiger Flynne
- Mark Todd on NZB Mouse
- Joe Meyer on Ease On Fire
- Caroline Powell on Lenamore
- Dan Jocelyn on Brookfield De Bouncer
- Mark Kyle on Step In Time
- Oliver Townend on Imperial Master
- Gary Parsonage on Peter Street
- Sharon Hunt on Lady Goldfinch
- Georgie Spence on KBIS Starlet
- Emilie Chandler on Cavaliers Knight
- Alice Dunsdon on Mulligan II
- Pippa Funnell on Billy Landretti
- Matthew Wright on If You Want
- Nicola Wilson on Mini Mr Bigglesworth
- Shane Breen on Dorada
- Brian Cassidy on Electric Royale
- Rowan Willis on Wellington Beowulf
- Ben Maher on William 196
- Ellen Whitaker (horse to be confirmed)
- Nicole Pavitt on Blake
- Peter Lear on Bob Le Cob
- Steven Franks on Gold Crown
- Miriam Goddard on My Molly Malone
- Grant Talbot on Pure Shores
- Lucy Bunn on Selina Russelhof