Gatcombe Update: Fox-Pitt leads Novice Champs

  • The cloudy skies and intermittent showers are failing to dampen the exhilarating atmosphere here at the Festival of British Eventing. This morning Novice championship competitors have been showing their prowess in the show jumping arena while two advanced sections have been negotiating the cross-country course.

    As the morning draws to a close, scorers have confirmed Beanie Hughes is winner of Advanced section 2 and Matt Ryan has trumped long-standing leader William Fox-Pitt to take Advanced section 1.

    Meanwhile Fox-Pitt is dominating the Novice Championship leader board as the cross-country phase gets underway. The British WEG team member is lying in first place on Chuckelberry on a score of 27 pen and second on Navigator with 28 pen.

    The advanced cross-country course caused a good deal of problems for the world-class line up of eventers who tackled it. The track follows a similar yet slightly scaled down track to the Open Championship course, illustrating the complexity of tomorrow afternoon’s contest (3pm Sunday).

    But British riders have been demonstrating they are capable of taking on course designer Mark Phillips’ challenge. Advanced section 1 winner Matt Ryan was succeeded by no less than 10 Brits. William Fox-Pitt took second and third place, Piggy French fourth and Clea Phillips fifth.

    Chairman of selectors Lucinda Green (pictured) impressed the crowd by jumping a foot perfect cross-country round to finish a very respectable seventeenth.

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