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Glory for girls at Barbury

The British girls showed-off their prowess this weekend, taking the top three places at the Maybach Barbury Castle Horse Trials. Polly Stockton proved her place as a British team reserve for the World Equestrian Games (WEG), by winning the three-star ahead of Daisy Dick and Mary King. Andrew Hoy, Matthew Wright and Oliver Townend certainly gave the girls a run for their money, but in the end better dressage marks and quick cross-country rounds left them unbeatable.

As a last run before WEG, the second Barbury Castle horse trials made for exciting spectator sport. Mark Phillips’ cross-country was as demanding as it was attractive; the RDA Bears Corner and the narrow fence exiting the Earthline Sunken Ridgeway required precision, control and plenty of activity and caught out a number of top names. But Mary King and Daisy Dick answered all the questions – obtaining clear rounds on both of their two rides. Nevertheless, time was of the essence, but neither King (Cashel Bay) nor Dick (Spring Along) could catch Stockton and the talented Tom Quigley. The pair, who proved their ability with a seventh at Lexington four-star in April, clocked up just 4.8 time penalties.

But as the cross-country phase drew to a close all eyes were on dressage and show jumping leader Sharon Hunt – Pippa Funnell’s replacement on the British WEG team. Hunt produced a stylish clear round with Tankers Town jumping effortless into the Knight Frank Dew pond and over the narrow Coutts Stonehenge. But an unfortunate hesitation at the start earned the pair a smattering of time penalties, putting paid to their chances. Hunt dropped down into 21st position, leaving Mary King in third, Daisy Dick in second and a delighted Polly Stockton in first.

But Britain’s ladies have some work to do if they want to claim the Premier League crown. A fourth place for Andrew Hoy (Master Monarch) yesterday has put him at the top of the leader board, ahead of New Zealand’s Andrew Nicholson.

The final top 4 on the leader board were as follows:
1 Tom Quigley (P Stockton, GB) 52.3 penalties; 2 Spring Along (D Dick, GB) 60.6; 3 Cashel Bay (M King, GB) 62.4; 4 Master Monarch (A Hoy, Aus) 63.6

On Saturday, Barbury also staged the final trials for the British Jump Young Rider Squad for the European Championships in the Czech Republic ( 4 – 6 August). Gemma Tattersall won the section with 15-year-old Jester’s Quest. Tattersall finished 10 pen ahead of nearest rival Lauren Shannon (Quixotic).

Top British junior riders (aged 16 – 18) were also competing at Barbury, on Saturday, against professionals in the Open Novice Section. Mark Phillips’ course was dubbed to be his best to date and showcased the potential of Britain’s younger riders. Georgie Spence and Lydia Hannon no doubt impressed selectors, finishing second and third behind senior rider Sammi Macleod. Laura Collett from Moreton-in-Marsh, finished in 5th place with Opposition Legacy.

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