Mary King and Call Again Cavalier won the £4,000 to the winner World Cup qualifier at the Chatsworth Nissan International Horse Trials, heading a class which was significantly enhanced by the late entry of a clutch of Badminton refugees.
Ruth Edge and Marsh Mayfly were in front after dressage and cross-country, but in a deluge show jumping became highly influential. When one fence fell, another three followed and Ruth dropped to fourth, allowing the immaculate Mary a first international win at this venue with a premium clear.
After cross-country, only two fences separated the top eight. Four faults was enough to clinch second place for Oli Townend and Flint Curtis, while J-P Sheffield enjoyed undoubtedly his best international result, third on Crown Farm Consort with two show jumps down.
Mary was particularly choked for Call Again Cavalier, the ride inherited from the late Caroline Pratt, who was also marking his first FEI victory.
“He should have had this win two years ago,” said Mary. “What a jumper: I was slithering and sliding all over the place but he just kept focussed.”
Chatsworth’s ground preparation pre-dated the Badminton hiatus, having been assiduously rolled and treated since March. There was just the right cut in the ground when the weekend rain arrived, but when the afternoon deluge set in there were notably slower cross-country rounds in semi-blinding conditions.
The fact that riders are motivated more by disliking the CIC-format than prize money was indicated by a stronger entry for the straightforward CICs***. McGuigan took a weekend – literally – off from stud duties to win the first of these for Jeanette Brakewell. Oli Townend took his section on Edmire Foxy Lady ahead of the evergreen Ringwood Cockatoo (Bettina Hoy), making his seasonal debut. The advanced was won by Andrew Nicholson on a new ride this season, Ginger May Killinghurst.
Don’t miss Charlotte Agnew’s second behind the scenes blog from Chatsworth, online tomorrow morning.
Read H&H’s full report on all the action from Chatsworth in this Thursday’s magazine (13 May, ’07)