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Pippa Funnell once again proved the bane of the show jumpers’ lives when she won the Lotus Eventing Grand Prix for the second year running, making this three wins out of four.
With Anne Burnet’s classy grey mare The Tourmaline Rose, Pippa is still the only rider to go clear round this course ( and she’s done it twice for good measure).
Michael Whitaker, as last year riding Vicky Speed’s event horse Evening Masquerade, yet again had to settle for bridesmaid’s position, while Gary Parsonage and his 1999 winner Just So II took third.
This year’s contest had style and speed aplenty. It got off to a slightly slow start when the first two show jumpers on course, Andy Austin and Cian O’Connor, did not complete, but in between their rounds Matt Ryan set a blistering pace on Deltry Salute, finishing on 214.5sec plus 30sec added for knock-downs.
A determined-looking John Renwick then retrieved his discipline’s honour by finishing on a total of 259.91, but itwasn’t long before Gary Parsonage took on the challenge and, despite a couple of hairy moments, made 216.69, including 10sec for knock-downs, the time to beat.
After this, second and third places changed hands rapidly and the crowd was on tenterhooks by the time Michael Whitaker, drawn way down the order, put in a superb round to clip just over 1sec off Gary’s total time.
Good rounds then came from Blyth Tait, for eventual fifth, and Andrew Nicholson, fourth, before last-drawn Pippa set the atmosphere alight and there was further excitement when she took off round the arena at the wheel of the bright red Lotus Elise she had won.
Full report and pictures in Horse & Hound (2 August)and Eventing (September).