Ruth (pictured) lay third after dressage in this class, which also incorporated the HSBC FEI World Cup qualifier, and held her place with a clear show jumping round. She then put in the third-fastest cross-country round of the day to clinch the victory.
Ruth revealed afterwards that her participation in the cross-country was touch-and-go, as she aggravated the broken ribs incurred eight weeks ago at Luhmühlen in a fall on the flat yesterday.
“I wasn’t feeling so good today and after I’d show jumped both horses [she also had Mayhem in the class] I couldn’t decide what to do,” she said. “I only had the strength to ride one and I felt Two Thyme was in with a good chance of doing well. He’s not too strong and he looked after me.”
Listen to interview with Ruth Edge
Joint leader Lucinda Fredericks withdrew Headley Britannia after the show jumping. Mary King looked set to take the title until she fell off when Imperial Cavalier ducked out at the second skinny of tyres at the Land Rover at the Folly fences.
Oliver Townend’s speedy cross-country round on his Badminton winner Flint Curtis secured second place. Australian Bill Levett was third on Hippolyte.
Ruth Edge is the third rider to successfully defend the title (after Mark Todd 1988/99 and Mary King 1990/91). Phil and Maureen Smith’s Two Thyme becomes the third horse to take the open championship twice, joining King William and Moon Man.
Ginny Howe’s ride in this class, Cavort, was put down after breaking a shoulder in a fall at the HSBC Corners at fence 13.
Smith & Williamson British intermediate championship
In the morning Polly Stockton took her first British intermediate title, riding Arthur Comyn’s eight-year-old Westwood Mariner.
“Arthur has had horses finish second and third in this class, so he was saying, ‘You’ve got to win it’,” said Polly. “It’s sad though because this horse was jointly owned by Joan Jermyn, who passed away just a couple of weeks ago.”
Her clear round show jumping elevated her from ninth after dressage to second going into the cross-country. When leader Paul Sims (User Friendly) faulted at the skinnies comprising the Land Rover at the Folly combination, she stormed ahead.
Listen to Polly Stockton’s interview
Piggy French was just denied her first Festival of British Eventing title, taking second by 0.1 of a penalty on Alvescot Prada. And Andrew Nicholson found a bright spot after some bad luck over the weekend when he finished third with Qwanza.
Don’t forget to buy H&H this Thursday for a full report from Gatcombe, including Tina Cook’s column.
BRITISH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
1. Ruth Edge on Two Thyme (GB)
2. Oliver Townend on Flint Curtis (GB)
3. Bill Levett on Hippolyte (AUS)
4. Polly Stockton on Westwood Poser (GB)
5. Caroline Powell on Lenamore (NZL)
6. Nicola Wilson on Opposition Buzz (GB)
BRITISH INTERMEDIATE CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
1. Polly Stockton on Westwood Mariner (GB)
2. Piggy French on Alvescot Prada (GB)
3. Andrew Nicholson on Qwanza (NZL)
4. Lucy Wiegersma on Simon Porloe (GB)
5. Jo Chipperfield on On Your Marks (GB)
6. Sam Griffiths on Penton Raptor (AUS)
Full results from Gatcombe at www.bdwp.co.uk/gat