Pippa Funnell’s incredible run of success continued on Sunday, 14 September when she rode Anne Burnet’s Jurassic Rising to victory at Blenheim, her fifth three-day victory from six starts this season. She also moved up one place into third on Sue Bunn’s stallion Viceroy II.
Jurassic Rising, who had two fences in hand going into the show jumping, lowered just the one rail at fence five while Viceroy faulted at the third.
Maureen Summers’s 11-fence track was a real tester – when walking it, the riders felt that it was bigger than Burghley – and produced only five clear rounds. One came from the American-based Australian Philip Dutton with his Foxhall three-star winner Nova Top, one of only four horses to finish on their dressage scores.
This moved Philip up from sixth place to the runner-up spot and he was also in the money with Dusky Moon, in eighth place.
Seventy of the 81 horses that went into this final phase had jumped before the first clear round came, from Philip’s fellow countryman Sam Griffiths on Private Colin. Like Philip, Sam, who had moved up from 29th in the dressage to sixth overall, was a member of the winning team in the Asia Pacific Championships.
Polly Stockton, who has had to pull out of next week’s European Championships squad because her nominated ride Tangleman has a bruised sole (Tina Cook, who was dropped after falling at Burghley, has now been re-instated), had some consolation when she rode Anne Henson’s Floors Castle CIC** winner Tom Quigley into fourth place. They finished on their dressage score, ahead of America’s Karen O’Connor with Bally Mar, a grand-daughter of the 1976 Olympic champion Bally Cor, who is now being retired to stud.
Seventh-placed Andrew Nicholson and his second ride Flush Banker were the other pair to finish on their dressage score.
Darrel Scaife and Chase the Melody, who were lying second overnight, slipped to 10th with three fences down, while Daisy Dick and Spring Along dropped 10 places to 13th with a similar number of errors.
Despite having one of their horses spun at the final trot-up the New Zealanders secured their ticket to the Athens Olympics next year by finishing runners-up to the already-qualified Australians in the Asia Pacific Championships.
1, Pippa Funnell (Jurassic Rising), 41.0
2, Philip Dutton (Nova Top, AUS), 45.6
3, Pippa Funnell (Viceroy II), 48.0
4, Polly Stockton (Tom Quigley), 49.6
5, Karen O’Connor (Bally Mar, USA), 49.8
6, Sam Griffiths (Private Colin, AUS), 51.4
7, Andrew Nicholson (Flush Banker, NZL), 52.0
8, Philip Dutton (Dusky Moon, AUS), 52.8
9, Amy Tryon (My Beau, USA), 53.6
10, Darrell Scaife (Chase the Melody), 54.8
11, Pascal Boutet (Hethy Bey, FRA), 54.8
12, Rebecca Gibbs (Coup de Coeur), 55.8
13, Daisy Dick (Spring Along), 56.0
14, Jan Thompson (Task Force, USA), 56.8
15, Marie Sleet (Sparrow Hall), 58.8
16, Blyth Tait (Welton Envoy, NZL), 59.0
17, Christie Lomax (Abbervail Clare View), 59.0
18, Dan Jocelyn (Silence, NZL), 59.6
19, Nini French (Beat the Retreat), 59.8
20, Eric Smiley (Macloud, IRL), 62.2
Asia Pacific Championships
1, Australia, 161.0
2, New Zealand, 206.2
3, Japan, 1,233.6