Irish Jester, last year’s four-year-old winner, returned to Burghley this year and remained unbeaten when he took the five-year-old championship.
Produced by Angela Tucker, the Irish-bred gelding is no stranger to laps of honour. He won his first two pre-novice outings at the beginning of the season, going on to take top honours in his first novice outing at the end of August.
It was a closely-fought final, with several horses going into the final judging on scores in the high 70s (out of a maximum 90).
Particularly eye-catching was Terry Boon’s Driving Ambition, who was superb in the dressage and scored the highest marks in the final phase, in which the horse’s movement and suitability is considered. Gary Parsonage and Angela Tomlinson’s Waterford Fair Try, also fared well throughout. She was the highest place five-year-old mare, finishing second overall.
“It was a very high quality final and in the end was won on jumping, which has to be right,” said Ian Stark, who was judging the final phase. “Irish Jester certainly looks to have a good future especially with Angela on top.”
Sarah Cutteridge has been short on luck in recent weeks – she was forced to withdraw from the Olympics at the last minute following an injury to The Wexford Lady and retired both of her rides at Burghley on the steeplechase, but in the four-year-old finals of the Burghley Young Event Horse, the rising star of British Eventing came into her own, carrying off the spoils with Trebetherick (pictured)
This is the young mare’s second championship title – she won the SEIB/BEF young horse evaluation for potential eventers at the Royal Show earlier this year. She was bred by Liz and Vin Jones, who own and run the Preci Spark yard. Trebetherick is by the French sire Bolivar out of Coolmore Clarine.
The mare’s eventing career is off to a good start with three outings at Intro level this season, qualifying for PAVO in the process.
The Preci-Spark operation also qualified their four-year-old gelding Tregallon in the final judging, but he did not come into the ring for the final phase. Out of Welton Edina, by top event stallion Primitive Rising, the gelding has also been out on the Intro circuit this season.
In second place among the four-year-olds was Flypast Legend, a grey gelding by the thoroughbred sire Magic Story, who gained top marks in the show jumping. The horse was a wedding present for Sarah Bullimore by her husband Brett.
“Brett wanted to buy me a smart watch, but we settled on a youngster to bring on and sell, but I’d already decided to forgo that plan,” said the Bedfordshire rider, after spending the early part of the day chasing the grey wildly round the field after he broke his rope.
Ian Stark was not altogether surprised that neither Trebetherick nor Flypast Legend were at their best. “Perhaps they were tired – they didn’t show themselves to the best advantage second time out,” he said. “That can happen with four-year-olds.”
One horse who caught Ian’s eye, being placed highest in the final judging, was Steven James’ Short Circuit. He was also the highest scorer in the dressage, with an impressive 32 out of a maximum 35.
“He was a slightly cocky character — you couldn’t stop looking at him and he galloped well,” commented Ian.