Zara Phillips impresses at Luhmuhlen

  • Bettina Hoy and Ringwood Cockatoo delighted the German spectators at Luhmuhulen yesterday with a flawless show jumping round to finish on her dressage score of 33.9 and win the country’s first CCI**** event.

    The pair, who have had wins at Chatsworth CIC*** and Fontainbleu CIC*** this season, led the field from the beginning and had one show jump in hand as they entered the arena yesterday afternoon.

    Second place went to Britain’s Zara Phillips riding Toytown, who also completed the competition with a clear score sheet, finishing on a dressage score of 38.7. The pair were fifth in the CCI*** at Luhmuhlen in 2003 and finished second at Burghley later that year.

    The partnership was long-listed for the Athens Olympics, but an injury brought that Olympic dream to an end. They finally returned to competition last month, where they were placed seventh in the advanced section at Rolleston.

    “I had a great ride today, especially as the horse hasn’t run in a four-star for a year-and-a-half and he’d only had one run beforehand [this season],” said Phillips after Saturday’s cross country phase.

    German riders enjoyed a successful weekend on their home territory with Frank Ostholt finishing third and Andread Dibowski finishing in sixth. Nicola Tweddle (Skiver) was Britain’s second highest placed rider in ninth, while Polly Stockton was 11th with Tom Quigley. Scandinavian riders also made their mark on the leader board with Sara Algotsson finishing fifth and Pia Pantsu taking seventh place.

    The cross-country, designed by Mark Phillips, was well built with plenty of alternatives and caused few major problems. Perfect weather conditions and Luhmuhlen’s level terrain enabled many of the riders to finish within the optimum time of 11min 30sec.

    The competition was the first short-format four-star to be run on the continent and was an important test for British riders as it gave them one last chance to impress the selectors and gain one of the four remaining places in the FEI Petplan European Championships in September. This weekend’s result must surely put Zara Phillips and Toytown in strong contention.

    Meanwhile, Louisa Lockwood finished second at Burgie CCI** this weekend, 4.8pen behind Italy’s Vittoria Panizzon. Lockwood took an early lead with an impressive dressage score of 41.9 and went on to jump clear cross-country and show jumping, but 10 cross-country time faults saw her drop behind the Italian rider. Lockwood was the highest placed British under 25-year-old rider at Badminton in 2002 and came seventh in the open intermediate with Highly Sprung at Aston-le-Walls in May.

    Luhmuhlen results

    1. Bettina Hoy (GER) Ringwood Cockatoo 33,90;
    2. Zara Phillips (GBR) Toy Town 38,70;
    3. Frank Ostholt (GER) Air Jordan 2 43,00;
    4. Kimberly Severson (USA) Royal Venture 47,00;
    5. Sara Algotsson (SWE) Robin des Bois 47,70;
    6. Andreas Dibowski (GER) FRH Serve Well 48,30;
    7. Pia Pantsu (FIN) Ypäjä Karuso 51,70;
    8. Daniel Jocelyn (NZL) Silence 53,20;
    9. Nicola Tweddle (GBR) Skiver 55,50;
    10. Karin Donckers (BEL) Gormley 56,50.

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