Horse & Hound's coverage of Ashford Farm CSI4* Bolesworth International (18-21 June) is brought to you in association with Equestrian.com
Alex Hua Tian took the honours in the Ride-away Express Eventing Challenge riding Pip Higgins and Pam Dews’ Don Geniro at Ashford Farm Bolesworth International CSI4* (Friday, 19 June).
The pair lead from pillar to post having scored an impressive 23 mark dressage, despite a technical error with his music, which meant his intended song was changed as he was going around the arena.
The dressage phase consisted a freestyle dressage test to music marked by three judges, including model Jodie Kidd who was scoring each combination on artistic impression.
Mary-Anne Carpenter and her 13-year-old gelding Alles Klar were in runner-up spot going into the cross-country phase – a 700 metre long track over 18 obstacles – with Jodie Amos and Matt 0.5 penalties in arrears in third.
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The final showjumping phase, held in the atmospheric international arena at Bolesworth, saw penalties strewn across the ten combinations in the class.
Alex and the eight-year-old chestnut by Don Kennedy had an unlucky pole down at the last part of the treble before opting not to take the alternative ‘eraser’ fence – a larger obstacle that if jumped clear meant penalties could be erased from their score.
“I am so happy with him, he was a bit tappy, which is not like him,but I did feel I was able to dare him in the showjumping,” said Alex, who is hopeful of qualifying for next year’s Olympics for China. “This was the biggest atmosphere he has jumped in. He is aimed at a three-star this year.”
Jodie Amos had the top spot in her sights going into the showjumping, however she picked up an unfortunate 24 penalties with the good-looking 15-year-old gelding.
“It’s a really different atmosphere to what they are used to,” said Jodie. “He’s been feeling great so I thought I would go for it, but he didn’t really come up with the goods today. The surface here is perfect so there are no excuses, he just didn’t jump well enough – not his day today,”she added.
Mary-Anne Carpenter and the experienced Alles Klar rolled a pole and picked up two time penalties, but were able to hold onto the runner-up spot.
“He jumped really nicely, I was pleased, I am not sure he has been in an arena like this before. He was just backing off my leg a little bit, I think because of the tents and flags around the arena, not actually because of the fences.”