Andrew Nicholson won the British Eventing Open Championships at Gatcombe this afternoon with Rosemary and Mark Barlow’s Avebury. He sped round the cross-country at the Festival of British Eventing presented by BETA to finish just 1sec over the optimum time.
“He’s the tops, isn’t he?” said Andrew. “He’s very consistent — although I never trust him 100% as he is cheeky. You just have to have your wits about you.”
Francis Whittington led going into the cross-country, but his 4.4 time-faults dropped him to second on Catherine Witt’s Easy Target. They still claim the title of national champions, while Andrew is the British open champion.
“I’m hugely disappointed — not by his performance, but by the decisions I made which cost us a few seconds,” said Francis.
Louise Harwood kept up her great form by finishing third with Roy Baker and Emma Baker-Jones’ Whitson, another who had just 0.4 of a time-penalty.
Three pairs made the optimum time — Paul Tapner on Indian Mill (fourth), Nicola Wilson with Opposition Buzz (sixth) and Gemma Tattersall riding Arctic Soul (eighth).
Gemma and Louise are reserves for the British team for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and will have done their chances no harm with the replacements for Izzy Taylor (Allercombe Ellie) and Pippa Funnell (Billy Beware) due to be released this week.
Beanie Sturgis had a nasty fall with Wizard From Aus in this class and was taken to hospital for further examination.
Smith & Williamson British Intermediate Championships
Riding Catherine Witt’s eight-year-old Luxury FH (pictured right) he lay second after dressage, but moved up to first with a showjumping clear and cruised across country for 5.6 time-faults, which he could afford.
“This was his first advanced, so it was a step up, but he was ready for it,” said William. “Catherine Witt has been patient and understanding that I’ve needed to take time with him.”
Ian Wills took second on Diana Brodie’s Say I Do, with Tim Price collecting third riding Bango, who belongs to the Numero Uno Syndicate.
Don’t miss our full report from Gatcombe in H&H magazine this week, out Thursday (7 August).